One Born Every Minute looks at single parents

by Lisa McGarry

This episode explores single parenthood, with one young mum about to go it alone and another who is starting a family with a new partner after five years of bringing her children up solo.

Mum-of-two Nicola (31) was a single parent for five years before meeting Craig (34) while she was on a (really bad) date with someone else. Nicola was initially resistant to meeting someone new but now says she’s looking forward to having the support she always wanted. She knows Craig will be a wonderful dad. Craig survived a hit and run aged seven and says he’ll wrap his own child up in cotton wool. Nicola is two weeks overdue and they hope for a quick delivery, in and out. But it soon becomes apparent that the baby is not showing up any time soon, so the midwives bring Craig a reclining leather chair to make his stay more comfortable. ‘This is just a day trip for you isn’t it love?’ quips Nicola.

Seventeen-year-old Jess is expecting her first baby. The baby wasn’t planned, but Jess is over the moon; she knows that life as a single parent will be hard but is determined to do a good job for her baby. Jess pays tribute to her strong support network, and her mother and brother’s girlfriend both help her through labour. According to the midwifery team, many young mothers are uncomfortable with the internal examinations that are vital during childbirth. And when Jess refuses to be examined, the midwives are at a loss to know how far her labour has progressed and if she should be pushing or not.

By contrast, Nicola knows exactly what to expect and manages to stay calm during contractions, eating ham sandwiches and ‘inventing’ swear words. She and Craig even manage to stay upbeat while listening to labouring women in nearby rooms, joking that the midwives must think they are working in a torture chamber.

1st February, Channel 4, 9PM