Being a birth mother means making the best decision for your child. Being a birth mother means strength, bravery, and selflessness.
Birth mothers should be honored and respected for their decisions. A mother’s sacrifice can come in many different forms. At the end of the day, if the child is at the forefront of the mother’s decision, they are doing the right thing. Sometimes adoption is the best decision for the mother and child, and the woman should be praised for her positive impact on the child’s life. Birth mothers should feel safe, supported, and loved for their decision. Most importantly, they should never feel alone because they are far from it.
Why Should Birth Mothers be Celebrated?
These women chose to give the child a life of safety, love, and support.
According to US Adoption Statistics, around 140,000 children are adopted by Americans every year. However, experts estimate that somewhere between one and two million couples are waiting to adopt a child. This means many people want to adopt children but are unable to because of the difficulties that come with the adoption process.
Only 4% of women with unplanned pregnancies place their children through adoption. This 4% of women may have chosen a difficult route, but they decided to give their child a different opportunity. They also allowed a loving family an opportunity to grow their family, which is a wonderful thing that should truly be admired and celebrated.
Birth Mothers and The Grieving Process
Studies have found that while a birth mother may associate the adoption experience with positive feelings such as relief and gratefulness, there is also often grief and loss. This grief can come in many forms and can be extremely difficult to cope with.
Birth mothers who experience grief are not alone. For some birth mothers, the feelings of sadness or loss begin with the pregnancy itself. For others, it can begin after the baby is born, sometimes right after delivery and other times years later. These emotions are all normal, but sometimes a birth mother may feel like no one understands. Therefore, birth mothers find benefit from seeking support and a community to discuss their feelings.
There are many online and in-person counseling services birth mothers are encouraged to use. Texas Adoption Center offers ongoing emotional support and in-house counseling related to adoption — for life.
Birth mothers should always give themselves grace, no matter what stage in the process they are in. The feelings and choices of a birth mother are valid. They made a loving and selfless choice. They deserve to be happy and embrace their life. There are several resources and people there for birth mothers during pregnancy and post-adoption.
Are You a Birth Mother in Need of Support?
Allow yourself to grieve and process all of your feelings. Your emotions are valid, and your decision is supported. Give yourself time. It may be more difficult than you thought it would be. It may take longer than you thought it would. Every birth mother’s experience is different, and the cycle of grief can be unpredictable.
You may feel great one day and far from okay the next. Birth mothers who allow themselves time to recover and process their emotions are often able to move forward quicker than those who push their feelings to the side. Take time to be around those you love, take time to be alone, and take time to accept yourself. Don’t rush the process, but don’t be afraid to move forward with your life, with occasional reflection, when you’re ready. Here is some advice for birth mothers.
Find Someone To Talk To
Talk to your friends, family members, a licensed counselor, or your loved ones about how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to open up. You’ll be surprised at how many people care and want to help you. Joining a support group with other birth mothers is also an amazing way to find people who understand and are there for you.
Seek Out Counseling
If you are struggling, find a counselor specializing in adoption or bereavement. This can be very helpful throughout the entire process, specifically when healing. A counselor can help birth mothers understand their feelings and move on with their life. There should never be feelings of shame associated with seeking help or trying to move forward with life.
Learn About the Birth-parent Experience
Several resources, including books, blogs, and even podcasts, can help educate you on adoption and/or being a birth mother. Talk to your counselor or support agency about what they recommend.
Find an Outlet
Try taking up journaling, and let all your feelings out on a piece of paper. This can be extremely helpful, especially if you aren’t fully ready to talk to someone about what you are going through. Journaling can be an outlet for grief and allow you to reflect on your growth and healing over time. If you find writing ineffective, try painting, yoga, or meditation. Take up a hobby, or learn something new you have always wanted to try, like a language or how to cook.
Set personal or professional goals for yourself and create a timeline to complete them. Allow yourself sufficient time, and be sure your goals are realistic. Whether it’s going back to school, completing your degree, getting a new job, eating healthier, or exercising consistently, choose a goal that’s important to you and will help your overall well-being.
Reflect on your progress and define a clear path to meet your goal.
Supporting a Birth Mother
If you are close to or know a birth mother, let her know you are there for her when she needs a listening ear or hand to hold. Let her know you are proud and lucky to know her. Let her know you celebrate and support her. Further, if you’re an adoptive family, be sure to support the birth mother or expectant mother if she approves of communication.
Validate Their Experience
Listen, and have empathy for the birth mother. Do your best to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they are dealing with. Remember that you can’t fully understand what they are going through as everyone’s experience is personal to them. Sometimes just having someone there to listen is all a birth mother needs.
Recognize their decision’s difficulty, and do your best to validate their feelings. Finally, don’t push them further than they are willing to go. Instead, let them discuss what they are ready and willing to talk about.
Reach Out on the Harder Days
Make a note to specifically reach out on the more difficult days like Mother’s Day, Birth Mother’s Day, the child’s birthday, or around the holidays. Let her know you are thinking of her and are there for her around this time. Many birth mothers feel forgotten around these times, and a simple message can mean a lot.
Read articles or books about birth mothers and the adoption process, specifically from the woman choosing adoption for her child. Do your research. You’re already on the right track by being here, and there are endless learning opportunities! Adoption stories are a great way to learn from the birth mother’s perspective, and Lifetime and Bravelove feature several meaningful examples.
Share a Post That Shows You Care
Spread awareness about the importance of birth mothers on your social media accounts. Show the birth mothers that follow you and the rest of your followers that birth mothers should be celebrated, supported, and loved for their decision. Some people have outdated views, so offering support and spreading positivity is always appreciated. Use your voice, and use it wisely.
Celebrate Birth Mother’s Day!
Birth Mother’s Day is not a holiday commonly talked about; however, it is very important to those impacted in some way by adoption. Birth Mother’s Day is on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, and this coming year it falls on May 6, 2023. The purpose of the holiday is to recognize and support an adopted child’s birth mother. Whether you are the adopted family or a friend of the birth mother, you can show your support by reaching out to the mother with kind words and educating others, including your adopted children, on the importance of the day.
The Positive Impact of Birth Mothers
Birth mothers make an impact that is positive, important, and meaningful. By following their gut instinct and making a difficult decision, they do what they believe is best for the child. Their choice could not have been easy, and sometimes it can weigh heavily on them. These women should never feel shame or embarrassment for their decision. Birth mothers should feel celebrated, supported, and loved. There is nothing negative associated with adoption or birth mothers, especially when the child will be joining a loving, supportive family.
Let’s do our best to celebrate and support these women and make sure they see and feel our love. The positive impact birth mothers make is strong and meaningful. Bring positivity to birth mothers by showing your support and celebrating their decision to give the child a chance to live a happy life.