For many families, Mother’s Day usually means flowers, brunch, and extra love for those who are called “mom.” For expectant and new birth moms, however, it can be a bit more complicated. There are many mixed emotions that come with the day dedicated to mothers.
For expectant mothers, Mother’s Day may bring up confusing feelings regarding the adoption plan. New birth mothers may also feel overwhelmed on Mother’s Day, as it can amplify the feelings of loss and grief.
If you are an expectant/birth mother who is anticipating your first Mother’s Day, read on. Adoptions With Love can help you navigate this challenging, but also very special, time. We will share ideas that can help make this Mother’s Day a positive day for you.
Honor Your Journey
Whether you are a birth mother or expectant mother, it is important to recognize that adoption is a brave, selfless, and loving decision. Although making an adoption plan likely brought you some mixed feelings, you were able to make the best possible decision for your baby. Only a loving mother can make this decision and put her child’s best interests before her own. You have chosen to give your baby a life beyond what you can provide this time. For this, you deserve the utmost respect and care.
This Mother’s Day, take time to recognize the strength and love that poured into your adoption decision. The decision may have been difficult, but at the time, it was also the best possible choice you could make for your baby’s future. You deserve to be celebrated this Mother’s Day, too.
One birth mother at AWL encourages you to recognize your journey as a mother. “I think the most helpful thing I ever heard or said on the subject was that no matter what choice you make — whether you raise your child yourself or choose adoption — you still gave birth to them, and that makes you a mother. Being a birth mother doesn’t make you less of a mother than a woman who raises her own child, or less of a mother than a woman who adopts. You are all mothers, and being different kinds of mothers is okay.”
2. Check In with the Adoptive Family
New birth mothers may feel a bit isolated and lonely in the days leading up to Mother’s Day. One way to cope is by reaching out to your child’s adoptive parents. Checking in with your child’s adoptive family can give you a sense of connection. Thanks to open adoption, ongoing contact between birth parents and adoptive parents is quite common. In fact, most adoptions today are open.
Years ago, open adoption was not the norm. Most adoptions were considered “closed adoptions” once finalized in court. This means that adopted children were given very little information about their birth parents, if given the simple fact that they were adopted at all. Most did not meet their birth parents, unless they tracked them down later in life. Today, only 5 percent of adoptions are closed, while 95 percent of adoptions are open or semi-open adoption plans. Open adoption has many benefits for the child, as well as the birth mother.
Open adoption is different for everyone. Some birth mothers keep in touch via email, phone calls, or in-person visits. Others exchange letters and pictures. If you are in the process of making an adoption plan with your agency, know that you can determine the frequency and form in which you communicate with your child’s adoptive family.
If you are a birth mother with an open adoption, consider checking in with the family on – or just before – Mother’s Day. If you do not have an open adoption, but desire an update of your child, ask your adoption agency for guidance. Adoptions With Love receives letters and photos from adoptive families regularly, and keeps them on file for birth mothers when they are ready. Receiving an update from your child’s adoptive family can help you feel connected and bring some light to your day.
One birth mother shared with AWL about her last Mother’s Day: “When I was feeling down around this time last year, I asked for pictures of my daughter or just had a conversation with my adoptive mom asking if anything new has happened, how their weekend was… little things to put a smile on my face!”
3. Check In with Your Support System
Whether you have an open adoption or closed adoption, you may consider reaching out to a professional for some support this time of year. As a birth mother, you may also consider speaking with other women who have made an adoption plan.
Professional therapists and counselors provide an essential service to anyone struggling with emotional or mental health challenges. Speaking with a friend or family member can bring comfort, but the experience of an adoption counselor may be the most helpful path to take. A third party can offer a lending ear and practical advice without judgment or bias.
At Adoptions With Love, expectant/birth mothers are always met with respect, compassion, and understanding. We are here to help you throughout this adoption journey – which is a lifelong experience. That is why our counseling services are always free to expectant/birth moms, long after the adoption is complete.
Additionally, Adoptions With Love hosts a birth mother support group for women who have chosen adoption. This allows birth mothers to come together, relate to one another, and talk about their experiences. One birth mother describes:
“This birth moms group has been so amazing. It’s this whole group of women who literally know what you went through, and how weird the adoption process sometimes is, and how complicated your emotions get, and are on that same rollercoaster ride of emotions you are. And they truly understand, and don’t try to insert their opinions into your story. They don’t tell you what you should do or judge what you’ve done. They just let you share your life, and they share theirs, and there’s a mutual understanding. So they’re who I talk to mostly. About relationships, about our kids, about our kids’ families, and most of all our emotions on all those subjects.”
4. Check In with Yourself
Mother’s Day is a good time for self-reflection and “me time.” The first Mother’s Day can be the hardest, and it is important to show yourself some love. Whether you have already placed your child with adoption, or you are in the midst of planning, you are a strong, selfless, devoted mother. You have decided to put your child’s needs before your own, and you have ensured that this child will have a life full of stability, opportunity, and love.
Brittney, a birth mother, says, “The best advice I think I could give to other birth mothers is try to think of the positives on this day. I know for some it can be very emotional, but just think to yourself how you and the child will always share a special bond and be a part of each other. The day shouldn’t be about grieving your decision, but knowing you did what was right for the child and that even though you aren’t their mother figure, you are a special person to them in more ways than one.”
As you honor this Mother’s Day, do something special for yourself. Whether you take a walk along a sandy beach, spend the day with friends, or curl up on the sofa watching your favorite feel-good rom-com, you should take the time to do something that makes you happy. Afterall, you are the person who made a loving decision to place your child with their adoptive family.
To read more birth mothers’ advice on Mother’s Day, click here.
Adoption is a sacrifice that requires a mother’s strength, bravery, and most of all, love. Adoption creates families. Whether you are a birth mom who needs someone to talk to, are considering adoption for your baby, or would like to adopt, please contact Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731.