An introduction to single mom life: Pregnant and single
How I handled an unplanned pregnancy as a single woman
After dealing with a spinal injury for 5 years, the last thing I thought could happen, actually happened. I fell in love with a former boyfriend. He promised me the world. After one encounter, my life changed forever. 3 weeks after the encounter, I found out I was pregnant. The boyfriend wanted me to have an abortion, and I refused. He left and I never heard from him again. I was facing the hardest challenge of my life, but I knew keeping my son was the right decision. The pregnancy was high risk, due to my spine still recovering from a back injury, and other health issues. I was on restricted activity for most of the pregnancy. I had to give up a high paying job, my apartment, and my freedom to move back home so I had extra help. As grateful as I was to have a loving family, it was a blow to my independence.
Going to appointments alone
When it came to prenatal visits, I went to all of them by myself. Sitting in the waiting room, surrounded by couples, stung pretty badly. I always envisioned having kids after marriage. I envisioned having a husband there next to me, holding my hand, rubbing my protruding stomach. That wasn't my reality. Being solo on this journey was my reality. My depressed mood always went away when I went into the examination room and saw my beautiful baby on the monitor. Hearing his heartbeat blasting through the speakers was the greatest sound in the world to me. Every time I heard his beautiful heartbeat, I wished I could play it on repeat all day everyday.
As hard as it was to be alone during these special times, I had to remind myself that I wasn't alone. I was carrying a beautiful creature who was changing me for the better.
Holy Cravings, batman!
While I was pregnant, I had a slew of cravings. They consisted of pasta, pizza, PINEAPPLE ON EVERYTHING, burgers, baked goods, salad (later on). I gained 40lbs during pregnancy lol! Shocking, I know! When you are single and pregnant, you are solely responsible for getting the object of your food cravings. I don't know about you, but I did a lot of running around to get food. If I didn't get the food I craved, I would get "the shakes."
Not all family members were accepting of my pregnancy, at first.
In January, I received clearance to visit my grandparents who lived down south. Traveling as a single mom-to-be was rough. I had issues with swelling in my feet and legs, so I had to take frequent breaks while going through the airports. When I got down there, things were sort of normal. After a day or so, my family members weren't taking my pregnancy seriously. I wasn't able to keep up on walks, and I was in a lot of pain and very tired. My weight gain was also a topic of discussion.
I found out from my father that they weren't crazy about my mom being pregnant with me at first. They are old school so I kept that in mind, despite the fact that they are also staunch liberals. I held out hope that they would be more welcoming after my son was born (they were!)
I had to keep the faith that everything was going to be okay, with or without everyone's acceptance. My biggest priority was creating an environment that was safe and healthy for my son.
Single and pregnant: Prodromal labor, and then real labor (with no coach).
The weeks leading up to my son's birth, I had horrible prodromal labor. I had to find rides to and from the hospital whenever the contractions became too much. Each time, I was sent home and told to bounce on my exercise ball. I did that most of the time, and when 40 weeks came and went with no baby, I became discouraged. At 41 weeks, I was scheduled for induction. I remember going in and being terrified. My dad drove me and stayed as I got settled in. I was hooked up to various machines and told that I could not eat until after my son arrived. I prayed for a quick labor (HA!). Some of my childhood friends stopped by to visit while I began active labor. The following day, I was given an epidural, My dad had left the room, so the nurse helped coach me through the pain (God bless her by the way). The contractions eased a bit, but shortly after I began experiencing complications. My blood pressure lowered to dangerous levels, I was vomiting, and I couldn't breathe. I was stabilized shortly after and I continued the waiting game (which didn't take long). After a slow beginning to dilating, that Saturday evening, my dilation went from 3 to 9. It wasn't long until my body was ready to push. The only issue was that I had no coach, and no one to hold my hand. There was only 1 nurse in there, and she only came in to check my vitals. I told her I needed to push and she helped me. She called others in and one of them called the doctor. I didn't even know what was happening. I was terrified, but my body knew EXACTLY what to do.I was amazed by what my body did during those 50 mins of pushing. It hurt like crazy (word to the wise, the epidural does NOT take away the pushing pain. BREATHE!). I pushed, I cried from the pain, and I tore completely.
All of the pain and fear was worth it when I saw my son for the first time. Before I was induced, I demanded skin-to-skin. When they placed him on my chest, I melted. He had a little bit of hair, this perfect face, and all his fingers and toes. At only a few mins old, he was lifting his head to look at me. Everyone who visited us in the hospital melted when they met him (he actually peed on my best friend of 23 years).
I got through a tough pregnancy without a partner, and I knew I had a long road ahead of me. I didn't want to worry about it while I was holding my newborn. I wanted to savor this moment, because it was the greatest moment of my life.
Message to all single moms out there
"You're doing great, mama."
© 2019 Shauna Silva