The holidays are coming up, and these can be fun and festive times. They can also be hard times that leave some feeling lonely.
For many expectant mothers, this is a difficult time since the holidays are often centered on children. So if you find yourself struggling during this season and with its traditions, you’re not alone.
Staying positive, healthy, and active is going to be important, especially now.
When you are pregnant and planning an adoption, you may not want to do the same things you have always done for Christmas. This year, big holiday parties are not advised for anyone anyway. Hopefully, your friends and family support your adoption plans. If they are not, then perhaps limit your time with them. This may be a good time to do some self-reflection about your adoption plan; remember your “why.”
Birth mother and author Adrian C. Collins describes finding your “why”: “[I’d] wonder how I’d ever survive the holidays without my daughter in my arms. During these moments of agony, I’d find a quiet spot and reflect on my decision to make an adoption plan. I had to remember my “Why.” Why did I place my child for adoption? What were my motivating factors? For me, the answers were clear: 1) I wanted the best life for my child. 2) I loved my child unconditionally. When I am swamped with self-doubt and regret, I have to hold onto my reason, my “Why.”
It’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re missing out during this time. While many birth mothers dread the holidays, there are a few ways you can get through the season. These holiday activities have helped many birth mothers remain positive during this time. We hope that you get a chance to try one of these activities and that it’ll help you, too!
Go window shopping
Even during the pandemic, a nice stroll to view the holiday window displays will bring joy. It will give you a little pregnancy-safe exercise at the same time.
See the lights
Go out and drive around town and view all the beautiful Christmas lights. They can’t help but put a smile on your face.
Write a letter
Start a tradition of writing a letter to your child every holiday season. You can even start before they are born. One day your child will read this and know that you loved them from the very beginning and wanted the very best life for them.
Talk with the adoptive family
If you have chosen adoptive parents for your child, reach out during the holidays. Ask what their traditions are so you can envision how happy your child will be taking part. This would be a good time to ask them if you could start a special holiday tradition, such as sending a letter to your child for them to read. Depending on what type of agreement you’ve reached about contact, you might ask them to send you a Christmas picture every year.
Write down your goals
The New Year is coming up. Make specific plans for next year. What would you like to accomplish? Do you want to further your education? Would you like a new job? Think about where you would like to see yourself by the end of next year and then plan how to get there. Write down the specific actions you need to take to make those dreams come true.
Don’t hold your feelings in. If you feel anxious, happy, sad, or all of the above, talk to a supportive friend or family member. If you don’t feel you have someone you can spill it all to, call your adoption coordinator. She is here to listen to you, and if you like, will put you in touch with a professional counselor or peer counselor that knows exactly what you are going through.
For many of the mothers we’ve helped, the holidays sometimes emphasize some of the reasons they are thinking about, or choosing, adoption. We’re here for you, whether you have questions or just need to talk. Call or text our 24-hour hotline.
Most importantly, take care of yourself this holiday season. You are a hero to your child so treat yourself like one. Take time to treat yourself, even if it is just a long bath or an extra Christmas cookie.
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.