Adoption Birth Mother Trauma: Finding Your Way to Acceptance

by | Oct 9, 2020 | Birth Parent Blog

Woman experiencing after adoption birth mother traumaWith so many emotions to sort through and decisions to make, it’s hard to think about placing your child for adoption. It may feel like the most difficult thing to do in the world.

Birth mother grief is real, and for some women, it may be challenging to deal with. Others find that because they made their own adoption plan and the decisions surrounding their child, while there is some grief, remaining an active part of their child’s life and story makes this hard decision one that they can own and be proud of.

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In fact, many women who have chosen adoption say that it is the best choice they could have made for their child.

No matter where you are, remember this: You are not alone. Many girls and women have walked the path you are on right now.

Birth Mother Trauma in History

History shows us that far too many women in the old days (before the 1980s) felt birth mother trauma. This resulted from how things were in times when women’s rights were less than they are now. Women had no choices in regards to their adoption, and certainly no opportunity for ongoing contact.

For example, many mothers don’t remember their babies’ birth or the signing of the adoption papers. Some were forced into adoption because of the shame that being pregnant meant for them, their families, or their churches.

Many never recovered from this birth mother trauma. They were sent away for the birth. After the baby’s birth, they did not know where their child was, if it lived or died, or if it was a boy or a girl. What these women felt was trauma, which is not normal adoption grief. It came mainly from the fact that these women had no say in the adoption plan or adoption process. They were often told to just “get over it.”

Modern Open Adoptions

Adoption is much different now. The pregnant mother makes every decision for her adoption plan. And with open domestic adoptions, she chooses the parents for her son or daughter. She can make a plan to visit and keep up with the life of their child as he or she grows with their adoptive family.

Women today have the power and the right to choose their own adoption plan. They have the right to watch their baby have a good life and a loving adoptive family. At Lifetime, we’ve seen it happen many times.

That’s really it — grief and trauma in a nutshell. It’s important to know and understand the difference and the history behind them.

You may still think about your baby often. No one would expect you to make a decision to place your baby for adoption without going back and forth, wondering if it is or was the right thing to do.

We understand. Since 1986, Lifetime Adoption has been helping women from all walks of life put together an adoption plan.

Birth mother grieving her loss talks on the phone to a counselor

Birth Mother Grief

Adoption is, at best, a bittersweet choice. Women choose adoption because they want more for their babies than they can provide right now. It is a decision made in love.

However, with that decision can come sorrow. Grieving is a normal part of the process. You may feel it no matter how sure you are that adoption is the best choice for you and your baby.

Even today, expectant mothers who think about putting their baby up for adoption often face pressure from close family members or the birth father. Even distant family and friends may hear the news and offer their opinions. It can be hard to know what’s right for you.

You are only human, after all. Placing a child for adoption means you will feel loss or grief. These feelings may return on important days, like your child’s birthday. Women may also feel unworthy of a happy life for themselves. Or like they are damaged or a bad mother. Some women who have placed their babies for adoption have a hard time being around kids.

All of these feelings are normal. And with time, there can be healing and acceptance — even happiness!

Adoption Support

You can find help and acceptance from support groups of women who have been through the adoption experience. These groups can come from anywhere: caring adoption agencies like Lifetime, birth parents who have been through adoption, even the adoptive families themselves.

We have a wonderful network of support for our birth mothers. This includes counseling, referrals, and other kinds of adoption support. You can even learn from women who have already made the adoption journey just like the one you’re beginning.

This can be very helpful for mental health and for coping with grief after adoption.

What’s Next?

For now, please look over the information on our website. All our services are provided free of charge for pregnant mothers. We have so many great blog posts and other resources that will help you make sense of it all.

Remember: You and only you are in control of your adoption plan and the adoption experience itself.

Finding your way to acceptance is a process. Just know that many, many women have made the decision to place a baby for adoption. Ask for the help you need. At Lifetime, we are always here for you.

Placing your child for adoption is a loving choice. If you would like to speak with a caring adoption expert who will tell you about all your options and never pressure you, Lifetime is ready when you are.

What questions do you have about adoption? How can we help you? Don’t be afraid to reach out right away by calling or texting Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784. We promise you’ll start to feel better once you have a caring and experienced adoption professional to talk to.

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Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston

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