Whether you’ve made a conscious choice to become a single mother or you are unexpectedly facing motherhood alone, you may be worried about dealing with pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting without the support of a partner. According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 13.6 million single parents in the US, who are responsible for raising 22.4 million children. We have compiled some tips for you to navigate these waters as a single woman.
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Find Ways to Make Your Life Easier
The exhaustion in the first trimester of pregnancy can be overwhelming for many expectant moms. If you find yourself struggling with fatigue, pain, morning sickness, and other issues, scale back and take care of yourself. First, talk to your doctor to determine whether you should take a multivitamin or other supplements during your pregnancy.
Next, talk to your boss about a little flexibility at work. Would it be possible to go in later if things are tough in the morning? Could you work from home part-time or full-time? Most employers will make accommodations for good workers. There are a number of other things you can do to simplify your life: put your bills on auto-pay, get your groceries delivered, sign up for Amazon Subscribe and Save, and so on. These changes are simple and small, but they really add up. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to come in once or twice a month.
Find Your Village
Even if the baby’s father is not around, it doesn’t mean you don’t have other sources of support. Relatives, friends, and coworkers can help you throughout your pregnancy. Particularly, look to bond with other women in your situation. You can find online support groups like Single Mommy Tribe, as well as help from local doctors and clinics. The women in these groups know your struggles and concerns more intimately than anyone else. They’ve been there, or are currently right there with you. They can provide advice about pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, finances, and parenting. If you are newly divorced, you can join a divorce support group or attend a workshop to help you through the healing process.
Prepare Well Ahead of Time
Preparing for your baby well before delivery day is important for both you and your little one. You’ll feel less stressed because you reduced or eliminated the need for last-minute shopping, and your baby will have everything they need. The simplest way to ensure that you’re prepared is by making a list of all the things you’ll need to take care of your little one and outfit the nursery, then checking them off as you buy them. Besides the basics like diapers and baby clothes, you may want to include a maternity gown that feels comfortable. Look for a gown that comes with useful features that will benefit both you and your baby. Some gowns have pockets for storing your phone and other items, and they’re designed to open easily at the front for ultrasounds, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding.
Seek Out Assistance When You Need It
According to Single Mother Guide, 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by mothers, and nearly one-third of those live in poverty. If the baby’s father isn’t pitching in — physically or financially — during your pregnancy, it will probably be the same once the baby is born. Seek out legal help to make sure your baby gets the monetary support they’ll need. If finances are tight, seek out resources that can help. You may be eligible for Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other government programs. WIC can provide food assistance and services to low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under the age of 5. Also look to local food pantries, crisis centers, and other such organizations for help. And don’t be afraid to ask.
Get a Birth Partner and/or a Doula
It’s important for you to have someone by your side during the delivery. Look for a friend or family member to become your birth partner and accompany you through the entire experience. During labor, they can help with breathing, get ice chips, fluff your pillows, and do anything else to help you every step of the way. Also, consider hiring a professional doula to support you through pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Your doula can act as your birth partner or work with your chosen birth partner to make things easier on you and the baby.
We can’t deny that many of the aspects of pregnancy and parenting your child will be difficult as you go it alone, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any positives about becoming a single mom. You’ll be able to pick the name you love, bond with your bump, and raise your baby your own way. So, celebrate your pregnancy and your upcoming journey as a mother.