Adoptions With Love Blog

How Does It Feel to Give Your Baby Up for Adoption? Emotions to Expect

Making an adoption plan for a child is a brave, loving, and selfless decision.  It is not “giving up” your baby.  It is making a thoughtful and difficult choice.  It is also a decision that brings up many different and complicated emotions. If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy and you are considering adoption, you may be feeling a mix of emotions at once. That is okay. Your feelings are real and valid. You are not alone.

The feelings that arise after discovering an unplanned pregnancy, and throughout the adoption process, can be quite challenging. While you may know that adoption is the best path for you and your baby, you may be struggling with this choice. Adoption brings up a range of feelings, questions, and concerns for expectant/birth mothers, and everyone handles them differently. Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two adoption journeys are the same.

Adoptions With Love supports expectant/birth mothers by offeringlegal, financial, and medical assistance throughout the adoption journey. We also offer emotional support and counseling, both during and after pregnancy. We understand the significant emotional impact that comes with placing a child with adoption. Everyone’s situation is different.

There is certainly no “right” or “wrong” way for expectant/birth parents to feel when i making an adoption plan for their child.   There are some  emotions that birth mothers have expressed while going through the process.

Women today who are considering making an adoption plan often ask us about “giving baby up for adoption emotions.”

Making an adoption plan for a baby is a positive choice. It allows you to give your child a happy life in a safe, stable, and loving home. Like loss due to death, many expectant/birth mothers report experiencing the seven stages of grief. Read on, as we explore  the emotions you may experience as you contemplate and make an adoption plan for your baby.  . These emotions are not listed in any  order,  you may experience any one of them at any time, or you may not experience certain emotions listed at all. These emotions do get better over time.

  1. Shock

Shock is a very common feeling many women experience when they first learn of their pregnancy. It is that jaw-dropping moment, when you find yourself in a circumstance that you never expected to face in that moment of time.

  1. Denial

A common emotion to arise shortly after learning you are pregnant is denial. Many women who are caught off guard by a pregnancy will think, “No, that test must be wrong. I cannot really be pregnant.” It is important to confirm your pregnancy with a clinician.

This feeling of denial can happen at many points throughout the pregnancy, as you may feel like you cannot believe this is happening to you. You never planned to experience this pregnancy, and you never expected to have to face this life-changing decision. It is important, however, to acknowledge these feelings, let go of the denial, so you can continue to move forward.

  1. Fear

For many expectant/birth mothers, the idea of an unexpected pregnancy is scary. There are many reasons that fear is such a common feeling throughout pregnancy. You may fear the changes happening to your body. You may fear childbirth. You may also grow insecure and fearful of what will happen after birth. Thoughts may arise, such as: “How will I feel after the birth? Will I regret my adoption decision?” As your pregnancy progresses, you may also struggle with the idea of your child living in another family’s home.

These fears are all normal and valid. This is what makes an expectant/birth mother so courageous. Your brave act comes from a place of love and thoughtfulness. One way to cope with your fears is to speak with a professional counselor. The counselors at Adoptions With Love have been working with expectant/birth mothers since 1986. Their experience, care, and compassion can help you work through your fears and your biggest concerns surrounding the adoption process. They can help you make a caring, loving, and open adoption plan for your baby.

  1. Anger

It is normal to feel anger and resentment upon discovering you are unexpectedly pregnant. Sometimes, the frustrations can relate to the father of the baby. It can also, at times, be misdirected toward others in your life and even your adoption specialist.

Being angry about your circumstances is quite common. It is helpful to find healthy ways to express your anger. It is also important to speak with an adoption counselor who can help you work through this difficult time.

  1. Sadness/Depression

Everyone experiences depression from time-to-time, facing an unplanned pregnancy  can often bring about a deeper sense of sadness.

Depression during pregnancy – also known as prenatal depression – and postpartum depression are very common. For birth mothers experiencing postpartum depression, the struggles can linger due to the sense of loss and grief in addition to hormonal changes in the body after having given birth.

It is important to keep in contact with your adoption specialist or another mental health professional throughout your pregnancy and after the adoption is complete.

  1. Guilt

Many  mothers experience guilt. Some expectant/birth mothers struggle with feeling guilty, especially right after “giving a baby up for adoption.” The notion that you have “given up” your child to another family, however, is not true. Adoption is anything but “giving up.” In fact, it is a brave and selfless act that puts your child’s needs before your own. This takes love and thoughtfulness to do, and it is one of the greatest decisions a mother can make for her baby.

While you may know, in your head, that adoption is the best choice for you and your child, it can be hard to shake the feelings of guilt that you experience. This is another emotion that your adoption specialist can help you work out.

  1. Acceptance

Acceptance is a very peaceful emotion that many expectant/birth mothers work to achieve over time. It may be difficult to reach the acceptance phase of your adoption journey, but trust that it will happen. This is often considered the final phase of grief after placing a baby for adoption, but adoption is a lifelong journey. It is not a sprint with a clear-cut finish line. You will experience a range of emotions, in any order, at any time throughout your life.

  1. Comfort and Peace of Mind

There is no underestimating the complex emotions that come with placing your baby for adoption. It is important to know, however, that not all the emotions are negative. Many birth mothers express feeling hope and joy after they accept their adoption decision. They feel comforted to watch their baby settle in, and grow up in, a safe and loving home. They have great peace of mind knowing their child is loved and supported, with a family that they chose. Through open adoption, birth mothers can benefit from seeing how their child is doing over the years. Some birth mothers say that open adoption brings the greatest peace of mind, and that they are comforted and inspired by the photographs and letters shared by their adoptive family. This makes them feel that they in fact made the right decision.


These are some common examples of the emotions you may cope with as you make an adoption plan for your child. Over time, you may find that you experience many happy emotions, as well, as you receive joyful updates on your child’s development and life experiences.

Adoptions With Love can help guide you through the many adoption emotions that you may experience. Our services are always free to expectant/birth mothers. Contact us any time of day, any day of the week by calling 800-722-7731, texting 617-777-0072, or contacting us online.