Birthing Alone: Single Moms Can Have a Great Birth Too!
If you are preparing to become a mother, you are about to learn how incredibly strong you really are. You will endure all of the physical demands of labor, delivery, and recovery; and you will have a love for your child that is more powerful than you could ever imagine. Of course most women would prefer to go through the birthing process with a partner at her side. But if for whatever reason it doesn’t work out that way, remember that you are stronger than you know, and you have it in your power to create exactly the birth that you want.
You Don’t Have to Be Alone
Some moms know from the beginning that they will be birthing without a husband or partner; others have circumstances change during the pregnancy that result in their partner being absent (if the father needs to travel for work, is deployed, or if you part ways, for example). Either way, if you know you will not have your partner by your side, remember that you don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to. You should create whatever situation you feel will give you the most confidence or comfort.
If you’d feel more comfortable with your mother or sister or best friend by your side, make sure you have those arrangements in place ahead of time. (Also make sure that the hospital or birthing center staff is aware if there is someone you specifically don’t want in the delivery room.) If you want someone who has lots of experience helping women through the birthing process, consider hiring a doula. A doula is a certified caregiver who is trained to be your advocate and companion during labor.
But if you feel comfortable delivering with just your doctor or midwife and nurses, then you should be confident about doing it on your own. Some women find that they are better able to concentrate and meditate on managing labor pains without any distractions. It also will give you the opportunity to focus solely on you and your baby’s well-being. Also, remember that as early as a generation ago, most women did give birth with just the doctor and the nurses present. The fathers and grandparents-to-be waited in the waiting room until the doctor came out to deliver the news about the new baby.
Create A Support Network
With that said, even if you are determined to do it on your own, don’t overlook the importance of having a good support network during your pregnancy and beyond. When you are pregnant you may want to have a designated companion or a rotating group of friends to accompany and/or drive you to your prenatal checkups (especially in the final weeks when driving becomes difficult) and childbirth classes. You should also have someone on call to drive you to the hospital (and drive you home with the baby). You can never know for sure what kind of condition you will be in when the baby is coming or after delivery, so it’s best to plan on having someone else behind the wheel.
Also, you will want to have a good network of friends and neighbors to rely upon once you come home from the hospital. Don’t forget that having a newborn is extremely demanding and most of the time you will be too exhausted to cook, do laundry, or answer well-wishers’ phone calls. Perhaps your friends, co-workers, or members of your religious community could organize a schedule to give you help. Some women also hire a post-partum doula to help them through those difficult first days when feeding and caring for the baby is a 24-hour operation.
Above all, try to focus on all of the joy and the love that the new baby will have in his or her life, not what he or she is missing. A baby who is welcomed into the world by a loving, supportive community of people will have the best beginning that any child could want.