help with adoption

Birthmother Grief – Processing Grief After Adoption

Sadness and grief are normal and you are not alone

giving a baby up for adoptionProcessing grief after giving a baby up for adoption is frequently challenging.  Grief may come as a surprise to you.  It is unexpected because, after all, you put a great deal of thought into the adoption process beforehand.  You probably feel certain you are doing the right thing.  So why are you feeling so sad?  Grief can come on at unexpected times.  Some women feel the saddest before the baby is born, and some women don’t feel sad until weeks after delivery.  I know one birth mother who felt sad looking at pictures of the adoptive family with the baby.

You may also be surprised and confused about the sadness, thinking that it might mean you have regrets.  However, many women describe the feeling as heartbreaking “but I never felt I was doing the wrong thing.  I never felt regret for giving a baby up for adoption.”

It’s important to honor your feelings, especially the sadness, grief, and loss.  Allowing it into your life will make it so much easier to overcome. When you are afraid of it, when you run from it, the grief can become larger than life. Remember that many of the most important decisions in our lives involve difficult choices. We cannot shut out grief and still hope to live a happy, productive life. Although the process of grieving may not be easy, working through loss will help you experience all emotions more fully, including those that are positive and joyous.

It’s also important to remember that what you feel is normal and that you are not alone. These two factors can help more than anything else. Don’t deny your own feelings; sadness is a normal part of life. Denying our feelings of sadness makes it more difficult to experience joy as well. It is up to you to process the grief and strive for inner peace.  Giving a baby up for adoption can be difficult, but support is not far away!

Talk with someone who’s been there or has experience with adoption.

grief over giving a baby up for adoption

I am a birth mother and I am available anytime to talk with you about my experiences.  I’m also a great listener if you just need a sounding board.  If you want, I can put you in touch with other birth mothers and resources for birth mothers.  That said, if you are having difficulty sorting through these feelings about giving a baby up for adoption, consider grief counseling.  This is a very specific counseling that involves identifying and processing feelings.  A good counselor will also teach you skills and give you tools to work through feelings on your own.  Contact me today for referrals.

How to identify post-partum depression and post-traumatic stress disorders

Unresolved grief can cause you difficulty in other areas of your life.   It can interfere with romantic relationships, those with your own parents, friendships and your ability to work productively and remain focused. If you are having trouble functioning in any number of ways, it could be that denial of your own grief is getting in your way.

Post-partum depression

For most birth mothers, it takes time to process the grief and some of it will always resurface over the years, just as our grief over other losses does. Post-partum depression can be a problem for any woman shortly after delivery, not just birth mothers.  Some women find that the sadness puts them in a funk, that they aren’t enjoying the activities they used to enjoy or they have a hard time getting out of bed.  If this sounds like you, it could be post-partum depression.  Don’t wait to talk to your doctor!  You don’t have to suffer after giving a baby up for adoption.  Click here to learn more about the signs for post-partum depression.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, making an adoption plan, then leaving the hospital without your baby can be a traumatic experience.  It’s usually easier for an outside person, a loved one or your doctor, to identify the symptoms of PTSD.  Ask someone you trust, especially your doctor, to be on the lookout for this for you.  Click here to learn more about the signs for PTSD. 

Some final thoughts

Sadness can be a very lonely place.  If you don’t allow yourself to experience and process these emotions, they can have an impact on your life moving forward. Sadness and grief can also be scary emotions, so don’t try to process them on your own if you feel you need support.  Contact me today if you need my help finding that support.  And remember, you aren’t during difficult choices

Contact Us

Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption for your baby? I can help. You can send me your questions about adoption or ask me to send you more information. Your communication with me is always confidential, and you’re never under any obligation to do an adoption. I’m here to help, not to pressure you or tell you what to do.


Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

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