Advice for single parents

If you are embarking on parenthood on your own, whether by choice or not, the challenges you face may be unique to your situation.

In the early days and months of parenthood many single parents find themselves feeling more overwhelmed than other new parents. You may feel more vulnerable as you don’t have a supportive partner with you as you navigate the new changes going on around you. You may look at other new mums and feel twinges of envy. You may wonder also at times “what have I done?”

For those who did not plan to have a baby or their partnership has ended in separation, it is natural to feel abandoned and angry at times. Many also describe having feelings of guilt due to the circumstances that lead them to giving birth without a supportive partner.

Strategies that may help single parents 

1. Take small steps, and focus on one day at a time

Take one day at a time, focusing on each moment and what you need on that particular day. Some people find it helpful to set one realistic task to achieve each day, as trying to do too much can make you feel overwhelmed. 

2. Find a routine that suits you

Routines can help you to create your own supportive structure. Your routine does not have to be a strict one (as many babies won’t fit into one anyway), but rather a range of activities that you and your baby can do that provides your day with some sense of structure and comfort.

3. Build your support network

As a single parent, your postpartum village of support is essential. Surround yourself with people and services that are there to help you and make your life outside the baby as simplified as you can, at least initially.

Whilst you may have a desire to show to yourself and others that you can do it on your own, be aware of and honest with yourself about your own limits. You may find yourself saying that you just need to “get through” a particular challenge or stage. And that may be true to certain extent, but you do not need to do it alone. Reach out for support early and don’t reject offers to help. Sooner or later everyone needs help. You have nothing to prove to anyone and the help of others will only make you stronger when your baby needs you the most.

By getting help from family, friends or caretakers, your child will have the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with others and to learn and grow from the world. Just as importantly, you can have time to put yourself first and engage in self-care, which is so important to allowing you to be the best parent you can be for your baby.

4. Believe in yourself

Finally, be assured that what matters most for your child is the quality of the relationship between the two of you, how much support they get from you and how harmonious the environment is that he or she lives in.

These are all things that you can work to control and shape for your child. So focus on creating and nurturing the quality relationship that you both deserve.