In April of 2015, I gave birth to a son that I had made an adoption plan for and forever attached the label birth mom to a list of my descriptors. In the two and half years since his birth, I have changed so much as a person and have learned a few pieces of advice I’d like to share with all of you.
1. Never be afraid to share your story.
When I first found out I was pregnant and considering adoption, I harbored it like a secret. The shame and guilt of treating it as such almost ate me alive. As time went on, I started to open up about my son and his adoption and relief seemed to pour into my soul. While you don’t owe your story to anybody, you should never be afraid to share it. It is your truth, and in my case, my truth set me free in a sense.
2. Not everyone will understand your decision and that’s okay.
Adoption is a complex thing to deal with. There are many people in this world that have a bad view or understanding of it. But the thing to remember is that you made a decision for you and for your child, not for your mother or your next door neighbor or your co-worker. You made the best decision you could, and the only people it has to make sense to are the people involved. So brush off anyone who wants to hurt or upset you; they aren’t worth your time.
3. Find your tribe and lean on them hard.
While I was pregnant, I sought out birth mom groups on Facebook, hoping to find people who understood how I was feeling and could help me on my path. While not everyone I met was a friend, I found a group of people that became my friends. I met them in-person two months after placing, and a few retreats and pizza meet-ups later, I knew that I had found my tribe. I have a group of people that I can lean on and know that I will be supported through anything. Community is so important, especially when dealing with post-placement. Find the people that get you and replenish your soul.
4. You will have bad days.
Placing a child for adoption is far from sunshine and rainbows. There are times it downright sucks. You will have bad days, mad days, sad days, a whole range of emotions and grief. But, a day is only 24 hours. It doesn’t last forever; it will pass. In the meantime, practice self-care. Learn the things that can make you feel better in the short-term, like taking a bath, doing your nails, journaling, talking on the phone with friends. The list is endless, but especially on the bad days, you need to make sure that your “cup” is not empty.
5. Don’t be afraid of loving the child you placed.
Dealing with the feelings of being a birth mom can be difficult and confusing. You may feel that you should try to “get over your child” or push the thought of them away. Don’t be afraid of loving the child you placed. Because of the fact that you love them, you agonized over how to take care of them and what decisions to make for their future. Love does not have to have a limit because of your adoption plan. While it can be scary, love that child fiercely with all your heart.
Adoption is a journey, full of lots of lessons to learn. I hope my advice is hopeful to those along the way.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.