There are so many ways that someone can find themselves a single mom (or dad). A single parent can be co-parenting with a former partner. They could be single due to being a widow. Or in my case, a single parent could be doing it alone from day one. Raising a kid on their own isn’t always someone’s first choice, but more and more parents are finding themselves in this situation.
I’ll be honest with you, having Sasha on my own was a choice I made knowingly. I was prepared to not have to do it alone if need be, but when I made the decision to have her, I made that decision with the understanding that I would likely be doing it without a co-parent.
The past thirty days since Sasha’s birth taught me so much about being a single mom. I learned a lot about myself, Sasha, and what it means to be a parent. I learned what it means to be fully responsible for someone’s life and happiness and well-being.
Number 1: Parenting ain’t easy… but it’s so rewarding.
Whether you do it alone or with someone’s help, parenting is not easy. No matter how many books you read, the baby does not come with a manual! You will learn on the spot.
Number 2: It does take a village.
You know the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a baby’. This couldn’t be any more true. Being a single mama doesn’t mean doing everything on your own. That first month as a single mom is so hard! Grandparents, uncles, aunts (even the non-biological kind who are given the title), or anyone who can be your and baby’s support system are so important. Find your people and rely on them. Whether it’s physical health or just checking in on you. If you’re reading this because someone you know or love is a single mom or single dad, reach out to them. See what you can do help them. I had a friend text me one morning the first week I was home and offer to bring me breakfast, and though I didn’t take her up on it, it was the sweetest gesture.
Number 3: People might talk.
Listen, I grew up in a judge-y, gossipy community. I knew that coming out with the news that I had a baby ALONE (and would be a single mama) would rock the community. People would talk behind my back, people would ask stupid questions. The most important thing to me was that my friends and family supported me, and Sasha was healthy. The haters can hate, judgers can judge, and honestly, they don’t matter.
Number 4: No matter what, the baby will cry.
And guess what? So will you. This is ok! Baby will cry because it’s the only way he or she can communicate. No matter how amazing of a parent you are (and you are amazing!) your babies will cry. I cried when she first smiled. Then, I cried when she first latched during breastfeeding. I cried when I had mastitis. Sometimes our emotions are too much and it is totally ok!
Number 5: You can do it!
This might be the most important thing I learned. I had so much help my first month, but I was determined to make sure every single thing I did, I was able to do on my own. For example, when my brother and I were little, my dad always handled bath time. When Sasha was born, I let him handle bath time for her too. But one evening, I tried to do it myself, completely independently, to know that I could. It wasn’t easy, especially when we were already in a routine where my mom and I both had specific roles while he bathed Sasha, but I made it work… with a few tears from both Sasha and me.
My Final Takeaway
The past thirty days as a single mom flew by. I blinked my eyes and my little baby (not so little, she was born 9 lbs!) was smiling at me, looking at me, and literally growing at lightning speed. I miss those newborn days already… if you find yourself in my shoes, savor those moments.
Take pictures and videos of the little things, because as they get older and you miss those minutes of them sleeping on your chest, it is so comforting to pull up a video and watch those memories.
I’m still learning what it means to be a single mama. I still have a million questions every day, but I’m loving every single minute of it and you will too.