As a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), pregnancy comes with unique challenges and additional responsibilities. During the third trimester, while preparing for the arrival of the baby, SMCs also have to complete other tasks such as setting up a life insurance policy, making a will, and setting up guardianship. They also have to decide on their delivery support team, prepare for maternity leave, and sort out daycare arrangements for any existing children. All of these responsibilities can add to the stress and anxieties already experienced during pregnancy.
Unexpected events can occur during pregnancy, such as bed rest, which can impact an SMC’s ability to work effectively and, in some cases, affect their income. Despite pregnancy discrimination being illegal in the US, it can still happen, leading to job loss or termination while on maternity leave. It is essential for SMCs to research their company’s policies and know their rights.
Premature birth is another possible event that can happen during pregnancy. It can be a traumatic experience, and having a plan in place can help alleviate some of the stress associated with it. Premature birth can also mean alterations to the birth and feeding plans an SMC has envisioned, which can be emotionally challenging. An SMC needs to have people they can rely on, including loved ones, friends, and the local SMC community, to help them through such unexpected events.
During pregnancy, medical appointments can also bring unwelcome news, leading to anxiety and worries. For example, an SMC may learn that their baby is measuring smaller than average, which could require additional medical interventions. Receiving such news can be a harrowing experience, especially when the medical practitioner delivering the news has poor bedside manners. It is essential for SMCs to seek help from their support system, including friends and family, to help manage their emotions and come to a decision that is best for them and their child.
Top 3 tips for a smooth delivery and postpartum experience:
- Choose your delivery support team wisely. Your delivery support team should be focused on supporting you during this time. Don’t feel obligated to invite people who cause you stress or make you feel uncomfortable. This is a time for you to prioritize your own needs and well-being.
- Find your people. As a new Single Mother by Choice (SMC), it’s important to find a supportive community. Mocha SMC is an example of a community created specifically for Black SMCs and Black women. Having a supportive sisterhood can make a huge difference in your postpartum experience and knowing that people are cheering you on can be the best feeling.
- Remember that your body will still go through many changes after delivery. Even after you leave the hospital, your body will continue to adjust to the postpartum period and your hormones will revert to a pre-pregnancy state. Be patient with yourself and take the time to prioritize your own self-care during this time.
Despite the additional responsibilities and potential challenges that come with being an SMC during pregnancy, the joy of carrying and bringing a child into the world is unparalleled. SMCs have demonstrated the strength and resilience needed to overcome these challenges and raise happy and healthy children. With proper planning and support, SMCs can successfully navigate pregnancy and parenthood, creating loving homes for their children.