â€śRun for the hills, donâ€™t look backâ€ť she screams as the horde of male sperm are swimming towards her ovaries (I smile at the image and my whacky sense of humour)â€¦ yes I can safely say I wasnâ€™t sure how to write this monthâ€™s blog. Unlike those of you who are facing the decision of whether or not to have a baby on your own, or are reconsidering if your partner is who you want to co-parent with, I was married when I was pregnant and convincing myself it would be okay. We always have a choice, but as we all experience at some time or another, often Â the choice to make isnâ€™t that clear or comes at a difficult time. When you are heavily pregnant as I was, and contractions have already been Â occurring for two days, it hardly seems the right time to high-tale it out of there. If you are or were in that position, and you did, I take my hat off to you.
A friendâ€™s girlfriend is nearing 40 and has chosen to utilise someone elseâ€™s sperm to get pregnant for fear of running out of time and hasnâ€™t met the perfect man yet. When the clock is ticking, it gets pretty loud. Taking the battery out is a pretty drastic option and silencing the tick-tock fully isnâ€™t really accomplished by purchasing a puppy! I hear more stories now of woman choosing to be a solo parent because they havenâ€™t found the right man or feel that solo parenting is better than living unhappily. If I had known then what I know, I would have chosen my partner more carefully; but then I have to remember that I wouldnâ€™t have the daughter I have now and I know I needed to go through what I have to get to where I am today.
Literally weeks before our daughter was born, I got married and changed my name on the birth record, and all because I was caught up in what I thought was right for my child from societyâ€™s point of view. Boy did I have a messed up view of what society thinks, and why on earth did I care? Society doesnâ€™t step in to hold you up when it gets too hard, support you through the night, cook meals when you are exhausted and going through baby blues, trying to keep a household and husband, and your baby certainly isnâ€™t aware of a name. All your baby is going to care about is that the person whose tummy it was in for 9 months, is there holding them when they come out to love, nurture, feed and protect â€“ most of all to love.
Pregnant â€“ On Your Own: If you are already pregnant but its early days and you are getting cold feet about whether you want to be with your partner, make the choice while its early days â€“ any romantic notion or â€śidealâ€ť of bringing the baby in to this world with two parents, will only get harder once the child is born, if the relationship is not working. You have probably 7 months Â to ensure you have your support networks sorted, collect stuff for the arrival of your baby, stock up the freezer with cooked meals and baking, and make sure you are nurturing yourself, getting lots of sleep, exercise,Â rest and good food! I heard on the radio the other day that parents lose over 780 hours of sleep in the first year of a baby being born, so I am taking a guess, but for a parent on their own, it is bound to be much more. If itâ€™s your first baby, donâ€™t stress about having all the right gear and clothes, you will be amazed at what comes to you just when you need it, and then get a girlfriend to throw you a baby shower If there are activities you like to do on your own, or projects you really want to achieve â€“ now is the time, after the baby arrives, it’s unpredictable how your baby will be and what time you will have.
If you are Christian and belong to a church or feeling a need for joining the community, Â now is a good time; churches often organise a roster of people from the congregation Â to bring meals and offer support to you after the baby is born.
Pregnant: Thinking about Going Solo: There are many arguments for a child having two parents, and of course in an ideal world, two parents with low conflict is the best situation. It is important that your child has healthy influences from both female and male role models.
However, if there is high conflict, this causes more damage to your children than parents living apart. Add sleep deprivation and focus being all about the baby for a while, and that conflict just increases. Babies are also highly aware of your energy and respond/react to this.
Information I read about solo parents and the general effect on our children, is really negative. Sadly, we are living in a growing divorce culture and there is an increase in fatherless children. Statistics generally have shown that children in a solo parent family are less educated and/or struggle more at school and are less intelligent, living in poverty or with less money, have more behavioural problems and higher likelihood of ending up in trouble with the law.
It may be stats but I personally know of many solo parent situations where this is certainly not the case. Yes, money could be less than in a two income family depending on what you do for a job, but it doesnâ€™t mean that you and your child need to live in poverty. There is also an increasing popularity with online shopping and working from home opportunities out there. It may even be a great time to study and change your skill set. Appreciate what you have, think about all the good that comes in to your life and you will create your own wealth. My daughter is doing extremely well, she doesnâ€™t miss out on opportunities at school and she gets to do extra-curricular activities including playing soccer this season (and a little proud parent rant but she got player of the day and scored 5 goals at her first game). She is top of her class in all her subjects and at her parent-teacher interview her teacher said â€śI would be very proud to have her as my daughter if I was youâ€ť. Her behavioural problems are no different to any other 5 year old and the things I choose for us to miss out on or sacrifice she often doesnâ€™t even realise or I take the opportunity to turn it in to a life lesson for her that builds character and understanding of her world and learning to appreciate what she does have.
You can work on balancing influences in your childâ€™s life through uncles/aunts, grandparents or friends, and also by joining a solo parent support group and getting along to some activities, organising swaps with friends etc.
Whatever your situation, remember:
- You need to do what feels right for you and your baby, not others;
- To be kind to yourself;
- Not to be too proud to ask for help (you may be amazed at how many are just waiting on the side-lines to be asked);
- Donâ€™t put high expectations on yourself that you may not have the energy to fulfil, a fast way to get the baby blues;
- People that come to visit are not there for your house, they are there for you;
- A good sleep can make the world of difference in how you can cope, if you are tired, sleep, it really is okay.
- You are never sent anything you cannot handle! Believe thisÂ and it will help you find that inner strength you need to be a parent and untapÂ innate skills that you may not know were even there.
A great article on Kiwi Families website to check out by Sandi Patterson – http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/articles/somebody-help-me/
And to end on a more humorous note, I leave you with the Prenatal bucket list â€“ 10 reasons you know youâ€™re ready to have a baby gives you an insight to parenting â€“ enjoy!