A friend from church might be having too much contact with her baby. She made an adoption plan for her daughter who was born a couple months ago. She is struggling, hanging by a thread, she says. We had lunch yesterday, and she told me the adoptive family texts her pictures all the time, comes to her home to visit, and invites her to come to church with them and the baby. My friend has long crying episodes when the visits are over. I told her I think she’s having too much contact with the baby. She went really quiet after I said that and our lunch ended abruptly. Now she doesn’t seem interested in getting together again. My question is how to know what advice I should or shouldn’t give my friend. – E.K.
First let me say that you are a wonderful friend to be there for her. She’s lucky to have you. Many people feel so uncomfortable with these situations that they avoid them altogether, making the birth mother feel even more alone and isolated. It’s hard to know how much contact is too much contact, but here are some of my thoughts.
Be patient and don’t give unsolicited advice
My suggestion is to save your advice for when she asks for it specifically. Your friend needs to decide if she’s having too much contact with her baby. Your job is to just listen and encourage her to do all the talking. You can say supportive things like how sorry you are for her loss and happy happy you are to be there for her in whatever way she needs. She will need to muddle through this in her own way and needs friends and family to support that process whatever it looks like. The first 8 weeks are excruciating and it’s hard to know if the contact is helping or is too much contact. Again, this is up to your friend. Her emotions will be all over the place. Just be patient with her.
Get her out of the house and don’t forget her on Mother’s day
What she also needs from you right now is unconditional support. So, continue to spend time with her, getting her out of the house for lunch, or a movie, or a walk. This can be super helpful. If she doesn’t have a journal, this might be a nice gift so she can write everything down. Remember, too, that the first year is the hardest. Don’t forget her on Mother’s day and baby’s birthday. All you have to do is send her a text or email and just tell her you’re thinking of her. She’ll know what you mean.
Don’t worry too much about whether your friend is having too much contact with her baby. Just be a good listener and be supportive. Being there for her means a lot to her, whether she tells you this or not. She’s lucky to have a friend like you, someone who has her best interest at heart and doesn’t give up on her. Best of luck to you! Megan