What to Expect as a Pregnant and Single MomKatlyn Joy |23, February 2014
Perhaps you knew when the pregnancy test was positive that it was going to be just you and the baby. Probably more commonly, you thought you had a partner who'd be there through it all with you but reality threw you a curve.
Pregnancy is never an easy time, and the transitions are myriad, but you need to relax and realize, you can do this. Take a moment and focus on that simple and powerful phrase; you can do this!
Break down the tasks into manageable bites.
Your Labor Partner & Support Team
Start with the now. You need to have a labor partner. Who makes you relax and laugh at your hardest moments? That's a great choice. It may be a family member or a friend.
Next, who is able to be the go-to person? This is possibly the same person as your labor partner, but if not, that's okay, too. This is the person you can call to accompany you to the sonogram, the person you can call to drive you to the hospital because you are cramping and spotting, or the person who will grab a box of tissues and come over and share your good cry.
This is building your support team. The players may change from time to time, but we all need a support team, single parent or not. After the baby arrives, you'll need someone who can rush over with some diapers and baby Tylenol, or listen to you vent about the lack of good child care in your neighborhood.
How are you going to make ends meet? Do you have a good leave policy at work? Your insurance will definitely cover maternity costs now that we have Obamacare, since you cannot be denied.
If things are tight, look into help such as whether you qualify for Medicaid now that you are pregnant. You may be able to receive WIC, which can be a real help with groceries both now and after the baby's birth.
Have you established paternity, if you are unmarried? Don't be a hero and decide to do it all alone. This isn't about you or your pride; it's about providing for your child. Check into child support services in your state. It's often a straight forward and simple process that takes the onus off of you and eliminates any unnecessary nastiness or unpleasantness between parties.
If you are worried about child care, there may be help in your county for this as well. Also, consider discussing work sharing or flexible work schedule options with your employer.
Becoming a Family
Do not fall into a trap of believing you aren't a family because it's just you two. You are a family! And you need to be confident and proud. If you are emotional (hormones don't help here) suck it up, and celebrate your big moments all the same. Record all the sweet little events in waiting for and celebrating baby's arrival. Don't focus on what's missing but rather all you have.
You will have to be strong in so many ways and for so many years, and the secret to being strong is knowing you will succeed. Not in every single way, in every single battle, but in the long run. All parents have struggles and a big learning curve. Lean on those who are there for you, and keep your eyes focused on the path ahead, not what is already over and done with.
Read books that encourage you, by women who have excelled as single parents. Find a good support group in your area, or online. Commiserating can be a powerful cure for the feeling sorry for yourself blues. Know when you need to give yourself a break, and don't feel selfish for it.
As a single mom of a son, you will have certain needs that you won't know how to meet. If your son's dad isn't around, have a male mentor in your family's life, whether it's grandpa, uncle or family friend. This is a resource for you, for questions you'll have, and a male presence your son will need. Your daughter will desire male attention and a man who values her as well, so look in your family and circle for such a person to play this role.
Finally, remember: you can do this!
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