10 Ways Adoption Changes Your Life as a Birth Mother
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering adoption, it’s important to consider the long-term effects it will have on the rest of your life to ensure you are making an informed decision. Of course, no two adoption journeys are the same, but there are common rewards and struggles that many women experience during and after the adoption process.
At Adoption Choices of Kansas, we believe it’s just as important to prepare for life after adoption as it is to prepare for placement. In order to give you a better idea of what to expect after placing a baby for adoption, we are providing you with this list of ways adoption changes your life as a birth mother.
- Adoption can Bring You Relief
You chose adoption because you are not ready to be a parent, and you want the best outcomes for you and the baby. Adoption can relieve you from the burdens of unplanned parenthood. You don’t have to worry about whether you are doing enough to support your child, let alone yourself. Additionally, the control you have over the adoption process means that you are placing the baby with an adoptive family on your terms, which can give you some reassurance about your choice.
- You will go through the Grieving Process
Even if you are confident in your choice to pursue adoption, it is completely natural for you to experience grief at any point along the way. Loss of motherhood, even on your own terms, can be difficult to grapple with since you can develop an emotional bond to the baby early in your pregnancy. Although the pain of grief can subside over time, you may have a difficult time getting through birthdays and holidays, since you feel as though you are missing out on watching the child grow up. Know that you don’t have to bear the weight of your grief alone. Adoption Choices of Kansas can provide you with professional adoption counseling to help you get on the path toward healing.
- Adoption Gives You a Second Chance
The relief from adoption comes in part from the fact that it gives you the opportunity to get back on your feet and return to some level of normalcy. You can pursue your education or career to establish or maintain some financial stability without having to worry about supporting a child you are not ready to care for. It also allows you to take care of your own needs, so that you are in a better position to take care of others later on.
- You may Experience Doubt over the “What If’s”
After placing a baby for adoption, it is nearly impossible to not think about how things would have turned out if you chose to parent the child. You may find yourself wondering if the child has taken his or her first steps, or said his or her first words yet. What if you were there to see those precious moments? What if you would have been able to handle raising a child? What if the adoptive family you selected doesn’t live up to the expectations you set for them? While it’s very common for doubt and guilt to accompany the grief you feel, it’s important that you don’t become consumed by it. As you seek help to sort out your complex emotions, don’t leave out discussing these feelings as they are all interconnected and need to be addressed so that you can heal.
- A New Adoptive Family will be Part of Your Life
If you opt for an open or semi-open adoption, you become connected to the adoptive family you select. You can look forward to exchanging letters, photos and phone calls, as well as reuniting with them and the child during in-person visits. While the challenges you face might be different from theirs, you are on this journey together and can extend support to each other during this highly emotional time. This can serve as a strong foundation upon which you can continue to build a beautiful relationship after placement.
- Some of Your Relationships may not be the Same
Many birth mothers have family members and friends who are very supportive during and after the adoption process. However, some birth mothers may find that their relationships with others, such as the birth father or close relatives, are strained during this time. They might not agree with the birth mother’s decision to pursue adoption and would have preferred alternatives. This can be difficult for a birth mother to endure when she is already at a very vulnerable point in her life. If you find yourself in conflict with family or friends because of your choice, Adoption Choices of Kansas can provide you with the support and guidance you need to get through this difficult time.
- You may Develop Painful Associations with Adoption
One of the challenges that many birth mothers face is dealing with daily reminders of their loss. Walking past a maternity store or hearing about pregnancy announcements can trigger painful feelings. Some women are reminded of the child they placed for adoption when they have additional children later in their lives. Although the feelings of grief that accompany these reminders can be overwhelming at times, it’s possible to build resiliency to your triggers over time. You may benefit from seeking professional counseling to sort through and resolve these feelings so that you can move on with your life and focus on looking forward to what the future brings.
- You can Help Guide Others through Their Adoption Journeys
With the experience and perspective you have gained along your adoption journey, you are now equipped to help out others who are going through the adoption process. You might find that relating your experiences to theirs as you guide them through this major turning point can be a form of healing for you. Helping others can also bring you out of the isolation you might feel in your grieving process.
- You Form a Lifelong Network of Support
Although going through the adoption process can be emotionally challenging, you may find that you form strong bonds with those who help you along the way. Whether they are close family, friends, or members of a support group, these people can be your rock during this time. While hardship can test and challenge relationships, it can also strengthen them in ways that will make them resilient for life.
- You Never Stop Being a Birth Mother
You are, and always will be, a birth mother. Through open or semi-open adoption, you can expand your role as a birth mother to having a special presence in the child’s life. Even if you pursued a closed adoption in the hope of moving on with your life, you will always be the one who not only gave a child life, but also you gave that child the best shot at life you could give.
Preparing for Life After Adoption as a Birth Mother in Kansas
There are so many ways adoption changes your life as a birth mother. While some of these changes can be hard to endure, others can mark a new beginning for you. Remember that Adoption Choices of Kansas is here to provide you with the support and resources you need to make peace with all these changes.
Meet the Author: Mary DeStefano is an Ohio native currently living in northern Virginia and works in the litigation consulting industry where she has experience in antitrust, product liability, and mass torts matters. She holds a B.A. in Economics (‘15) and an M.A. in Applied Economics (‘16) from the University of Cincinnati.
Mary finds great meaning in wielding the written word to develop impactful narratives and to help people stay informed. In her spare time, Mary can be found beachcombing and going on other adventures with her dog along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. She also has an affinity for antiquing and loves a good 80’s movie marathon.