Part One – pregnancy
I’d always had friends who were single mothers, so until I was pregnant and single, I’d never thought about the fact that finding another pregnant, single woman when you are actually pregnant can beharder than finding a needle in a field of giant haystacks.
I knew lots of single mums, but what I hadn’t considered is that most single mums become single, at some point, after having had their children. Sure, I didn’t want to be single forever, and I often found myself contemplating whether any prospective partner would want to hitch their wagon to a pregnant, single lesbian. I’d always wanted my child to have two parents, but sometimes life doesn’t work out quite as planned.
But the good news is that it’s worked out BETTER than planned. I absolutely love being a mum.
Women in magazines, online and on TV now appear to be actually planning to get pregnant and have a child as a single parent. “Single by choice” parenting is now, apparently, “a thing”.
There are a lot of pros and cons to being single. However, as you rarely read about women who have been single throughout their pregnancy, there’ll be much that many of us hadn’t thought of until it happens.
There is nothing that makes you feel more single that going to hospital visits and birthing classes on your own, when everyone else is in a loved-up, usually heterosexual, couple. My solution was to bring a friend or my mum to nearly all appointments. Actually, a succession of friends accompanied me to different appointments, leaving staff and patients scratching their heads, wondering who from this parade of ever-changing faces was my real partner or whether I lived in some sort of polyamorous, lesbian commune. (Actually, that sounds like a great idea).
There are other day-to-day challenges, like how to get my shopping done when I couldn’t stop puking. There is always a way. Where possible, I brought a friend who could also carry things. Another time, after over two hours in Tesco, revoltingly punctuated by desperate sprints down the aisles to the loo, the management finally cottoned on and offered assistance.
Gay, straight, or in between – being pregnant on your own can be tough. Sure, the pay-off of a beautiful baby is worth it (more of that another time) but, for what it’s worth, my advice is organise, organise, organise. If you’re lucky enough to have a support network of willing friends and relatives, use them. People are nice – they want to help, and an extra pair of hands when you constantly need to puke, pee or both, is invaluable.