There are so many reasons why a woman may go through pregnancy as a single mother. Maybe she has not yet chosen a life partner but has decided it is time to start her family. Maybe the single pregnancy was the result of a failed relationship attempt. Or, maybe the pregnancy resulted from a one-night stand. These are just a few of many potential reasons. But now is a time to put your reasons behind you and focus on raising that precious baby.
Here are some tips for going it alone - and rocking single motherhood during pregnancy and beyond!
Even if you are the most independent person on the planet, you are going to need some emotional support during this pregnancy - especially during the childbirth process. Choose a birthing partner who will make your child's birth their priority, and choose a few friends to rely on when you feel like you are having an emotional meltdown (it happens to the best of us). Your birth partner may be your mum, a best friend or a sibling. Just be sure to choose someone with a proven track record of reliability. You definitely do not want to be in labour waiting for this person to show up.
As a single mother, you are going to have to bear all of the financial responsibility during pregnancy. After the baby is born, you should be able to get child support from the child's father (unless you happened to use a sperm donor). Figure out how you are going to pay for things like a cot, nappies and formula. What about doctor's visits and Medicare gap payments? Create a budget and figure out how to make it work. If you cannot make it work, remember that there are resources available to help. Centrelink is the Australian government agency that can help you with any birth and welfare payments.
Unless you are independently wealthy, you are going to have to go back to work at some point after your child is born. Childcare is expensive, so now is a good time to start researching your options. The most cost effective option would be to have a family member step in and care for your child.
There are many resources online available to pregnant women, including active forums filled with women who are planning to give birth at the same time as you. They may not all be single mothers, but the support and advice you get from these women will be invaluable. There is something very therapeutic about interacting with people who are going through the same life stage as you. You can go through everything together - from morning sickness to Braxton Hicks contractions and everything in between. You can also join the enormous Australian single mother forum for single parent understanding - many single mums go it alone through pregnancy.
It is possible to get a DNA test to prove paternity before your child is born, but the process comes with a much larger price tag than when testing is done after birth. Either way, if you are trying to prove paternity and/or collect child support, get the process started before your baby is born by choosing a lawyer.
Doulas are trained to help women through the childbirth process. They can help calm you down and coax you to focus on your breathing during labour, which can help alleviate some of the pain. Imagine your birth partner knowing exactly what to do at all times, and that is what having a doula is like. All of this greatness does not come cheap, but if you have the budget, hire a doula.
It no longer matters how you came to be single and pregnant. You are here. Sure, there may be some additional challenges, but you are nurturing a beautiful baby inside your womb. Enjoy every minute of the process.
Author: Dr Zeenobiyah McGowan Ph.D., an expert on women's health and helping couples conceive naturally. Dr McGowan is a mother of one beautiful girl. She is an editor for Ovulationcalendar.com, also founded Impact Humanity, a charity which helps under privileged children get the basic necessities like food and education in Kenya.
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