Modern day mothering isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s natural to want to have children and raise a family. Nature seems to work that way, and most people flow along that course, finding themselves married one day with children of their own. But parenting seems to be easier for some people than it is for others. Maybe it is a matter of timing.

TIMING

There is a time in the lives of most women when they prepare for and anticipate having a child. If they are prepared emotionally and financially for motherhood, they are more likely to be happy and comfortable in their new role when the baby comes.

However, some women who face unplanned pregnancies have difficult decisions to make. For most young women choosing the best option can only be settled after receiving counseling regarding each option and taking time to carefully think about their goals.

WHAT ARE MY GOALS?

What were your goals for career and family before you got pregnant? Did you plan to finish high school or go to college? A choice to single parent does not mean you cannot achieve these goals, but your life may change in a way that will make it more difficult to go to school and to work outside the home. So this choice may require more commitment from you in order to realize your goals.

I’LL ONLY WANT MY BABY

Some women feel that having and taking care of their baby will satisfy their own personal needs, and they’ll never need anything else. But, studies have shown that many women eventually miss the freedom and spontaneity of their old lifestyle. Many will again want to do some of the things they used to do such as dating, going out, and shopping. As a single parent, these become much more difficult to pursue when childcare must be arranged and money is in short supply.

If you decide that single parenting is the best choice for you, a counselor can help you plan ways to accomplish your goals while still allowing you to do some of the fun things you used to do. Much of this planning will include setting up a support system of family and friends who can help you. A counselor can also introduce you to local support groups made up of other single parents. This is a positive way to make new friends with whom you can share common concerns. You might even be able to trade babysitting.

WILL MY LIFE REALLY CHANGE THAT MUCH?

Yes. That is why you need to decide if you are ready for the responsibilities of parenthood. You will often find that you must put your child’s needs ahead of your own, which isn’t easy. While some women might feel that the option of single parenting seems easier in the beginning, they often soon recognize that single parenting is like other options in that it brings with it some sadness and disappointment, either now or later. It may be because you had not planned to be a mother so soon, or because you may feel bad about not being able to provide all the opportunities and material things that you had hoped to give your child. Or it may be because you feel that you are missing out on the carefree life that your friends seem to have.

If these are concerns that you feel you can address as a single parent, this may be the right choice for you. But if you feel that the responsibilities of parenting will seriously affect your happiness or future, you may want to reconsider other available options.

FINDING A GOOD COUNSELOR

You may be asking, “What is so important about talking to a counselor, especially if I am supposed to make my own decision?” First of all, counselors are professionals who have been trained to work with young women in an objective manner. So you can trust that they sincerely want what is best for you, with no hidden motives. Without the benefit of this type of unbiased counseling, your decision might easily be swayed by a parent, boyfriend or girlfriends who want you to keep the baby. However, they may not be around for 2 a.m. feedings, the diaper changes or the crying.

A counselor will paint a realistic picture of life, help you decide what you really want and help you be sure that your wishes are met by your decision. You can seek counseling from your clergyman or high school counselor, or you may want to get free counseling from a pregnancy counseling center or family planning clinic. You can also call 1-866-678-6247 or go online to www.UnplannedPregnancy.com for a free referral to a qualified counselor in your area.

A good counselor can make all the difference because he or she will be familiar with all of your available options. These professionals’ knowledge makes them very well-qualified to help you make this vitally important decision. They can help you examine the pros and cons of single parenting and help you decide if it is really right for you. And if you choose to single parent, they will help you go into it with foresight and confidence.