I’ve been a single foster mom for a total of about 14 weeks now. I started with a preemie straight out of the NICU, weighing less than 5 pounds. He was with me for about 7 weeks. Then I took about 7 weeks off, and when I resumed, I got a baby who was just shy of 2 months old. Although he wasn’t a preemie, he is small, only at about the 50th percentile for weight. He has reflux, so he throws up a lot. He has the greatest temperament and personality, though, so it kind of makes up for all the laundry and for all the little tricks we have to do to help him keep his food down. The great news is that he continues to gain weight, so he’s healthy. That’s what matters most.
I am by no means an expert at being a single mom, well, single foster mom, which is different. There are a lot more appointments and such since so many people are involved in the decision making for these little bundles. It can be quite overwhelming. Anyhow, I am definitely not an expert. Although I knew a lot about babies before I began this venture, and I knew what it was to be a mother figure, I had not a clue what it meant to be a single mom. It is challenging and overwhelming and just plain a labor of love. I love this little foster baby that God has put in my life, just like I loved the one before him. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t keep doing this. I would give up.
I think after Baby Incredible moves on to wherever DCFS decides he should go next, I will find binkies everywhere for the next few months at least. They get lost like socks do in the laundry. I bought two more yesterday, and just about immediately after I bought them, I found three that I had been looking for. I think I will also find burp cloths everywhere. I have done the same thing with burp cloths as I have with binkies. Those have proven to be two of the most important supplies for a baby with reflux.
More lastingly, though, I don’t think I will ever again take for granted time to myself or time with my boyfriend or just being able to pick up and go to the movies or for a pedicure with a friend. Finding babysitting alone, has got to be one of the most stressful things about being a single mom of any kind. You know that you need time to yourself to be able to recharge your batteries a little, especially when you’re caring for a newborn, but you don’t want to make that someone else’s problem or responsibility, yet you do want to ask for help and be super grateful for the help you get. And I am grateful. So many have stepped up to help me with Baby Incredible. They know who they are. I would not be able to do this without my spiritual family.
Single moms, you have a special place in my heart.