For Single Mothers by Choice (SMC), pregnancy can be both a joyful and terrifying experience. Seeing those two lines on a pregnancy test can bring a rush of emotions, from excitement to fear. And for many of us, morning sickness hits hard and early. While not everyone experiences morning sickness, it can be a challenging part of pregnancy. Personally, I’ve had two pregnancies, and both were very different. With my eldest, I had almost no morning sickness, but with my youngest, I was nauseous up until 14-weeks. It was the type of nausea that only subsided when I was lying flat and eating carbs, and it made parenting an active toddler and sticking to the gestational diabetes diet a real challenge.
The first trimester is full of surprises, and many lifestyle adjustments are needed immediately. SMCs are particularly cautious about pregnancy loss during this time, considering when to inform work and starting to plan for maternity leave. These decisions are especially important for SMCs because we are often the sole income earners in our homes. The anxiety of taking care of ourselves and a growing baby while still providing for our families can feel overwhelming at times. It’s important to remember that we’re not alone and that seeking support from our communities and medical professionals can help us navigate these changes.
One of the most challenging aspects of the first trimester is the struggle with our changing identities. If you’re used to being really active and going to the gym, the realities of morning sickness and the risk of pregnancy issues can be hard to adjust to. This, mixed with pregnancy hormones, can make us feel like a different person. It’s okay to take things slow and adjust to the changes that pregnancy brings. We don’t have to do it all at once, and it’s okay to ask for help.
As an SMC, pregnancy can bring up a lot of emotions, and it’s important to acknowledge and address them. Fear, excitement, joy, and anxiety can all exist simultaneously. The hormonal changes our bodies go through can exacerbate these emotions, making it feel like everything is out of control. But we’re strong, resilient, and capable of navigating these changes. We may be single, but we’re not alone. We have our communities, our families, and our medical professionals to support us along the way.
Here are 5 tips for surviving the first trimester as a Single Mother by Choice:
- Feel your feelings: It’s perfectly normal to feel fear, anxiety, and joy all at once. Acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Don’t push them aside or feel guilty for having them.
- Take things week by week: Thinking too far ahead can be overwhelming, so focus on small bits at a time. Try to stay in the moment and not get too far ahead of yourself.
- Find a good therapist: Pregnancy can bring up a lot of emotions, and having a judgment-free space to talk through them can preserve your peace and sanity. Seek out a therapist who understands the unique challenges of being a Single Mother by Choice. In between therapy appointments journaling may also help (checkout the Start to Finish Motherhood Journal).
- Practice self-love and self-care: Pregnancy can be physically and emotionally exhausting, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Prioritize rest, good nutrition, and exercise (if approved by your doctor). Be gentle with yourself and practice self-love.
- Seek support: You don’t have to go through this alone. Seek support from your community, family, and medical professionals. Connect with other Single Mothers by Choice and share your experiences.
In conclusion, the first trimester of pregnancy can be a rollercoaster of emotions for Single Mothers by Choice. From morning sickness to identity struggles, from financial worries to pregnancy loss, we face many challenges. But we’re not alone, and we’re strong enough to overcome them. By taking things one day at a time, seeking support from our communities and medical professionals, and acknowledging our emotions, we can make it through the first trimester and beyond.
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