5 Ways to Practice Self-Care as Birth Mother in Kansas
Taking care of your physical and mental health is key to making your adoption journey go more smoothly. By practicing self-care as a birth mother, you can make the more difficult days more bearable and increase the number of good days you have. You don’t have to stop practicing self-care as soon as the adoption process is over. In fact, Adoption Choices of Kansas encourages you to continue to apply the methods and lessons of self-care long after your adoption journey ends.
If you are looking for ways to practice self-care as a birth mother and need some help getting started, we provided this list of tips for you to follow that you can use during and long after embarking on your adoption journey.
- Check in with Your Emotional Needs
As a preliminary measure in self-care, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what your emotional needs are and how you can best address them. Some people can hold off working through any negative feelings they hold as they proceed through their day. They might prefer to get their minds off it and channel that energy elsewhere. For others, this can be more difficult, and they may feel the urgent need to directly confront their feelings in order to move on and feel better. Figuring out your coping style will give you an idea of how to take tangible steps toward a more peaceful state of mind. It can also make you a more self-aware person overall which will benefit you beyond your adoption journey.
- Don’t Forget about Basic Daily Care
When going through an emotionally overwhelming and draining period, it can be difficult just to get out of bed at times. Though you carry a heavy burden, it’s important that you not neglect your basic needs. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are nutritionally substantive. Not meeting your dietary needs and eating unhealthy foods may exacerbate any anxiety or depression you’re experiencing.
Also, try to get as much sleep as you can. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to increased anxiety and depression, thus making the day ahead of you more difficult to endure. Consider incorporating soothing music, meditation, reading, white noise, or breathing exercises into your nighttime routine if you have trouble falling asleep. Equally important is getting enough exercise. This can take any form that best suits you, but you may find that it helps release some of your tension as well as clearing your mind.
- Express Your Emotions
Finding ways to directly work through daily emotional low points throughout your adoption journey is key to the healing process. It might be tempting to repress these feelings to avoid the pain they bring, but recovery requires some confrontation with yourself from time to time. That doesn’t mean you should be consumed by these feelings, as that creates a different problem. Rather, you need to give yourself permission to express your feelings in a way that will lead you to a path toward closure and peace.
Allowing yourself to have a good crying session is cathartic. After experiencing the release of emotion that comes with crying, you may find it easier to get through the rest of your day or week since some of those overwhelming feelings are temporarily out of your system. Another coping method to consider is journaling as it gives you an opportunity to articulate to yourself why you feel the way you do. By doing this on a regular basis, you can start to see patterns emerge such as what triggers negative emotional responses or what brings comfort to you.
- Utilize Your Adoption Support Network
Although one can interpret “self-care” as relying on yourself to meet your emotional and physical needs, one of the most important forms of self-care involves relying on others for support. When you are in the middle of the grieving process, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you talk through your problems with an adoption counselor, a support group, or a loved one, they might be able to provide the insight and direction you need to get to the solutions you seek. Maintaining and relying on these connections after going through the adoption process will be helpful as you try to find closure so you can move on with your life.
- Build Resiliency to Adoption-Related Triggers
During your adoption journey, you may find that you start to associate certain things with the more negative emotions you experience as part of the adoption process. Perhaps you come to find certain items such as baby clothes or places such as maternity stores difficult to encounter as they remind you that you will eventually be separated from the child you carry. It can be truly upsetting to become distraught over such things that are otherwise neutral in nature.
Learning to remove these negative associations can be a long process, but it’s an important component of self-care before and after placement. While you are in the early stages of healing, it might benefit you to avoid these triggers so you can focus more on better understanding your complicated and even conflicting emotional landscape. However, as you make progress in the healing process, start to gradually expose yourself to those things that you find upsetting. If necessary, do this under the supervision of a trusted mental health professional. Over time, these triggers will begin to lose their negative associations, and you can take back control.
Tips for Self-Care as a Birth Mother in Kansas
Just as you are in control of your adoption journey, you are also in control of meeting your physical and emotional needs in a way that best suits you. At Adoption Choices of Kansas, we understand the important role that self-care plays in the life of a birth mother. When you work with us, we can help you develop a self-care plan that will lead you to better health outcomes.
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.