New Single Mom… Cheer up!

When I found out I was pregnant -- three months into a new relationship – I panicked. Was I ready for commitment at this stage of my relationship? But since I was already 35 there was a lot of pressure from my parents, friends to marry. I was completely unprepared for what came next. My partner left me. I was left with no choice but to continue with my pregnancy. But I was happy. I was caught unawares, but somehow I was not freaking out. The decision was out of my hands completely especially when I saw tiny hands and feet of my baby in the ultrasound.

Pretty soon I found myself neck-deep in parenting books trying to absorb both the Mom and Dad chapters. Now my daughter is about to turn two. We've come a long way; she refers to us as "a team" and indeed we are.

Here are few points touched on, based on my experience as a single mom. It is important, legally and morally binding for both partners to take the responsibility of the child. If you were dating your partner, or were in a marriage, your partner has the moral and legal obligation to take the responsibility of the child. There are several NGO’s who work on behalf of mothers, who do not get any monetary benefits from their partners.

In cases of divorce or separation, one parent has to make all decisions of medical care, education. There are three ways whereby you can share custody of your child. You can opt for joint legal custody- where both parents have equal decision making authority for the child’s care. Sole physical custody is when the child spends most of his/her time with one parent, and other parent gets some visitation rights. Joint Physical custody is another option which parents consider, where the child can spend significant time with each parent according to the time-days agreed on by both parties in the court.

For a single parent having a support system close by is very important. It’s always better if you live near the parents, family or close friends. Being a single parent can be overwhelming -- think screaming baby, no milk in the fridge and torrential downpour outside. There will be times when you'll need a hand, and knowing you have a shoulder to lean on -- or a free babysitter would be so much better.

Money is very crucial for our survival. Single parent especially mothers face financial crunch what with lawyers fee, day care, rent etc. You need to get money savvy. Learnt to be economical, have a budget plan. This will help you tide over with ease.

Break ups are heartbreaking, but you should learn to be civil and forgiving to your ex. No matter how distant you have become, you still ad a marriage and child/children together. This is more for your child that for you.


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