Question: “I’m 17 and 7 months pregnant. I don’t have a decent job or support from my parents or the father of the baby. So, I’m doing adoption. I found a couple who are so nice and will adopt my baby. They’ll be able to really spoil her, and give her everything she needs and wants.
But, I’m having second thoughts. When I lie awake at night thinking, and she’s kicking me…I just start crying, thinking about giving her to someone else is really hard. Someone else holding her, going to another mom when she cries, someone else calling her their baby, not mine.
Will I be able to hold her at the hospital, or will they just take her away? I know I have to give her up in adoption, for a better life. Am I just being totally selfish with my thoughts and feelings? What’s the best way to get a grip and move past something this big, without literally going nuts?”
You have the right to spend as much time as you wish with your baby in the hospital after you give birth. Some birth mothers want the adoptive parents to experience the birth themselves as much as they can, and bring them into the process. For example, they might ask one of the adoptive parents to cut the umbilical cord, be the first to hold the baby, and start the bonding process right after their baby is born.
Others decide they’d like to spend as much time as possible with their baby so that they can say goodbye. This can help with the healing process because it’s hard to say goodbye to someone if you haven’t first said hello. Spending time with your baby, holding her, and talking to her can help with the healing process.
This can such be such a difficult time, especially if you don’t have support at home. Your feelings are real, and your emotions can’t be ignored, or they’ll come up later in life. You want to work through this and find support from those who can help you. Lifetime can connect you with a woman who’s chosen to make an adoption plan for her baby (also called a “birth mother.”) She has been where you are right now, so she totally knows what you’re going through. You can talk on the phone with her, text, or email back and forth.
It is normal to think about the “what if’s” and this makes it harder. Most women with an unplanned pregnancy just aren’t ready to be a mom, yet. So, don’t be so hard on yourself. Adoption is a big decision, and not everyone can go through with an adoption plan. It has to be your decision. It sounds like you’ve done lots of thinking and are still struggling with the idea of someone else being her mom instead of you.
What are your plans for the future? If you have a goal for your future, you’ll have some hope and direction to look forward to. Your pain and sadness won’t go away, but it does help by filling your time while you’re healing. If you don’t have a plan for after your baby is born, start thinking about what you’d like to do with your life. Maybe it’s college…there are birth mother scholarships available. You can go to LifetimeFoundation.org for more info.
Lifetime also recommends that you speak with a counselor to sort out the feelings you’re having. You can speak to a licensed counselor at no cost; just call Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784 to get connected. It’s also a good idea to talk more with the adoptive parents you chose, to get to know them better.
Whatever decision you end up making, it has to be your choice and the best choice for you and your daughter. Take time to get the help and support you need now before you give birth. Think about your future, and the future you desire for your child.
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.