Single mom? Tips for choosing a birth partner

Some single women choose their mothers to be their birth partner. You may find some discouragement with this idea, but only you know who will best give you the unconditional support at a time when you truly need it. So whether it's a relative, a friend, or a hired doula, here are some questions to ask yourself and guidelines to consider when making your choice:

  • Is this a person I can trust? You don't want "labor stories" being told at cocktail parties unless you are the one telling them.
  • Can this person devote the necessary time? If you've chosen to become a single mother, hopefully you are not the kind of person who needs to have someone hold her hand through every trial and tribulation. But childbirth classes take time and even labor can go on for days. Rarely are non-relatives allowed off from work for birth partnering. It helps a lot if your birth partner can make use of a flexible schedule.
  • Will this person respect my wishes for the type of labor and delivery I want? A woman who has relied on heavy pain medication for her labors may not easily support your desire for a home birth. Don't waste precious energy trying to change someone's mind. It's better to find another prospect.
  • Can this person function as my advocate? In a hospital situation, your birth partner may need to speak for you to make sure your birth plan is followed. Assumptions will be made about your relationship to this person and he or she will need to be able to deal with the task at hand rather than spend time explaining things that are no one's business.
  • Is this person comfortable with my decision to be a single mother? Many people are able to accept your decision after the baby is born, But your birth partner needs to be with you one hundred percent of the way.
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