parent opinion

'The 4 major things I’ve learnt since becoming a first-time solo mum by choice.'

When I decided to try to have a kid on my own at 42 people, unsurprisingly, had a lot of opinions.  

Particularly about the fact I was waiting until my ovaries were about to go into retirement.

I appreciate these well-meaning individuals didn’t want me to miss out on something that was important to me but, despite their concerns, I really had done my due diligence.

I understood the limitations of my age, I’d been to more specialists than I could count to make sure I was across my fertility, I’d frozen my eggs…twice and spent plenty of money in therapy preparing for the possibility of not being able to have a child on my own. Something, I knew at my age was a real possibility.

So, why did I do all this rather than just jumping in and getting pregnant?

Because I wanted to have a child when I was ready. 

And what did most people say when I told them that?

“Well, you’re never really ready.”

Which, in my mind, is a load of completely unhelpful and patronising BS.

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Can you ever be prepared? I doubt it.  

Can you ever have all the answers? Nope.  

Can you ever be fully confident you’re not going to stuff something up? Definitely not.

But can you be ready? Of course, you can.

Being ready was the only thing that got me through the first few months when I was barely hanging on.

I’ve always known I wanted to be a mum. And I’ve always known that if I was single when I was ready to have kids, I’d be more than happy to do it on my own. In fact, that option felt incredibly empowering to me.

And the fact that I’d thought so long and hard about my decision, had waited until I was more established as a person and had done my best to prepare myself for all the possible outcomes, meant by the time I started the process I was ready.

And thank goodness because that readiness meant that in the darkest of moments when I honestly had no idea how I was going to get through, I never once thought “I wish I hadn’t done this” because I knew I’d put time into making sure it was the right decision for me.

When I look back on the me of three months ago and the me of today, I can barely recognise the person I was then.

I was so lost in a world I don’t think you can ever prepare for BUT that I wish more people had been honest with me about before I went in.


So, here are some of the things I’ve learned in my very short time looking after a tiny human.

The first six weeks are brutal.

Going in everyone said having a baby was going to be “tough but worth it”.

A long walk is tough but worth it.  

So, while I knew it wasn’t going to be a picnic, I’d dealt with plenty of tough situations in my life before and felt I could handle whatever was coming.  

But those first 5-6 weeks brought me to my knees.

Maybe people who’ve been there before don’t want to scare first-time mums by telling them the truth. Maybe we feel like we’re not allowed to admit we struggled because society tells us we’re supposed to be in a ‘love bubble'. Maybe people completely forget what a fresh hell it is or maybe they dealt with it better than I did. 

But when I came out the other side and was honest about my experience people really opened up about how bad it was for them, and I wish they’d said it sooner.

Image: Supplied.


I doubt knowing that would have made it any easier, but it would have reduced the shock.

I’m a very resilient person and I just couldn’t keep it together and I will continue to shout that from the rooftops because there’s absolutely no shame in admitting it.

Your way is the best way …but it’ll take a while for you to work out what that is.

One of the most frustrating pieces of advice you’ll be given in the early days is ‘you need to read your child’.

When I was 48 hours in, barely clinging on after the infamous ‘night two cluster feed’, wondering whether my red raw boobs were ever going to produce enough milk to stop this damn kid from crying I didn’t want to wait to learn my kid, I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do.


Unfortunately, even in hospital, every person you talk to has a different opinion about what’s best and not every piece of advice works on every baby so there is truth to the idea. But it’s just painfully unhelpful at a time when you’re dying for direction.

If I could go back to that time, I’d tell myself this part is meant to feel impossible but there will come a time, not too far away, where you’ll know a tired cry from an “I’ve crapped myself” one and you will learn your child.

But in those early days, it’s totally fine if you don’t know what you’re doing because no one does.

Get as much help as you can.

This was a BIG thing for me because I’m not the type of person who asks for help,  

That’s not because I like to suffer in silence, it’s just very rare I feel like I can’t do something myself.

But since I was having a kid on my own without family support, I knew I’d need back up so I put money aside to hire help.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realise how much I’d need or how valuable that help would be.

When I left hospital, it was clear I was at a pretty high risk of developing post-natal depression and my aim was to reduce the distance I went down that road so I could reduce the amount of time it would take me to get back.

I hired a doula a couple of days a week and a midwife to help me with some overnights but I realised pretty early on that I couldn’t actually make it a day on my own and that was pretty humbling, so I had to ask my friends for help.


It can feel daunting to admit you’re struggling but I’ve yet to meet a person who isn’t happy to come over and cuddle a baby for 10 minutes so you can have a shower or get outside for a quick walk. And sometimes that’s all you need.

They say “it takes a village” for a reason, so lean on your village as much as you can.

Your kid will let you know who they are pretty quick.

It’s amazing how quickly you can see the little person they are becoming.

I remember in the hospital, watching Olivia battle through a terrifying coughing fit and come out the other side with no tears, just a look on her face that said, “I just had to get that done.”

People might say it’s ridiculous to think you can see resilience in a two-day-old baby, but it was there and it’s continued to develop as time has gone on.

It’s also exciting, as she becomes more alert and inquisitive, to watch what she gravitates towards and responds to.

Image: Supplied. 


There are obviously a lot of gendered products on the market and while I’m not going to steer her away from dolls or anything pink, I can see she already knows what she likes and what she doesn’t and it’s so cool to see her showing me that.  

It’s exciting to be the person responsible for making this tiny human feel safe enough to express exactly who they are and to help her navigate her way to becoming that individual.

Even when she’s still basically a screaming, pooping blob so much of that is already there and it’s amazing we get to uncover it together.


Feature Image: Supplied + Mamamia.

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