Well, I never thought I’d be in this situation, but here I am, a pregnant single mother preparing for labor all on her own. I have only seven weeks until my due date, and I’m starting to get nervous, excited, counting the days until the little one is here.
I’m also finally thinking about the birth – what I want and what I don’t want, what I’m hoping for, and why I’m nervous.
Up until this point, I’ve been relaxed about it all, and I still feel this way. In the end, the baby will come out – somehow – and I have trust in my body and my strength that all will go well.
However, no matter how easy-going you are, there are a few things to think of when preparing for the birth of your baby.
Preparing for Labor as a Single Mom
The following are just a few of the questions to consider before the big day is here.
1. Do you have a midwife yet?
If not, it’s high time you begin looking for one.
A midwife will prove super helpful and calming before, during, and after the birth. You will have many questions, and looking for answers in books isn’t always what you want and need. Interview a few midwives until you find the one you like.
Finding a midwife is an intimate process, and pregnancy is a delicate time. Allow yourself to be with someone you feel comfortable with and have trust in, especially since you won’t have a partner at your side.
2. Do you want to give birth in a hospital, at home, or in a birth center?
For me, this decision was easy. I never considered anything but a hospital, and I decided to give birth in the first one I visited.
However, I know that not all moms know where they want to give birth, and they need to visit a few places before deciding where to have the baby. If this is you, start looking at hospitals and birth centers now.
You’ll feel a whole lot better about the birthing process once you’ve picked a place.
3. Do you want to give birth to the baby alone, or should someone be with you?
I still haven’t 100% decided what to do. My instincts tell me that I want to be alone – with my midwife, of course. But I don’t feel the need to have someone with me, especially since my (still) husband is out of the picture.
However, I also know that I have no freaking clue what the birth will be like, how I’ll react, what I’ll need and want, so I can’t be sure if I’ll cry out for my mom or sister at some point.
What’s your position on this? Think about it a bit. Again, there’s no right or wrong way to go about this. Trust your intuition and follow your needs.
4. Do you have the nursery ready?
I’m 33 weeks pregnant, and only now have I begun gathering baby clothes and baby equipment. I know I’m very late to the game, but this is my nature.
Do you know what you’ll need for the baby? Your midwife will help you with that. Do you have the stroller, the cradle, the changing table, and the clothes for a newborn?
If not, go to a second-hand shop and see what they have. Buying second-hand clothes are better for the baby’s skin – and it’s a whole lot cheaper.
5. Do you know the baby’s name?
I still have absolutely no clue which name to pick. I don’t know the baby’s gender, making it more challenging.
6. Do you know if you’ll want peridural anesthesia?
Being a single mother preparing for labor, I don’t have a husband to help me decide. Talking to my doctor, mother, and sister helped me understand my choices and the consequences.
It might help you think about your options before you go into labor. Are you cool with getting an epidural, or would you rather not have any medication? Do you not care at all and want to decide during labor?
Either way is acceptable; it’s up to you to decide.
7. Have you packed your hospital bag yet?
Towels, a bathrobe, cosmetics, underwear, nightshirts, comfy, baggy clothes, and a nursing bra is enough for you.
Take a cute outfit for the baby with you, so you’ll have something beautiful to dress him/her in once you leave the hospital.
8. Have you planned?
The first few days and weeks will be different – no matter how prepared you are.
So, make your life easier by making some preparations now. Get a supply of staple foods; buy toilet paper, shampoo, and anything else that might run out.
Also, go ahead and buy some of the meds that midwives and doctors suggest for the first few weeks after birth.
You’ll be glad if you have all these things at home instead of having to go out for items you could’ve stocked up on before this life-changing event.
9. Do you know how you’ll get to the hospital when it’s time?
I live away from family and friends, and I was like: Well, I can’t drive when I’m in labor, can I? So, I’ve looked up a cab number and put it on the fridge: that way, I have it handy when the time’s here.
In the end, what’s most important is to make plans, yes, but to stay relaxed and open-minded. Nothing is worse than insisting on your views, even if the situation changes.
Being a single mother preparing for labor is mentally challenging, but make sure you stay open-minded. Birth is something you can’t predict, and if you are too stubborn, you’ll make the experience more stressful than it needs to be.
So, reflect upon your wishes and keep in mind that anything can change when you are in labor.
Most of all, you should look forward to holding that little one in your hands after nine long months.