Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Childbirth as a Single Mother

Being a single mother by choice is a brave decision. Many Choice Moms face judgment and criticism from others. The challenging part is that the journey simply begins with the pregnancy! Giving birth and transitioning into motherhood are two huge challenges that Choice Moms must face; but with some preparation and good friends, you can make the process as easy as possible.

A key factor in giving birth as a single mother is to make your wishes abundantly clear to the nursing team. Also, letting them know you are a single mother up front is important, and will clear up any confusion during the birthing process. Create a birth plan that explains any important details, including people to allow in the room, umbilical cord cutting, breastfeeding as soon as possible, etc. Share your birthing plan with those you want to have in the room during the birth so they can be advocates on your behalf. Before birth, take birthing classes with the individual(s) you’d like in attendance, so they can be prepared and ready to assist you.

Join online forums for other single mothers, so you have a place to share your concerns and thoughts in a non-judgmental environment. Community support groups are also recommended. There are many groups geared toward play dates and community interaction for single mothers. Join these before giving birth so you can make connections with other mothers who’ve been through childbirth before. Get recommendations for pediatricians, daycares, and even hand-me-downs.

Having the nursery set up before the birth is important as well. Having meals pre-prepared and sitting in your freezer will make fixing meals easy. Choose foods like casseroles and soups that are quickly reheated.

Ask friends to stay with you at home after the birth to help you with household chores and baby care. Choosing friends that have children, or know how to care for newborns, is a wonderful idea. These friends can teach you how to bathe your baby, when to feed, etc. They can also assist with keeping the house clean and preparing meals. This time should be spent bonding with your new baby, and taking care of yourself.

Create a routine as soon as possible upon arriving home with your newborn. This routine should include getting both of you dressed, any after-care procedures from your doctor, napping, playing, feeding, and bathing. A routine will help you keep motivated and ensure that you and your child are getting the care both of you need. Keep a close eye on your emotions. If you feel depressed or angry, call your doctor. Post-partum depression affects over 60% of new mothers, and there are medications that can be prescribed to alleviate it. Another important thing to have on hand is phone numbers for friends to call in case you need a break. A baby’s crying, especially yours, can be extremely disturbing and frustrating. Have phone numbers of friends ready so you can call them and have them come over to help or give you a break.

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