photo by adulation
Taking care of a baby is hard work. I'm always overly exhausted even though I have Mr. Cafe Suzanne to help me out. It makes me wonder how some women do it on their own. I e-chatted with adulation, mom to 16-month-old Lila, and the group owner of Single and Never Married Moms to get a little insight. I have so much respect for her and all the other single moms out there.
Read on to see what she had to say.
Baby Buzz: How did it come about that you decided to have a baby as a single woman?
adulation: I was 20, working and going to school, and trying to maintain a social life. I was dating her father on and off for over a year before I became pregnant. I knew I didn't want to marry him just because we had a child together, so I decided to be a single mother, with his help if that's what he wanted. A few weeks into the pregnancy he decided it was going to be too much for him.
Baby Buzz: What kind of support did you have throughout your pregnancy and delivery?
adulation: I had a lot of really great friends and coworkers who were there for me to talk to. They helped me keep a social life despite pregnancy. I was also blessed with an immediate family who put their judgments aside and helped me out emotionally and financially.
Baby Buzz: Is the Baby Daddy involved in your daughter's life?
adulation: He is no longer in her life. I told him he had until her first birthday to decide if he would see her on a regular basis—seeing her twice a month— and he couldn't commit to that. I do receive child support though and he has put her on his insurance. While I am very disappointed that he chose not to build a relationship with her, I know it's for the best because she needs better role models in her life, and she has them without him.
Baby Buzz: What will you tell your baby about her "dad"?
adulation: This is the million dollar question! I'm not sure exactly what I will tell her, but I do know I want to be honest with her as she grows to understand the situation. People have made suggestions—"Tell her he died," "Meet a new man and call him daddy"—all kinds of crazy things. This is something that comes up in my group every so often and it's difficult because everyone has a different opinion on the best way to handle it.
Baby Buzz: Are the other moms you hang around with single too?
adulation: Most of my friends with kids or kids on the way are married or engaged. I have one fellow single mom friend.
Baby Buzz: How do coupled moms react to your being single?
adulation: I really never pay attention to people's reactions. At first I did, it was hard not to. But now I don't care. I do remember some married moms trying to be empathetic and saying, "Sometimes I feel like a single mom." That's not what a single mom wants to hear!
Baby Buzz: What is the best thing about being a single mother?
adulation: The best thing is being able to make all the decisions as to how to raise your child, and no one to quarrel with over the small things.
Baby Buzz: What are the hardest things about being a single mother?
adulation: The most difficult thing is having to make all the decisions! Also the physical demands of feeding, bathing, changing, potty training, playing, teaching, carrying, traveling are difficult. Sometimes you just want to say, "Can you please feed her this time?" But you turn and look and no one is there.
Baby Buzz: Do you have any help in taking care of your baby?
adulation: Luckily, I do. I had to move back in with my mom, which was really hard at first after being out on my own, but now I realize it was a blessing in disguise. It allows me the freedom to have a social life and be young, because sometimes I can go out with friends after Lila's asleep. When I worked, Lila was in daycare. For now, I stay at home with her.
Baby Buzz: Do you date?
adulation: No. I tried for a while after Lila was born, but I have given up on that for a while. It's just not a priority for me right now. I'm more concerned with getting my life straight and raising Lila. The dating thing will come later.
Baby Buzz: What advice do you have for women considering having a baby on their own?
adulation: Never be afraid to ask for help. Ask your friends, your coworkers, and especially your family. The worst thing that will happen is they will say no. Whether it's an extra 5-minute break at work during the end of your pregnancy or asking someone to help you plan a baby shower, or even asking a parent if you can live with them until you are more stable. The worst thing you can do is be too proud to ask.
Are you a single mom? How do you do it?