Originally posted January 10, 2016 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)
When I embarked on my journey to single motherhood, I knew there would be some serious downfalls to doing this alone, but I also knew, like with being single, that it might have some perks. More than halfway through my pregnancy I’ve certainly had this confirmed. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far about the perks and pitfalls of being single and pregnant.
On the Downside:
There’s no one to share the bed with.
In the past week or two I’ve begun to feel my little man moving inside me with more regularity. Often he’s most active just as I’m lying down to sleep or as I wake up in the morning. This feeling is so new to me, and so amazing, it’s only natural to want to share it. And while I have a terrific group of close family and friends to talk to, I can only imagine based on how awesome it is for me alone, that this must be a special experience for a couple to share together. Telling the cat doesn’t feel the same.
Also, after one of those lovely, vivid pregnancy dreams, it’d be great to have someone nearby to wake up who could assure me that there aren’t really snakes in the bed. Seriously, if I wrote horror novels, this pregnancy would be making me a best-selling author for sure.
No one’s around to help me laugh at the strange parts of pregnancy.
Pregnancy makes you strange. Or in my case, stranger. Between hormones, exhaustion, and the odd little alien growing inside me, I now do things that the best comedy writers only wish they had thought up. From strange food combinations and the after effects on my digestive system, to the crazy dreams that wake me in a cold sweat, to forgetting to put up the garage door before backing out, sometimes I need a little help to remember that in hindsight these are not big deals—actually, they make for a good laugh. Luckily, my family, friends, and coworkers have done a great job helping me to see the sunny side of pregnancy.
I have to make all the big decisions—alone.
The baby isn’t even born and I’m responsible for some pretty major choices. When it comes down to it, I am it. The bottom line. The big kahuna. I’m responsible for every major pre-birth decision from what to name the baby, to whether to circumcise him, to what insurance he’ll need, to what car seat to buy him. Some decisions have been easy, requiring little time or research to decide on. Others have kept me up at night reading reviews, Pinterest articles, and medical jargon until my eyeballs bled. If it hadn’t hit me before now, I’ve finally realized I’m in for some serious adult-ing in the upcoming months and years.
I need to ask for help.
By the time most single women decide to take on the challenge of having a child on their own, they’ve most likely been single for awhile. I’d lived alone for over a decade before I got pregnant. I’d learned to take care of pretty much everything on my own (with the exception of a few jobs I never liked, such as getting an oil change or taking my car through the carwash, which somehow freaks me out). I’m not sure if I became proud and independent because of living alone or if perhaps I always had those qualities in me, but I can tell you, breaking the mold isn’t easy. When it was only my back I was risking, I had no problem finding creative means of dragging heavy items up and down stairs. Now that there’s a baby involved, I’ve realized I need to ask for help, even if it means I do feel a little weaker and more dependent.
On the other hand, being single and pregnant has some perks:
I don’t have to share the bed with anyone.
There’s no one to crawl over during the multiple midnight potty trips, no one to wake me from an already fragile sleep with his own snoring, and no one to protest to the pregnancy pillow that now takes up half my queen size bed and still doesn’t keep me from rolling on my back. And those nightmares and strange dreams? Well, there are quite a few I wouldn’t want explain to anyone anyways.
No one’s around to notice the strange parts of pregnancy.
If I decide that extra spicy dill pickles with a cheese stick and orange juice constitutes dinner some night, who’s going to complain? If I choose not to tell anyone I forgot to put the cap on the milk and then shook it all over the kitchen the next morning, who will know? If I decide yoga pants and leopard print slippers are absolutely fine to go to dinner at my parents’ house, who’s to contradict me and suggest I change? While pregnancy has made me weird(er), sometimes, for my own sanity, I just need to go with it. Some days, having to face another person’s questioning looks would likely push me, with my already swinging moods, right over the edge. Best I’m left to my own hormone-induced devices.
I get to make all the big decisions—alone.
I learned a lesson after reaching out for help on names—only to find that no one in my inner circle could agree on anything except that for various reasons they all hated at least one name I liked—sometimes it’s best just to make your own decisions. Most people, especially those who’ll love me and the baby no matter what, can live with just about anything I decide. And if I make a blunder on my own, those same people will be there to help me fix it. But asking everyone I know and reading every article ever written on these major decisions sometimes leaves me more confused. From now on, I will ask a few, read a little, then trust my gut.
I learned to ask for help.
The limitations of pregnancy and my own knowledge have forced me to ask for help from all sorts of people, some I always knew I could turn to, and others I might not have thought of asking before. But learning to ask for help has only been part of the benefit of being single and pregnant. The other, bigger, positive I’ve taken away is learning that most people want to help, not judge. I know longer need to worry about being a burden or looking weak. No parent can raise a child on his or her own, so nearly every one of them has received help themselves along the way, and they are more than happy to pay it forward. The only thing I’m admitting by reaching out for help and advice is that I want to be the best mom possible. And no one can or will fault me for that.
I’m looking forward to the joys and challenges of the second half of this pregnancy and all they will teach me about myself, life, and the tremendous support system around me!
Photo credit: Creatista