Children change us. Whether they are introduced into our lives at a young age, whether we bear them and birth them and raise them, or whether we make the choice to bear them and give them away, having a child will forever change who you are. It is important, when you are making the decision to give your child up for adoption, that you understand you will feel many things after giving birth, and that these are normal. At A Is 4 Adoption, we provide a plethora of resources to help our birth mothers through the pregnancy and beyond, so you never have to deal with facing birth mother grief alone.
Pregnancy and Birth Hormones
As a mother, your body is built to begin preparing for this new life. This means that during and after the birth, you will have a surge of hormones that will spur powerful emotions. Understand that these are completely normal for all mothers, however, many benefit from having the endorphin rush of their baby nursing or in their arms. When you give birth to your child and then give that child away, this will naturally produce a sadness for the loss of your child, one made more powerful and intense due to hormone release following pregnancy.
On Facing Grief — Birth Parents
It is important for you to know that birth parent grief is common and, in fact, normal. Mothers are particularly in need of time to mourn this loss, so don’t be impatient with yourself or doubt your decision. If you have given plenty of thought to adoption, sought out resources, and talked to family and friends, be confident that you are giving your child his or her best chance at a good life. Regret is the fastest, easiest way to live a life full of grief.
Typically, parents will face a period of numbness or disbelief following the adoption. This is normal as well, so don’t feel like you didn’t love your child just because you don’t feel grief right away. We have talked to birth mothers who don’t face the mourning period until their child is a toddler. During this time, many birth parents withdraw from the adoptive family, hoping that the absence will make it easier. It is important that you ride the waves of grief as they come over you, but never withdraw completely from your child’s life (in an open adoption). Being able to see what a beautiful life you have provided for your child will help you heal.
Helping Birth Parents Face Grief — Adoptive Families
When parents give their child up for adoption, it is absolutely essential for adoptive families to remember that the parents have, in a way, lost their baby, and grieving is completely normal. If you have an open adoption, meet with or talk to your birth parents as much as possible, or as much as they prefer. Make them feel accepted, like part of the family, and encourage them that they are wanted and loved for the important role they have played in your family’s life. In a semi-closed adoption, little “thinking of you” notes, pictures and thank yous are important in order to show the birth parents that their child is in loving hands.
Pull from your own life experiences of grief in order to relate to your child’s birth parents. Whether this is the sadness associated with not being able to conceive, or a personal tragedy in your own life, understanding where a birth mother is coming from will help you to better help her push through her grief.
At A Is 4 Adoption, our goal is to connect birth parents and adoptive families in order to produce healthy, loving environments, and this includes guiding both through the adoption process. Contact us today to learn more about our adoption services in California.