Pregnancy can have a lot of ups and downs—but if you’re single, it can feel like even more of a roller coaster.
It may seem like you have fewer people to help and like the whole world is on your shoulders. The anxiety of going through it without a partner can be overwhelming.
In this post, we’re sharing 8 tips you can use to combat the feeling of doing it all alone.
#1 Seek Social Support
Just because you don’t have a partner doesn’t mean you need to go through pregnancy alone. In fact, even if you aren’t single, research shows that the more social support you have while expecting, the better.
Having supports can lower stress and the complications it can cause (read: How Stress Affects Pregnancy). It can also prevent pregnancy depression, protect against postpartum depression and improve pregnancy outcomes. One study found that women who had more prenatal support had better labors and gave birth to healthier, higher-weight babies.
Seeking more social support could mean:
- Reconnecting with old friends
- Making an effort to see or talk to family members more often
- Seeing close friends more frequently
- Making new friends (prenatal classes are great for this!)
Keep in mind that you don’t need one person to replace the role of a partner. Build a team of people around you who can help with different things. For example, you don’t need to rely on the same person to take you to check-ups. Rather, having multiple people you trust will increase your feeling of support.
If you need more people in your life, read Social Support During Pregnancy: Why It’s Critical & 10 Ways To Get It.
#2 Find the Best People for Emotional Support
Partners are often there to support and go through the journey with the expecting mother. If you’re single, you may want to choose the best people in your circle to get this type of support from. While some friends can help with baby supply shopping or throwing a baby shower, others are better at listening to rants.
Take a look at your group of friends and family. Who are you the closest to? Who can you talk to about anything? Who’s the most compassionate, sympathetic and trustworthy? Choose one or two people and make them your go-tos for any time you need someone to talk or cry to. This may also be the ideal person to have in the room with you during labor.
#3 Find the Best People for Medical Advocacy
During pregnancy, there’s a lot of decisions you need to make and a lot of new information to take in. If you have any medical or pregnancy complications, the choices can be more overwhelming. While they don’t need to be there for every appointment, having someone there for the important ones can go a long way in decreasing your stress.
Ask yourself which of your family members or friends understands health topics more. Who is the most likely to speak up for your health, if needed? This person can be your second set of ears during important check-ups or procedures. If you’re uncomfortable, they will ask the doctor the critical questions and assert your birth preferences.
#4 Accept and Seek Out Help
Even with the most loving and helpful partner, pregnancy can be a tough journey sometimes. If you’re going through it single, it’s even more understandable to ask for help.
While you may feel like a burden when people offer help, consider it from their point-of-view. Helping you gives them a sense of goodwill and makes them feel like they’re making your life easier. It’s a win-win. If someone offers to bring meals your first week after labor, instead of shying away, accept and tell them how much you appreciate them.
If a friend is asking what they can do to help, answer honestly. You can consider what they like doing (cooking, organizing, driving, etc.) and choose tasks based on that. For example, maybe your sister would love to help you decorate the nursery, and you can enlist your brother’s help for assembling the furniture.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. For example, say your family members have offered to accompany you to check-ups but you’ve declined their offers. But, now that it’s later into your pregnancy, you could really use a supportive hand. Don’t be afraid to say, “If you’re still willing to come with me to appointments, I’d really love that.”
#5 Meet Other Single Moms
Having other single pregnant friends can make you feel like someone understands exactly what you’re going through. If you hit it off, you can even make a pact to be there for each other during the tough times as your children grow up. There’s a few places you can meet these new friends:
- Single moms in childbirth classes
- Asking your doctor or midwife if they know any local single mom support groups
- Groups for single parents/single pregnant women on com
- Pregnancy forums with sections for single moms from around the world
- Facebook groups for single moms-to-be
#6 Plan for Living on One Income
If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, there may not be a whole lot you can do to make a ton of extra money before birth. With that being said, instead of stressing, try to focus on what you can do.
- Lifestyle spending changes. If you’re someone who usually splurges on wants, try to get used to living a more modest lifestyle during pregnancy. Ask yourself what you really need. Consider what you can cut out. Do you really need 3 streaming services? A gym membership? That monthly subscription box? If you do need something, can you get it for cheaper? Shop around to look for deals and see if you can get the same item used for less.
- If there’s someone in your family who is good at finances, ask them to sit down with you and create a budget. Even if you’re already having trouble meeting ends meet, having an idea where your money should be going can give you a sense of security. Calculate approximately what you’ll need for baby supplies and medical bills. If you’re not sure how your health insurance works or what exactly it covers, now is the time to get clear on that, too.
- Save what you can.In the months before birth, try to save whatever money you can. If your income is low and this isn’t likely an option, consider what you can do to make more money. During early pregnancy vs. the later months, you may have more energy to take on some extra tasks. Check out these 13 Ways to Bring in Some Extra Cash Before Labor.
- Take advantage of freebies— Instead of paying for a childbirth or prenatal yoga class, see if they’re offered in your community for free. Many community centers, health non-profits and comgroups offer low-cost classes. Another idea is to check with your library before shelling out on pregnancy books you’ll likely only read once. For baby supplies, you should also check out our post on Pregnancy Freebies in the U.S. and Canada.
#7 Have Self-Compassion
Going through pregnancy single can mean double the stress. If the father won’t be in the baby’s life, you may also be worried about playing both parental roles. Trying to figure this all out can be confusing and could lead to the feeling you’re not good enough. Every time you feel like you mess up, you may be hard on yourself and question your ability to “do it all alone.”
The good news is that practicing self-compassion can help you combat these negative thoughts. Simply put, self-compassion means having an understanding and acceptance of yourself. That way, even in the bad times, you can see the reality and move past it without dwelling.
Take this thought for example: “I have so much to do before the baby and I can’t do it alone, so how am I ever going to raise this child single?”
After taking a moment to pause and consider that everyone makes mistakes, you may reframe that thought: “I have a lot to do, but I’m trying my best. Every pregnant woman probably feels like this at some point, and I’m probably feeling it even more since I’m going through this single, and that’s hard. Still, I know there’s plenty of single moms who’ve come out of it stronger.”
If you’re interested in learning more about self-compassion, read:
- 6 Ways to Make Pregnancy Easier by Practicing Self Compassion
- Mindfulness: Surprising Ways It Changes Your Pregnancy, Labor
- 9 Super Easy Mindfulness Exercises For A Calmer and More Enjoyable
It may feel like there’s so much to do and the only person who can do it is you. But with all that stress, you should also take some time out for yourself. It may sound counterintuitive, but taking time to clear your mind can increase your productivity in other areas when you return to them. Instead of feeling miserable cramming yet another baby book in, imagine coming to it with fresh eyes, ready to retain the information.
Relaxing means different things for everyone, but find something that makes you forget about any worries for an hour or so. Then, make a point to do it once or a few times per week. Check out these 9 Ways to De-Stress.
Comment your tips on going through pregnancy single below! If you have any single pregnant friends, be sure to share this post to help them, too!
P.S. Have you tried a fetal doppler yet? These amazing handheld devices can be used between check-ups to hear your baby’s heartbeat. Get one today for as low as $39.95.