When I realized that I was going to be a single parent, I can not tell you all of the thoughts, emotions, and changes that were taking place or in the process of taking place. Not only could I not tell you because there were so many, but also because I wasn’t even aware of them all right away. I am still not aware of them all, and discovering new things all the time.
Physical changes were probably the most obvious of course. After all, I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was four months along. I continued menstruating for 3 months after my son was conceived. I didn’t have “morning sickness,” and though Mountain Dew started making me not feel well, I have had stomach problems my whole life, so I just figured it was something acting up. I was a little more tired than normal, but I had also started working a lot more hours, so I figured that was the cause. Two weeks after I didn’t menstruate in the fourth month is when I took the test, and found that I was pregnant. Things developed very quickly after that, and single parent or not, the physical changes are the same as any other.
For the next 3 months, emotional changes happened often, and usually without warning. Granted I know some of it had to do with hormones, but hormones or not; finding out not only are you going to be a parent, but also a completely single parent, brings up a lot of mixed emotions. Some of the emotions are the same as any other parents such as happiness, joy, and elation; some are not the same including sadness, shame, anger, and many more. I would have to say that the emotional changes were the hardest to handle at that point in time. If I had been asked then where most of the changes were taking place, I would have answered emotional; however, I would have been wrong.
The mental changes that were happening were by far the most common changes that were taking place, and are the ones that I am still discovering even seven years after having my son. The biggest change being the fact that I realized I had to take care of myself. While I was pregnant with my son I had to take care of myself, because if I didn’t, I wasn’t taking care of him. After I had my son I realized I had to continue taking care of myself, because if I didn’t, my son would be left without me. Granted, I have things set up if anything unexpected were to ever happen to me, that doesn’t mean I would be ok with it. My son is very attached to me, and I honestly can’t imagine everything he would go through if anything did happen to me.
So these were some of the general changes that I went through while I was pregnant, and after I had my son. I hope to make this a series of articles that cover changes separately, and in more depth, and hopefully some ways to deal with each change, and make it easier.
Read “What to Tell Children About Divorce” if you already had children when you became a signle parent. Also be sure to check out “Five Changes When You Go From Two Incomes to One Income” for financial changes you may go through when you become a single parent.