Pregnancy – Choosing to fly solo

Pregnancy - Choosing to fly solo

We always have a choice, but as we all experience at some time or another, often the choice to make isn’t that clear or comes at a difficult time. If you’re choosing to fly solo in your pregnancy the following advice may help.

Run for the hills, don’t look back! She screams as the horde of male sperm are swimming towards her ovaries…

Unlike those of you facing the decision whether or not to have a baby on your own, or 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.

When you’re heavily pregnant as I was, and contractions had already been occurring for 2 days, it hardly seemed the right time to high-tail it out of there. If you are or were in that position, and you did, I take my hat off to you!

A friend’s girlfriend is nearing 40 and has chosen to use someone else’s sperm to get pregnant for fear of running out of time and hasn’t met the perfect man yet.

When the clock is ticking, it ticks pretty loud.

Taking the battery out is a pretty drastic option, and silencing the tick-tock fully isn’t really accomplished by purchasing a puppy!

I hear more stories now of woman choosing to be a solo parent because they haven’t found the right partner, or feel that solo parenting is better than living unhappily.

If I’d known then what I know now, I would’ve chosen my partner more carefully; but then I have to remember I wouldn’t have the daughter I have now. And I now know I needed to go through what I did 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 society’s point of view.

Boy did I have a messed up view of what society thinks, and why on earth did I care?

Society doesn’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 isn’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 – most of all to love.

Pregnancy – Choosing to fly solo

pregnancy - thinking of flying soloIf you’re already pregnant but its early days and you’re getting cold feet about whether you want to be with your current partner, make the choice while its early days!

Any romantic notion or ‘ideal’ of bringing the baby into this world with 2 parents, will only get harder once the child is born, if the relationship isn’t working well now.

You probably have 7 months 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’re nurturing yourself, getting lots of sleep, exercise, 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’m taking a guess, but for a parent on their own, it’s bound to be much more.

If it’s your first baby, don’t stress about having all the right gear and clothes, you’ll be amazed at what comes to you just when you need it (and you can always 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 – now is the time. After the baby arrives, it’s unpredictable how your baby will be sleep and feeding-wise, and what time you will have.

If you’re Christian and belong to a church, or feeling a need for joining the community, now is a great time. Churches often organise a roster of people from the congregation to bring meals and offer support to you after the baby is born.

Pregnancy – Thinking about flying solo

pregnancy - choosing to fly soloThere are many arguments for a child having 2 parents. And of course in an ideal world, 2 parents with low conflict is the best situation. It’s important that your child has healthy influences from both female and male role models.

However, if there is conflict, this causes much more damage to children than having 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 their children, is really negative. Sadly, we are living in a growing divorce culture and there is an increase in fatherless children.

Statistics generally show 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 a 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 2 income family, depending on what you do for a job. But it doesn’t mean that you and your child will live in poverty.

There’s lots of stories of ‘Mumpreneurs’ out there that have become more successful and wealthy after having children than they ever were before pregnancy. 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 doesn’t miss out on opportunities at school and she gets to do extra-curricular activities including playing soccer this season.

She’s top of her class in all her subjects and at her parent-teacher interview her teacher said, “I would be very proud to have her as my daughter if I was you”.

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 doesn’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 child’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.

Organisations like Birthright and Mother’s Helpers are set up to help single parents. There’s also all sorts of Facebook groups, etc. to support single parent families.

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)
  • Don’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 this and it will help you find that inner strength you need to be a parent and untap innate skills that you may not know were even there.

For another insight into single parenting, you may like Somebody help me. And for more expert advice, check out our Single parents section.

Michelle Woolley

Michelle Woolley is a qualified nanny, has worked in hospitality, accounts and advertising, and is now studying Bachelor of Social Work full-time, working part-time as a support worker for people with disabilities. In her teens, she volunteered at kids' camps and listened to real life stories, dried the tears of many young girls struggling with living in a broken family. She didn’t realise that one day she would be drying the tears of her own child while parenting alone. Join her as she writes about her journey.

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Categorised: Grown Ups, Pregnancy
Please note that this article represents the views of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Kiwi Family Media Ltd.

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