10 Essential Survival Tips for Birth Mothers during the Holidays
The holiday season is known for the hustle and bustle, an increase in shoppers and families getting together to celebrate. Decorations adorn houses — both inside and out, streets and storefronts. Everything is lit up with cheer, good will and joy. It’s the time of year that’s looked forward to, perhaps, the most out of any other season.
Unfortunately, there’s also a darker side to the holidays. One that’s all too often shoved under the rug and not talked about — the grief and loss a birth mother can experience after placing her child for adoption. It doesn’t matter if your child’s adoption was just finalized or it was years ago. The truth is that many birth mothers struggle through the holiday season, as well as the day of their child’s birth and any other significant anniversary related to him or her.
Adoption Choices of Kansas wants you to know, though, that you are not alone. We have put together this special resource just for you. Here are ten essential survival tips for birth mothers during the holidays.
1. Seek Post Placement Support
If you’ve recently placed your baby for adoption, your emotions during the holiday season may be more heightened. This is completely understandable and to be expected. Our adoption center in Kansas offers post placement support for just this reason. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, our adoption counselors are ready and more than happy to provide you with the comfort, encouragement and support you need to get you through the holidays.
2. Journal about Your Adoption Journey
For many, the act of writing out thoughts and feelings is therapeutic. If you are such a birth mother, try journaling about your adoption journey. Write about the highs and the lows. Record everything you experienced — both the good and bad. Getting everything out on paper can help you further process and feel your emotions. It can also help you release many of them as well.
3. Write a Letter to Your Child
We understand that you want to feel that connection with your child, especially during the holidays or if you’ve recently placed. Consider writing a letter to him or her. This can be one that they see later or not at all. That’s completely up to you. But, it will allow you to write out what you want to say to your child and help you through the holiday season.
4. Ask Your Child’s Adoptive Parents for an Update
Depending on the type of adoption you chose, you may be able to ask your child’s adoptive parents for an update. This can be through a photo, email, letter or phone call. So, if you are needing reassurance about your child, you will have the opportunity to know how he or she is doing.
5. Send Your Child & their Adoptive Family a Gift or Card
The holiday season is often filled with gift exchanges. If you have a semi-open or open adoption agreement with your child’s adoptive parents, consider giving them a little something. This could be a simple card expressing your gratitude, a gift basket or a gift card to one of their favorite stores or restaurants. You could also send your child a present, like a new baby blanket or a keepsake you’d like them to have.
6. Surround Yourself with Your Support System
One of the most important things to remember when you’re struggling during the holidays is to surround yourself with those who are in your support system — trusted friends, family members, etc. Your support system is meant to be there for you in both the good days and the bad. So, don’t feel ashamed or guilty of calling them up and asking them to get together if you’re feeling lonely or needing extra comfort and encouragement.
7. Attend a Birth Mother Support Group
Along those same lines, there’s nothing like being in the midst of other birth mothers who can relate and empathize with what you are going through. Check online via social media or Google to see what birth mother support groups are available in your area. Or, if you’d prefer to meet in the comfort of your own home, look for a group that meets virtually. This is an amazing place for you to share your story, express your emotions and make lifelong friends with other birth mothers.
8. Remind Yourself Why You Chose Adoption
In the moment, when your emotions are heightened, it’s hard to remember the exact reasons that brought you to where you are. All you know is that you can’t stop crying, you don’t want to eat and you aren’t sure when you slept last. This is very natural and to be expected when you’re grieving. But, try to remind yourself why you chose to place your baby for adoption. What was your motivation or ultimate goal in doing so? Was it so that you could continue your education? Focus on your career? Was it to become more stable so that you could have a family later on? Reminding yourself of this will help give you the reassurance and peace of mind you need to survive the holiday season.
9. Create Your Own Holiday Tradition
If you aren’t able to spend the holidays with your child and/or their adoptive family, why not create your own holiday tradition? We welcome birth mothers and adoptive parents from all walks of life and don’t restrict ourselves to particular holidays. Here are some holiday tradition ideas to get you started:
- Hang a tree ornament or stocking for your child. Purchasing an ornament to hang on your Christmas tree, or hanging a stocking over your fireplace, can be a great way to honor your choice and keep your child involved in your holiday celebrations, whether you are in person or not.
- Light a candle for your child. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or one of the many fun National Day of holidays in the United States, you can light a candle for your child. This is another great way to remember them and have them there in spirit.
10. Practice Self-Care
Perhaps the most important survival tip for you as a birth mother during the holiday season is to remember to take care of yourself. Do things that relax and calm you. That leaves you feeling refreshed and encouraged. Go for a walk. Take a long bubble bath. Cozy up with a good book. Whatever it is that is self-soothing — do that!
Survival Tips for Birth Mothers during the Holidays
We understand that the holiday season is not a joyous occasion for everyone. That there is a darker side to it as well. But, you are not alone. We are here to help you in any way we can. Whether that’s surviving or teaching you how to cope, our adoption counselors are available 24/7 and will gladly listen and offer guidance anytime you need it.
Adoption Choices of Kansas will be open all throughout the holidays. So, if you need to speak with someone on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, someone will be there to take your call. No matter what, our door is always open to you.