Being a Parent
Choosing to continue your pregnancy and to parent is very challenging. But with the support of caring people, parenting classes, and other resources, many women find the help they need to make this choice.
The 10 Most Asked Questions About Single Parenting:
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, or living in public, subsidized housing. Look for a safe and affordable place to live. Consider your childcare options in each situation. If you are a student, ask if your school offers daycare. Our pregnancy counselors can help you develop a game plan for future housing and give you advice about daycare centers.
Who can help me with baby items?
Our Center assists single mothers with baby items through our Teaching, Loving & Caring (TLC) Program. The purpose of this program is to provide spiritual, emotional, and material support through participation in our TLC sessions. Mommy Dollars are earned for each session and can be used to purchase items needed for yourself and your baby in our Boutique.
How do I get support from the birthfather?
The birthfather'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. Your child is entitled to financial support.
What rights does the father have?
A birthfather does have rights in most states and jurisdictions. In some states, the birthfather'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 your state social services department. You and the child's father should also discuss with each other your individual rights and responsibilities. A child's needs are best met when birthparents work together.
I don't want to be on welfare. Can I get job training?
If a single mother is receiving assistance, she may be eligible for programs which help with job training, tuition, and child care. Otherwise, she must rely on educational grants and loans while working to cover living expenses and childcare. Parenting often means altering your goals and plans. With determination and job training, you can earn security for yourself and your baby. Discuss these options with your counselor.
Can I be forced to quit school?
Most schools encourage you to continue your education. Some programs for single parents offer night classes, 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 will force you to quit school.
How will single parenting affect my dating?
Parenting may limit your dating. When you choose to parent, your child's needs will demand most of your attention. Some people you date may not want to take second place to a child. Other people will not mind that you are parenting. Before getting into a serious relationship, consider the effect on your child. You will find the balance between freedom and responsibility.
How do I explain to my child why there is no father in our home?
Not having a father present may be hard for a child to understand. Explain that because of complicated circumstances, he is unable to be part of your family. 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. Respect your child's interaction with other male role models. How your child perceives caring adults of either sex will affect how he or she will relate to others as an adult.
What rights do grandparents have?
State laws vary about grandparents' custody and visitation rights. By law, birthparents 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 be very helpful to you and your baby. Appreciate their help as a temporary solution. it is important for you to be independent if at all possible.
Can I still choose adoption later if parenting doesn't work out?
If single parenting becomes too difficult, you may consider adoption. It takes courage to realize that by yourself you cannot provide all that your child needs. 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. We can help you find an agency that can help you continue parenting and, if you decide it is best, help you make a loving adoption plan that you can feel positive about.
Our TLC Program (earn while you learn) offers many parenting services such as:
Our Mommy & Baby Boutique assists with practical items such as:
Call us today at (813) 654-0491 to find out more about our parenting services.