When you choose adoption for your baby, you make a brave but emotional decision. As a mother, you are doing everything you can to provide a happy, healthy future for your son or daughter. You need support to help work through the questions and feelings accompanying childbirth and adoption.
When you choose adoptive parents for your baby, you make plans for his or her future. When you seek support for yourself, you take care of your own future. Both are an important part of successful adoption. Here are some resources you should consider to help secure your own physical and emotional health.
Like any other pregnant woman, you will need medical care and pregnancy monitoring. Your doctor or midwife is your resource for any questions you have about pregnancy and birth. Don’t feel like you aren’t entitled to ask questions about your own prenatal and postnatal care routines.
If you have feeling of depression during or after pregnancy, your doctor will also help you know whether you need to consider medication.
Family and Friends
If you have family who are supportive of choosing adoption, choose one or two members to come with you to your doctor’s appointments and to meet with adoption agency specialists. Family members (or close friends) can have a grounding influence during interviews, paperwork, or medical tests.
If you are traveling the adoption road alone but would like to have somebody to lean on, talk to your agency. You might be able to hire a doula to advocate for you during pregnancy, or the agency could provide addition support so you always have someone you can call for help if you need it.
Counseling can work wonders for birth moms. It’s not uncommon for women to feel a sense of loss, guilt, or depression during this time. While these feelings are common, they don’t have to become your new normal.
A professional counselor can provide you with several strategies for dealing with negative feelings during pregnancy and after the adoption. Some of these include:
- Positive affirmations. Instead of focusing on the mistakes you have made in the past, your counselor can help you master positive thinking, including positive thoughts about yourself and your future.
- Forming your own identity. Sometimes it can feel like choosing adoption for your baby will define you for the rest of your life. However, being a birth mom is not your only identity. Your counselor can help you discover and pursue the goals you want for yourself. Self discovery is important for recovery.
- Following through with decisions to help your progression. You might want to go to school, travel, or build a meaningful relationship. These goals might seem far away, but your counselor can help you make a detailed plan of action and help you implement it.
- Forgiveness. Sometimes, the situation surrounding the birth of your baby is what necessitates adoption. Anger toward those who share responsibility for the birth and adoption of your baby is common. Your counselor can provide methods of helping you move past anger toward others and toward yourself.
- Grief therapy. Many mothers, even though they know adoption was absolutely the right decision for themselves and for their babies, experience grief. Expressing your grief in a healthful way is essential to healing and further psychological development.
These are only a few ways counseling can help. Talk to your adoption agency about counseling options, as it can be so crucial for the support of new birth parents.
Community Support Groups
Some things can only be learned by experience. You may feel like nobody knows how it feels to choose adoption. Other birth mothers, however, have been where you are. Many attend support groups for months or even years following the birth of their babies.
The main benefit is that you can voice feelings with confidence, knowing they will be understood. Moms attending support groups are less likely to pass judgement on your choice, so you can speak comfortably about your past.
Finally, those who have begun healing can be an example of progression. As you hear the experiences of other birth moms, you can feel more secure in the choice you made for your baby’s future, as many women feel doubt. During pregnancy, hearing the experiences of others can also help you know if you want an open or closed adoption.
Some communities also offer organizations designed to help birth moms get back on their feet with grants, education resources, and life coaching.
There are some non-profit organizations that offer retreats for birth mothers. You’ll meet women from all walks of life who have been where you are. Here you can engage in planned activities and group discussions, and you can create lifelong friendships.
Some of the women you meet will be useful contacts later when you are having a rough day or facing a visit or reunion with your baby.
For more information on support for birth mothers, contact us at A Child’s Dream.