Females face a unique burden that those with an XY chromosomal pair do not. Unlike their male counterparts, they may find themselves pregnant and alone. They can’t enjoy the luxury of denial — the coming new life will need care no matter what.
What do you do when you feel like you can barely take care of yourself, but you have a baby on the way? You need to shore up your financial and emotional reserves in a hurry, and you might not have many resources on hand. Here are five coping tips for when you’re pregnant and alone.
1. Work on Yourself
When you enter crisis mode, it’s challenging to think clearly. Emotions can hijack your amygdala, causing a nasty competition among your neurons. Your emotional fight-or-flight reflex tries to override your logical frontal cortex, leaving you feeling hopeless and helpless, like you simply don’t know what to do.
However, you owe it to yourself and your unborn child to make decisions with a clear head. Furthermore, if you walk around mired in unresolved trauma, unrelated events can trigger behaviors that could harm your baby — like drinking alcohol to cope while pregnant and alone.
Therefore, even if you decide that adoption is the right path for you, you still need to make good choices while expecting. It takes enormous work to confront your demons, but your entire life will change for the better once you do so, no matter how you decide to proceed with your pregnancy.
2. Build a Support Network
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Even if you consider yourself highly self-sufficient, your unborn is not. As much as you might like to be, you can’t stay with your child 24/7 — please start building a support network now.
If you are pregnant and alone, you might not have the best relationship with your parents. Unless they are abusive, they can be invaluable resources of help and advice. Take steps now to mend your fences by getting to the root of the problem and openly and honestly communicating your feelings.
You might be able to find a support group on campus if you attend school. Many universities now offer such resources — contact your college’s guidance department for details.
If you are still in high school, the pandemic brought some good news for young mothers who are pregnant and alone. You can now finish your education online if health complications or working realities make attending a traditional 8 to 3 p.m. institution problematic. Such institutions may also offer services for young parents.
Talk to your employer if you are in the workforce. You need to find out about their maternity leave policy and your options for easing yourself back into your full schedule after giving birth.
3. Develop Some Financial Flexibility
If you are pregnant and alone, your biggest fears might concern money. You aren’t delusional or paranoid. The U.S. lacks a social safety net, and a single misstep can have dire consequences. You’re on your own when it comes to preparing for emergencies, so please start making like a squirrel and storing away your “nuts” now.
The reality of wage stagnation means you could work nearly around the clock — if your body and baby would let you — and still find yourself falling further behind over time. Even if you never considered yourself the entrepreneurial sort, it makes sense to start a side hustle that you love doing.
It might take months, even years, to generate a residual income, but there’s no substitute for the ability to make money in your sleep, given current economic realities. Plus, having to answer to two, three or more bosses can quickly lead to burnout — especially when paired with childrearing demands. You won’t feel as resentful about knitting something for your Etsy shop or producing a YouTube video.
If you have extra money to invest, talk to a financial advisor. They can show you ways to make your cash work for you so that you can focus on your emotions surrounding being pregnant and alone instead of wondering how to make ends meet.
4. Locate Available Resources
If you have never dialed 211 before, please acquaint yourself with this resource. If you are one of the many young mothers pregnant and alone, you can use this number to connect with community resources for housing, food and utility needs.
You might need to get comfortable with discomfort if you are pregnant and alone. Locate your community food bank and find out what hours they are open for pickup. If you are considering adoption but don’t know where to start, your state’s child welfare agency can answer your questions.
5. Cover the Basics First
Getting pregnant when young can springboard you into adulthood before you feel ready. Your priority is attending to you and your baby’s basic needs. These items include food, shelter, clothing and health care.
Please don’t disregard the last item, even though having coverage is optional under current U.S. law. If you are otherwise healthy, it’s tempting to think you don’t need it — but pregnancy changes the game.
It can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 just to give birth without health insurance. Plus, if you or your baby develops complications after, you could find yourself shelling out well over $10,000 a year simply to stay alive. If you couple that expense with any debt load, your monthly costs can quickly outstrip any income, creating substantial financial hardship for you and your child.
Use These 5 Coping Tips When You’re Pregnant and Alone
Few things require as much courage as being pregnant and alone. Please use the five tips above to cope and protect yourself and your unborn.