Healing as a Birth Mother: Counseling and Emotional Support for Birth Mothers in Kansas
As a birth mother, you made the tough decision to place your child into adoption because you deemed it to be the best choice for you and your child; however, you find yourself dealing with a plethora of feelings that can overwhelm you at times. While it is completely natural to have to confront emotional hardship during your adoption journey, it is necessary that you have the appropriate tools to help you work your way through these feelings in a constructive way.
If you find that you are struggling to process these feelings, it may be in your best interest to seek out external help, whether it takes the form of structured professional counseling or a more personal support system, so that you can start the process of healing as a birth mother.
Adoption Choices of Kansas is here to support you during this time and has several wonderful and experienced staff members who can help you process and resolve whatever issues your adoption journey may bring.
When to Seek Help for Adoption Emotions
Whether you are just beginning your adoption journey, or your child was placed several years ago, these complicated and powerful feelings can surface at any time. However, certain points along your journey might be more likely to trigger specific feelings. It’s important that you seek help through professional counseling if you find these feelings to be disruptive to your daily life.
When you first discover you are pregnant, you may experience denial. Anxiety builds as your future suddenly becomes less certain. When the initial shock wears off and you accept your situation, you start to weigh the pros and cons of the options you have which can be a stressful process. Even when you choose to place your child for adoption and decide on the type of adoption to pursue, it is natural for you to experience doubt and hesitation along the way.
As your pregnancy becomes more visible, you might worry about facing judgement from others and being stigmatized. Even those who mean well may not fully understand what you are going through which can be isolating. Despite the challenges you face through your pregnancy, you may start to feel attached to your developing baby upon feeling his or her first kicks for the first time which may complicate your feelings about giving him or her up.
Even if you felt mentally prepared to follow through with the adoption process leading up to birth, seeing or hearing your baby for the first time might put things in a new and uncomfortable light. At this stage, you may be grieving the loss of your child to another family and a loss of your motherhood. These feelings may be raw and intense at first and, for some mothers, this sense of loss may even be traumatizing. You also may be at risk for Postpartum Depression (PPD), which may be exacerbated by the challenging feelings you are already experiencing at this time. It is imperative that you seek professional help if you are showing signs of PPD as it can potentially be life-threatening in some cases.
Though the intensity of the initial feelings of loss and grief subsides with time, you still might go through difficult periods in the years to come. For example, your child’s birthday may be hard for you to get through. Holidays or life milestones, such as your child’s first day of school, could also trigger feelings of loss and regret, depending on how much contact you have with your child after placement. Future pregnancies may trigger painful memories, or not having any additional children might make the loss of your child more difficult to face.
Methods of Healing after Adoption
No matter what you are going through, be assured that there are several options to help facilitate your journey of healing as a birth mother, and that Adoption Choices of Kansas is well-equipped to guide you through these and other options.
As a birth mother navigating the grieving process, you may benefit from attending therapy sessions. What’s wonderful about therapy is that there are so many ways to go about it. You can have one-on-one sessions with a licensed professional who can help you identify, understand, and articulate your feelings so that they become more tangible and easier to resolve.
There are several forms of therapy that you can explore with your therapist so that your healing process can be tailored to your needs. Among the most common methods of therapy are: crisis intervention, solution-focused brief therapy, person centered therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and narrative therapy. On the other hand, group therapy may give you an opportunity to witness how others are working through their struggles which may offer some insights as to how you can heal.
Joining a support group can provide a sense of community with those who share similar experiences to your own. Meeting birth mothers at various stages of their own adoption journeys can give you perspective that might be difficult to find elsewhere. Being among individuals who understand what you’re going through, in a way most other people can’t, brings you out of isolation and into a safe place where you can build bonds with others through giving and receiving support.
Going on a Retreat:
Sometimes, you just need to mentally escape so that you can recharge and face your problems more effectively. Taking a solo or group retreat can provide you with just that. The physical separation from your daily norms and stressors can bring a sense of serenity and pause that your mind and body crave. Retreating into nature can be especially therapeutic. Going on a retreat of any kind can help put your worries in perspective and make you realize that they don’t have to follow you wherever you go.
While there are many forms of structured methods to help guide you through difficult times, don’t forget to rely on your own personal network of friends and family. Simply finding refuge in the everyday empathy of others can be healing in its own right. Being vulnerable with those who care about you can strengthen your bonds with them as you develop a profound sense of trust with them. Since these individuals are already well integrated into your life, they can be a source of stability and normalcy you seek during this uncertain time in your life.
Getting the Adoption Support You Need
When you take advantage of the resources available to you, you are in a position to carve out a path to peace and closure no matter where you are on your adoption journey. There is no need for you to feel like you need to “tough it out” and face this struggle alone. After all, you’ve already demonstrated how tough you are by making one of the most selfless decisions a mother can make. Adoption Choices of Kansas is prepared to accommodate your healing process and affirm your choices.
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.