Single Parenting

Frequently asked Questions about Single Parenting

 

1. Where can I live with my baby?

Look into your housing options before you deliver. Some possibilities include living with a friend or relative, living with your parents or the birth father's parents, living in a group home for single mothers, living in subsidized housing (may have a waiting list), or finding your own apartment. Look for a safe, convenient, and affordable place. If you are a student, ask if your school offers day care -- most universities and many high schools do.

2. Can anyone help me with baby items?

Christian Family Services (CFS) maintains a collection of both maternity and baby items to assist those that require help in this area. Also, many churches, Crisis Pregnancy Centers and other community agencies are available to help with these items.

3. How do I get support from the birth father?

The birth father's legal responsibilities include providing financial support for your child. Most states have a child support enforcement agency which will withhold money from his paycheck if he is unwilling to pay. Understand that your child is entitled to his financial support, even if the father opposed your choice to give birth.

4. What rights does the father have?

In some states, the birth father's name is not even put on the birth certificate unless you want it to be. If he has signed a notarized paternity affidavit, he has legal rights, including visitation and the right to deny or consent to medical decisions for your child. Discuss his rights and responsibilities with your counselor, attorney, or the Department of Social Services. You and the child's father should also discuss with each other your individual rights and responsibilities. A child's needs are best met with birth parents working together.

5. I don't want to be on welfare.

Having a baby does not have to mean that you will end up as a welfare mother, even if you are poor and single. Although it may be more difficult to continue your studies while you are caring for an infant, many women complete their educations and go on to have fulfilling and exciting careers even while doubling as mothers. Many find that having a child increases one's motivation to succeed. Organizations like Nurturing Network (1-800-TNN-4MOM) exist solely to help students and aspiring professional women complete their goals while facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our experience has been that a woman's motivation and self-esteem determine her ability to do well, not an unplanned pregnancy. If a birth mother is on AFDC, she is eligible for the JOBS program which assists with both tuition and childcare.

6. Can I be forced to quit school?

Most schools encourage you to continue your education. Many educational programs for parents offer night classes, and in many large cites there are high schools especially for pregnant and parenting teens. Some schools offer loans, childcare, and even transportation. You may decide to take a semester off while you adjust to single parenting, but your educational goals are still reachable. No one can force you to quit school.

7. How will single parenting affect my dating?

Parenting may limit your dating. When you choose to parent, your child will need much of your time and attention. Some people you date may not want to share your attention with a child, while other people will not mind that you're parenting. Before getting into a serious relationship, consider the effect of your child. Try to balance freedom and responsibility -- you will still need to allow yourself some "fun time" without your child.

8. How do I explain to my child why there is no father in our home?

Explain that because of complicated circumstances, he is unable to be part of your family. Because of today's high divorce rates, chances are your child will have many peers with only one parent in the home. You need to talk as positively about the other parent as you can without being dishonest. Even if you don't like him, he is someone special to your child. Encourage other male role models in your child's life. How your child perceives caring adults of either sex will affect how he or she will relate to others as an adult.

9. What rights do grandparents have?

State laws vary about grandparents' custody and visitation rights. By law, birth parents are the only ones who have rights and responsibilities toward the child. Grandparents, however, are important people in your child's life and history. They can also be very helpful. Look on their help, however, as a temporary solution as it is important for you to be independent eventually. If you do live with your parents, they have a right to insist on a few rules.

10. Can I still choose adoption later if parenting doesn't work out?

If single parenting becomes too difficult and you decide to look into adoption, you are not a bad parent. It takes courage to realize that you are not ready for the responsibility of parenthood. But separating from a child with whom you have bonded is difficult. A trusted and wise counselor can help you and your child through this process. Our Counselors will both help you continue parenting and, if you decide it's best, help you make an adoption plan that you can live with. Ask about "open" adoption, which can still allow for you to see your child.

Adapted from: "Single Parenting: Ten FAQ's About Single Parenting," Bethany Productions, 1997

 

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Child Development

First Trimester

Week 2 - Conception is the moment at which the sperm penetrates the ovum. Once fertilized it is called a zygote, until it reaches the uterus 3-4 days later.

Week 4 - The embryo may float freely in the uterus for about 48 hours before implanting. Upon implantation, complex connections between the mother and embryo develop to form the placenta.

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