Having a baby is a joyful period in a couple’s life. Yet, in cases of infidelity, abandonment, abuse, or irreconcilable differences between couples, divorce may be the only option. The pain of going through a divorce can leave anyone emotionally distraught, but with pregnancy, the situation gets complicated beyond imagination.
If you are an expectant mother heading towards divorce, you have a lot on your plate. Besides experiencing bitter emotions and managing the complicated legal paperwork, the hormonal changes can make it tough for you to remain sane during this period. However, it is important for you to put this phase behind and focus on a positive future.
Be proactive and use the tips shared in this post to deal with this upheaval, while keeping yourself healthy.
1) Develop an Emotional Support System
The process of getting a divorce during pregnancy is full of mood swings, bitter emotions, and ambiguity about the future. The ensuing stress can have an adverse effect on you and your unborn baby. Moreover, as you proceed towards the third trimester, you will experience tremendous physical and hormonal changes.
Seek support from loved ones who can help you during this period. A trusted family member can offer comforting advice and encourage you to take care of your health. If you aren’t comfortable talking to your family, confide in a close friend who can listen to you patiently, ward off the negative thoughts, and help you see the silver lining.
2) Don’t Shy Away from Professional Help
No one’s strong enough to manage stressful situations like divorce and single parenthood alone. Eventually, you will need help with household chores, postnatal care, and the divorce procedure.
Ease your stress by involving professionals like a local attorney, therapist, or your gynecologist who can help you make informed decisions for a better future.
A divorce attorney is adept with the local laws and legal jargon. He/she can help you understand your parental rights and determine the most suitable course of action for custody of your unborn baby. Moreover, he/she can advise you on whether or not the state divorce law allows divorce during pregnancy.
For instance, a Wheaton divorce lawyer can help a local couple file for divorce during pregnancy in accordance with the Illinois family law. However, states like Missouri, Arizona, Ohio, Arkansas, Florida, and Texas do not allow separation to be finalized until the birth of the child.
Apart from sorting the legal aspects of divorce, it is important to keep a check on your physical and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy. Consult your healthcare team who can help you recover for the trauma of divorce and focus on your wellbeing.
3) Ward Off the Guilt
When expecting a baby, it is natural to be in two minds about going ahead with the divorce. Moreover, you may consider deferring the divorce, thinking that the unborn child deserves growing up with both parents.
Don’t let this guilt get the better of you. It is better to raise your child in two different homes than in a house that sees arguments and violent behavior each day. Research reveals children are adversely impacted by stressed parental relationships. Remind yourself that you are taking a decision that’s best for everyone.
4) Get Your Financials in Place
As you prepare for life as a single parent, get your financials sorted by enlisting your current and expected income and expenses, creating a household budget, and reviewing your tax returns. You also need to determine how you will manage the additional expenses like pre-natal and childcare costs including daycare and other nursery essentials.
Will you be going back to work or are you planning to take a sabbatical? How long do you plan to be on maternity leave? The answers to these questions will help you understand your cash flow and plan a comfortable future for you and your little one.
Being a single mother is not only tough but also expensive. Between decorating the nursery and providing for childcare and postpartum care, your finances are bound to go haywire. Take stock of your savings and work with a financial consultant and divorce attorney to develop a suitable strategy for child support and alimony.
5) Set the Expectations
The thought of being a single parent can amplify the uncertainty in your life. Talk with your ex-partner about his intentions regarding parenting and the responsibilities he is willing to partake. Open communication can help set the expectations and lay down certain ground rules pertaining to your child’s upbringing.
When talking to your former spouse, cover topics like your child’s daily routine, child custody and support, the daycare and pediatrician choices, and the grandparents’ visitation schedule. If you and your ex-spouse disagree on certain aspects of parenting, involve your attorney or counselor who can guide you in making the right decisions.
Discussing the aforementioned aspects of parenting in advance will make life predictable for you and your ex-spouse, easing the stress in your relationship.
6) Work Out a Co-Parenting Plan
You may hate your ex-spouse and never want to see him after the divorce is issued. Yet, it is critical to keep your emotions aside and focus on developing a solid co-parenting plan. As parents-to-be, you and your ex-spouse share the common goal of welcoming and raising your child and providing for his/her needs.
Successful co-parenting requires you to keep your little one’s interests at the core of all your decisions. Work with your ex-partner to create a shared parenting plan that will help your little one bond with both of you and reassure him/her of your love.
If you and your ex-spouse find it tough to work out a suitable co-parenting plan, involve a counselor or parenting consultant in your discussions.
When handling divorce during pregnancy, the joy and excitement of having the little one are overshadowed by stress, mixed emotions, and uncertainty of the future. Use the tips shared in this post to take charge of your emotions and start a new chapter in your life.