Thursday, December 29, 2005

When Baby Is A Surprise

Most articles, including my own, out there about expecting a baby, are about babies that are planned. At the very least the articles are focused toward parents who are together and stable and can make plenty of room for baby without much hassle. What do you do, however, if baby is a surprise? How do you prepare yourself and others?

Well, first you need to tell the baby's father and the people closest to you. If you are scared to tell your parents, then try taking a friend with you or telling them in a public place. If you take them to a restaurant to tell them, then you can be fairly certain unless they have absolutely no decorum that they will not yell and scream.

In reality, few people really hold the baby's beginnings against him or her after birth. Keep that in mind. Your parents eventually will be very happy for you. The key for you is getting through telling them and their initial shock without a huge scene. That is why the restaurant idea is an excellent one.

If you are past the point of caring what your parents think of your life, then just call them up and tell them. Tell them that you are happy.

Speaking of being happy, you need to try to put on a happy face when you can. First, your baby feeds off your emotions, even very early in the womb. There are numerous studies to suggest that a baby born to a depressed Mommy is more likely to suffer from depression. If you find that you are in this situation, then you want to try to be happy about the baby. Imagine the fun you will have and the great memories that lie ahead for you and your baby.

Second, you want to convince others that you can handle it. Seeming happy and being open about the baby are the best ways to approach this situation. I once worked with a woman who was completely unattached and had a baby. She never tried to hide it. She was very happy from the beginning although she was honest about the baby being unplanned. The funny thing is that no one ever questioned the circumstances or even asked if we missed that she was dating someone. Everyone was happy for her. You need that kind of happiness and support around you at this time.

There likely will be some awkward moments coming up for you when you will get those "you have a boyfriend" question. Come up with a standard response and toss it out to anyone who asks questions. Know how much you want to reveal and what you want to say. If you are in a committed relationship, you can tell that asker that no, you are not married, but you and your partner are ecstatic about the baby. If dad is a little more of a ghost, then say no, that you will be a proud single mom.

Be sure that you begin to prepare for your baby. A new baby is a big burden for anyone because you will find that you move more slowly. Getting work done is tough when you have a baby who needs your almost constant love and attention. Having a baby and being a single momma is tougher still. That means that you will need to get as much done as you can before the baby is born.

You cannot paint or lift heavy furniture, so enlist the help of friends. They will be happy to come over and help you get the nursery together. Also prepare bottles and formula or a breast pump, baby clothing, and other baby care items now. Make sure that you get started on the paperwork to get your maternity leave in place. Also shop for maternity clothes! The ones on clearance now are the ones you will need when you are much farther along. You will get a much better deal if you buy the clothes now. While it may seem like overkill to worry so much now, the time will fly by. Soon it will be you and your baby, and you will want to be prepared for that day.

By Julia Mercer

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