When an adoption counselor meets with expectant parents about making an adoption plan, the plan should not stop once the baby is born and placed in the arms of the adoptive parents. A common complaint from birthparents across the country is that once the placement happened and life goes back to the way it was, the birthmother falls apart.
The goal at A Act of Love Adoptions is to help birthparents through the pregnancy, placement and beyond. Counseling sessions during pregnancy include post-partum discussions. Part of this is to help birthparents understand some of the emotions they are going to move through and how to cope with those feelings. It is also to help birthparents identify their goals, dreams and hopes for their future. Many are choosing to place their babies for adoption because of the current situation they are in. Through counseling, they explore the possibilities ahead. They are encouraged to keep a journal and write down their goals.
One birthmother who recently placed her baby described her first month post placement. She said she had placed so much emphasis on the pregnancy and birth that it was difficult to get right back into the life she had pre-pregnancy. So, she gave herself a little time to grieve. But, she said she was careful not to be stagnant, so as not to give herself too much time to constantly dwell on her placement. She said that she took baby steps that first month. She would do something each day to improve her situation, even if it was just reading positive thoughts or poems. Gradually, she enrolled in school and geared herself up for the day when school would start. She felt that this helped her in her grieving process and that she had time to go through that process before she threw herself back into life.
For others, children and jobs may be waiting the minute they return from the hospital. This is something they cannot ignore or avoid. It is important to take a little time each day for yourself and for some reflection. Whether it is a walk around the block at lunchtime, or thirty minutes after the kids are put to bed, take the time to write down your thoughts and feelings and if needed, let yourself have a good cry. Letting yourself experience the emotion you will feel, as it comes, is healthy and productive in becoming emotionally strong from your experience. If you have a friend or family member you can confide in, ask them if they will let you talk to them on a regular basis and get your feelings out. Sometimes just talking to someone who will listen makes you feel a lot better.
Remember to be nice to yourself. Don’t expect yourself to be 100% right away. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting back to work, school or home duties. Tell yourself you did a good job that day for all you accomplished. Keep putting one foot in front of the other with the goals you made during your pregnancy. Keep track of your progress toward those goals, even if it’s very simple steps and allow yourself to feel a little pride in taking the steps in that direction.
As you move further out from your placement, set dates to achieve your goals. For instance, I’d like to get my CNA certificate by December 2016. You can set a goal for just about anything in your life. I’d like to quit smoking completely by July 1, 2015. Let your pregnancy and placement be the beginning of a new and improved YOU! You know now that you can do hard things! Continue on that path of being a strong person with great goals.