If your relationship has broken up during your pregnancy and you find yourself alone, giving birth can be a scary prospect. However, assuming you have decided to go through with the pregnancy and the great day approaches, it’s something you won’t be able to avoid!
You don’t have to give birth alone!
Remember, whatever your situation, you don’t have to give birth alone unless you want to do it that way. There are loads of options to explore when it comes to finding a birthing partner. It’s also important to remind yourself that this really is your choice. Yours, and nobody else’s. Giving birth is one of the most incredible things you will ever do in your life and the person you choose to share it with needs to be pretty incredible too.
Of course, the pretty incredible person that you choose is likely to be a female close family member, or a good friend. But, she doesn’t have to be! She…or he, (yes, you can choose a male birthing partner if you wish!) can be anyone you like as long as she (or he) is in agreement and happy to help you. It’s even possible to hire a professional birthing partner if you want.
It’s also essential that your chosen birth partner respects your situation as a single mom and doesn’t question it. For this reason, sometimes your ex partner’s mother or sister, for example, may not be a good choice, if she harbours resentment towards you for the break up in any way. The last thing you want to have to do just before giving birth is to justify yourself to anyone. Pick someone you are totally comortable with, and ideally, someone who can come along to your ante natal classes with you too.
Finding a birth partner
There are many ways to find a birth partner. Start thinking about it as soon as you can to give yourself time to decide on the right person, and of course, to find them!
Your birth partner
The person you choose as your birth partner needs to be tuned into your feelings about the birth. So set aside plenty of time to chat. Discuss your options with them. The choices are all yours, but if your partner is experienced in giving birth herself or in helping others, she may have some good advice. Again, though, all the choices of how you want to give birth are yours to make, whatever anyone else’s opinions. The only person you need to listen to is your doctor or midwife if there are medical issues to consider.
You will need to share your birth plan, once decided, with your birthing partner. He or she will be the one who will have to stand up for you once it comes to the event and insist that if medically feasible, you have the birth that you want and have planned. If you are giving birth in a hospital, sometimes you can find that staff want to do thngs their way but you need to have your partner ready to really stand your ground for you…you will be a little busy getting on with more important business at the time!
Going it alone
Some women don’t want a birth partner, and there’s nothing wrong with this decision either. You’ll have your midwife and maybe a doctor present anyway, so if you’re comfortable with this then go for it. Tell the hospital or midwife in advance of your wishes to give birth alone so that is a well meaning friend or family member does turn up they will be settled in another room until you are ready to see them once the baby is born.
Write down your birth plan
The best thing to do is to write down your wishes for the birth and make several copies to give to anyone who may be involved in any way so there can be no ambiguity. Don’t leave this until the last minute, as if baby arrives earlier than planned you could be caught on the hop!
Home birth or hospital birth?
As a single mom, the issues surrounding the choice of a home or hospital birth are similar to those facing a married mom, but there is one important difference. If you have no one at home to look after you immedicately after the birth and in the first few days and weeks, you may like to take advantage of the chance to rest up a little in hospital! This also applies if you have older kids at home.
If you do want to give birth at home, though, as long as everything is normal and you look set to have a straightforward birth, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. However, a network of people who can help you with the housework in the early days after the birth is a very useful thing to have.
Create your support network in advance
Whether you want to give birth alone or with a partner, in hospital or at home, you will need people who can help you in several ways. When you go into labor it’s better to have someone who can drive you to the hospital, for example, or stay with you until the midwife or your birth partner arrives. You’ll need some help with the older kids, if you have any. Families are usually good for this, so if you have a mom or sister who is happy to step in, get them involved well in advance.
If you don’t have any family or close friends nearby, there are other ways to create a support network. During your pregnancy, try to join local single moms groups or chat to people at your ante natal classes. If you are an active member of a church or religious community, there’s a chance that you can find some support there. If money isn’t such an issue for you, you can also consider hiring a professional carer, known as a doula, to help you through the birth and the early days with your baby.
You’ll be OK!
It might all seem a bit of a worry, especially if this is your first baby, but you will be just fine. The important thing to remember is that what your baby needs more than anything is your love.
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