Trying to adjust to life after placing a baby for adoption is just that…trying! It’s not easy. Everything before the baby was born was preparation for the adoption with so much anticipation and anxiety leading up to the delivery. The stay in the hospital can feel almost like being in limbo, waiting for life to start up again after you leave. I had so much anxiety about leaving the hospital because I didn’t know what my next step was supposed to be. I knew I had to go back to my life, but how? Nobody understood how I felt and the feeling was absolutely indescribable. I know I did something amazing and wonderful for my daughter. I did what was best for her and for me. But knowing this wasn’t enough to pull me through post-partum plus post-placement.
There are so many things that can be done to help yourself adjust to life after your adoption. I found that counseling and ambition were probably the most important mixture that helped me get back to life and living and enjoying it.
Counseling is available and is extremely beneficial. Aside from the adoption counseling, I received regular therapy. I learned more about my personality and my goals. It helped with fears that I had and my self-esteem. It really helped me to ground myself and focus on making my life the way I wanted it to be.
Writing a journal, poetry, or stories will really help to get emotions out that are so difficult to explain to other people. Some people write books to help other birthmothers, some people write blogs about their experience, some write and sing songs, some keep a journal very close to their hearts about their own feelings and thoughts about their baby and the adoption. Any kind of creative art does help. If you have an open or semi-open adoption, you can create a scrapbook of the baby to fill with pictures, letters and anything special that you would like in it. I created an “ambition book” to fill as I accomplish the goals I am working towards. The pages are decorated and ready for the pictures, the diplomas, and other memorabilia signifying the achievement of my dreams!
Figuring out your goals and ambitions and taking steps toward them really helped me. It gave me something to plan and look forward to after the baby was adopted. The best thing that came from this was the pride and confidence I built up in myself because I tried…and kept trying!
Volunteering for any organization is a great idea. You will get to learn something new and meet wonderful people. You’ll get to experience more of life and it feels amazing to get to help other people during the trials that they experience in their life.
Joining a sport in your community will be something fun and active for you. As difficult as it is at times to grieve the loss of your baby, it is helpful to be around people and doing something you enjoy.
Understanding the grieving process will help you identify the stages of loss you are going through and can help ease the frustrations of it. I know an understanding of it does not alleviate the pain at all but it does help to cope with it. There is a book that was so special to me during my grieving time. It offered a special message to birthmothers, a special message to adoptive parents and a very, very special message to the adopted child. It’s called Never, Never, Never Will She Stop Loving You by Jolene Durrant. As a birthmother, this book meant so much to me because I got to see a birthmother through the eyes of an adoptive mother and that meant the world to me!
Support groups for bereavement and loss can help, also. For a birthmother, an adoption is a loss and it is felt as a loss. Your child may be alive and thriving but the loss of the role as that child’s mother is precious and should be handled that way. Other support groups can be found online in chatrooms. You can make connections with other birthmothers on blogs. There are websites made by birthmothers for birthmothers that provide a safe and loving environment where birthmothers can¬†see that they are not alone…and that they are not forgotten!
Most importantly….be kind to yourself! Please don’t beat yourself up. You made a choice that is one of the most difficult choices in life. I know that in many situations, a birthmother is not given the support that she needs. I know that a birthmother is often misunderstood by the world. But the truth is, you are not selfish and you are NOT a bad mother. Regardless of your situation, you wanted something better for your child than you could give at that time in your life. Walk with your head held high and be so, so proud that you chose love for your child!¬†Choose love for yourself! You deserve it, also!!