Have you always wanted a child? But you simply haven’t met the right partner yet? The truth is that you can’t always wait to meet your soulmate before you do something you’ve always wanted to do. You may end up waiting too long. You don’t need to be in a committed relationship if you really want to have a child. You could always choose to be a single parent.

 

Of course, this is an incredibly big decision to make and it’s not a choice you can make overnight. You need to think carefully about whether you’re at the right stage of your life and if you have the ability to give your potential child all the things it needs and deserves. But how do you know that you are truly ready to be a single parent? Well, asking yourself the following questions is a great place to start.

 

Do you have your finances sorted out?

You don’t just need to be financially stable if you want to raise a child. You have to have more than just an emergency fund to cover three months salary and a retirement annuity. You have to be able to pay for an entire other human being. And anyone who has ever had a child will tell you that it’s not cheap raising them. From day one, you’re going to need to be spending way more than you’re currently spending on your life, even if you already have a lavish lifestyle.

And it’s not only about nappies, babygrows, cots and food. It’s about months or years from now when they need to go to daycare, primary school, high school and then, finally, university. You want your child to have the best life and this doesn’t necessarily mean spoiling them with gifts, but it includes raising them in a safe space with everything they need to be happy and healthy.

 

If you’re going to be pregnant, do you know what to expect?

If you’re a woman and are planning on taking the artificial insemination route, then you need to be prepared for what your body is about to go through. It’s about more than possibly putting on weight, suffering from morning sickness and giving birth to a baby after a few months. There is a lot more to it.

Your body will be going through many hormonal changes and both your body and your mind will be affected. Some women have worse pregnancy symptoms than others. For example, some women claim to have loved every moment of carrying their unborn baby while others go through months of illness, pain and emotional trauma. Read up properly on pregnancy and what it means for you and your life.

 

If you’re adopting, do you know what to expect?

There is a lot more to adopting a child than simply approaching an agency and signing on the dotted line. There is a lot of paperwork, interviews and home checks involved in adoption in South Africa. It takes time to adopt a child, you may have to wait years to receive the child you so badly want. Or you may be lucky and receive a child right away. You need to prepare yourself for either possibility.

You also need to know whether you definitely want a baby or are willing to take in an older child. And if you do choose to adopt an older child, you need to be aware that they will need a lot of emotional support from the very beginning. If they’ve come from an abusive home or have been abandoned by their parents, they may have trust issues and need extra care in order for you to win them over and make them feel safe.

 

Will your employer be understanding?

You will most definitely need a supportive and understanding employer if you plan to be a single parent. You’ll have double the responsibility of families with two parents. If your child is sick and needs care, you have to be able to leave work to fetch them. If you have a meeting at their school, you might need to leave work early. Your employer will have to understand that you’re doing this on your own and therefore might need some extra time off every now and then or be able to leave early or take leave when necessary.

While other single parents may not have planned to have their child, you have the opportunity to prepare yourself. Take advantage of that so that you know for sure you can handle the vast amount of responsibilities you’ll have as a parent. Of course, your bundle of joy will be worth it in the end.

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About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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