We all make plans as to how our lives will go, but oftentimes the path we map out isn’t the one on which we eventually land. Single parenthood is no small task, and being pregnant and single is no walk in the park either. Whether you chose to get pregnant on your own or popped a surprise bun into your oven, having someone around to lend a hand is nice, but not having one isn’t the end of the world. There is plenty of single mother support out there if you know where to look.
The first thing you should realize after picking your chin up off the floor upon seeing a positive pregnancy test (assuming it’s unplanned) is that being single doesn’t mean you’re alone. You may be alone when you go to bed at night – and let’s be honest, sometimes that’s a bummer – but reaching out to family and friends during your pregnancy can help you remember that you have a community around you. Calling upon your support structure, especially an older female who’s been through pregnancy and childbirth, can be extremely valuable when you’re pregnant with your first child.
Find somebody who’s willing to keep you company during labor. Family and friends are an option, but if you’d prefer a professional, you also have the option of hiring a doula to guide you through the process.
Contrary to rampant stereotypes, unplanned pregnancies aren’t just for flighty teenagers. Before you start watching “16 & Pregnant” and trying to relate (seriously, don’t do that), take a look at some of the statistics. A study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that most unplanned pregnancies occur among women in their 20s. Don’t chalk it up to a lack of education, either. Four out of 10 single women who unexpectedly become pregnant have at least some college education. As the stigma of single parenthood has dissipated over the years, more single women are deciding to keep their children.
Perhaps you weren’t 100 percent single when you became pregnant. Maybe it was a casual dating scenario that went a little too far one night. Do you ask him to stay? Do you want or need him to? Once that little life starts growing in your belly, he or she will be your first concern. Get to know the guy better and if he isn’t right for you, don’t stay with him. You can successfully co-parent without being in a relationship – and your son or daughter will benefit from a happy home, whether it involves one parent or two.