When you make the choice to have a baby without having a partner, in my experience it’s really important to have other people around for support. I call them my mum tribe. Honestly, I would say it’s important to have this network in place with or without a partner, but crucial if you are without.
They certainly don’t all have to be mums, my dad and brother are key members of my mum tribe. They are basically people who will be there for you to support in any way they can.
In my experience there are three different types of support, all that have been invaluable to me:
- Emotional support
Those people who will be there either in person, or on Skype, Whatsapp or any other form of communication, that let you know they are there for you to listen, reassure, support and encourage. I have loads of these people and it’s helped me no end.
I feel I’ve had friends really stepping up to provide more emotional support than they perhaps would have if I had a partner ,and for that I am truly grateful.
I also found the NCT group I went to great for this. We are all in the same position at the same time and I’ve found our Whatsapp chats and more recently meet ups great for my sanity. However many friends you have, chatting to people going through the same thing at the same time can be irreplaceable.
- Practical support
Unfortunately the sheets don’t wash themselves and the dinner doesn’t appear on the table by magic. The house work and practical tasks still need to be carried out, even if you are tied up 24/7 looking after a new baby. If you do find yourself with some time to spare whilst your precious bundle of joy is sleeping, the last thing you may feel like doing it the housework!
This is where people who offer practical support can be a godsend. I’ve accepted meals being cooked, ironing being done, washing, cleaning, DIY being sorted and all sorts of errands being run. It’s meant that my house resembles some sort of order and everything keeps on functioning.
- Child support
Occasionally, it’s amazing to just have an hour to yourself, baby free. I’ve used this time in the early weeks to get some sleep, but also to pop out to the supermarket, or to crack on with the housework or life admin, that unfortunately never goes away. It’s really helpful to have someone who can take over with baby duties, even if it is just for an hour or so.
Sometime you don’t even need someone to take over, but rather just support. I’ve had a few two person job nappy changes that needed doing and the first time I put Daisy in the bath, it was nice to share the experience with my mum.
Before making the decision to have a baby using a sperm donor it is wise to figure out who is in your tribe and what support you might need from them. It’s then really important to communicate this to them as they are not mind readers. I’ve found that the people close to you will want to help and only you will know the best way for them to do this, so don’t be shy in telling them.
The fact that you have considered following this path probably indicates you are quite an independant person. I know I am. I’ve made a conscious effort to not try to be superwoman and embraced the help on offer. I’ve also not been shy in sharing what help I need.
Embracing support has resulted in two really positive outcomes for me. It’s made it much easier to function and in particular to get through the tough times and its brought me even closer to those helping me. I really appreciate the support and I find that most people love being there for me.
If you tried to pursue this path completely alone without support from anyone, then you may start to feel a bit lonely and isolated. I’ve really benefited from having an amazing bunch of people forming my amazing mum tribe.
As always, I appreciate that much of this is not only relevant to a solo mum, but equally important for all mums. I’m writing only from my personal experience.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below.