Birth Mom Support
Birth Mother Grief
A birth mother’s grief is complicated. It is often said that a birth mother breaks her own heart in order to give her child things she may not be able to provide at that time. Because placing a child for adoption is a decision, birth mothers often feel guilt for their grief. “I caused this pain.” “I made this decision, therefore I should suffer.” It is important to know that these feelings are common, but not deserved.
Further more, placing a child for adoption can be considered an ambiguous loss. What does this mean? It means it can be unclear and confusing. In this type of loss, unlike the death of a loved one, there is no ritual to mark the loss or commemorate it. There is no specific point like a funeral or celebration of life where you mark the before and after and then slowly start to move forward and heal. With a funeral or celebration of life, family and friends gather to offer support. In many cases, a birth mother grieves alone.
One additional factor to consider is open adoption. In open adoption, where a relationship with child and adoptive family is created and texts, calls, letters, pictures, visits shared, grief can become a little more complicated. There is no end point to the grief. It is a lifelong process of grieving and healing. Now let us be clear. This does not mean open adoption is bad or causes additional pain and therefore, a birth mother should choose a closed adoption so she hurts less. The hurt is great in both open and closed adoption. In open adoption, the pain may become more apparent and at the surface because it’s something she faces head on, rather than suppresses out of shame.
A birth mother’s grief is sacred. It is a grief born out of love. A birth mother sacrifices the desires of her own heart, to give her child everything she feels they deserve and believes she may not be able offer at that time. Birth mothers are the best mothers. They love deeply. They are strong, courageous, selfless. And they deserve adequate support as they navigate the loss, grief, and pain that comes with placing a child for adoption.
Post Placement Counseling
You may work with an adoption coordinator throughout your pregnancy as you consider adoption and then if/when you place your child. This coordinator is still available to you post placement for support and periodic check ins and is also able to help you navigate the relationship with your child and his/her adoptive family. However, they are not the same as a post placement counselor/therapist. A post placement counselor is a licensed therapist who is able to help you start the journey of healing through the grief and loss you are experiencing. They can meet with you weekly, bi weekly or monthly. This service is free of charge to you. The counselors we provide have years of experience in the adoption field so they know specifically some of the challenges and hurt you may be experiencing. You may utilize this service right after placement or it may take you weeks, months or years to call. There is no right time to start counseling to help in your healing. We will be here when you are ready.
Sadly, many birth mothers are virtually alone as they navigate placing their child for adoption. Outside of the agency and/or adoption coordinator, you may not have had any support. Anyone who understood what you are going through. You may not have known anyone who was adopted or who placed a child for adoption. You may even be feeling judged by others for placing your child and you may have family who voiced their opposition to your adoption. Whether you had support or not, connecting with others who have walked the same journey as you can be an incredible place to start healing. Birth mother support group provides a safe place to meet other women who have placed a child for adoption and know some of the same feelings you are having. No two birth mothers are alike. All come from different backgrounds, different life experiences, and often place for different reasons. But, there is a common thread. A common love for your children and the loss and pain that comes with placing them. At support group, you’ll have a space to share your story, hear the stories of other women who made the same decision as you, and know that you are not alone.
Sometimes we hear women are afraid to attend support group because, “ I don’t want to sit around and cry and be sad,” or “It is going to be so depressing.” We can assure you, that while deep emotions are often shared, it is also a place where laughter, community, and spirit lives strong! Most women meet and make friends, and leave with a sense of support and community they may not have had before!
Note: Any and all birth mother’s are welcome at our support group. You need not have placed through the Adoption Support Center to attend. It does not matter whether you placed one week ago or 30 years ago. All birth mother’s are welcome.
Resource Assistance and Referral
While our main focus and work, is to support you in the post placement healing journey, we know you may be facing other challenges in your life. You may be struggling with addiction, mental health issues, homelessness, unemployment, ect. We are not usually able to fix these issues directly, however we can provide referrals and resources that may be able to help you navigate some of these obstacles. Your adoption coordinator and/or post placement counselor can provide referrals to local resources in your community that may be able to help address these issues.
One resource, available to all birth mother’s regardless of location, is On Your Feet Foundation. OYFF provides free post placement services to all birth mother’s. They will come to you and work with you to identity goals in your life and how to reach those goals! They provide support for grief, loss and emotional healing through birth mother retreats and gatherings in addition to grants for post placement counseling if your agency does not provide post placement counseling. They also provide case management services to help you identify educational and job goals to set you up for life long success! There are monetary grants available for school and job training to help meet your goals.