If you reading this, you are probably a birthmother, who is experiencing grief after adoption. If you’re not, you may know someone suffering from birthmother grief, whether or not acknowledged openly by that person.
Maybe you are an adoptive parent or prospective parent, who wants to learn more about what birthmothers go through, shortly after they place a child, and even many years after they have done so. I believe you will find quite a bit of useful information on this site… whether in the Adoption Sections or the General Life Coaching Sections.
I am going to level with you from the get-go. Those who know me, know that I always do. I wouldn’t know any other way to conduct my relationships and interactions, whether on a personal or professional level.
I am not a birthmother who has placed a baby or child for adoption. I might easily have been one in my youth and indeed, came close to being in that position.
I won’t lie and say I have firsthand experience with birthmother grief, but I do have lots of experience. I have worked with quite a few birthmothers over the course of my many decades of being involved in the adoption community, and during my thirty or so years of running a non-profit adoption agency.
In my life coaching practice, it has given me great joy and satisfaction to work with, and to help women who have placed a child for adoption, whether it was six months ago, five years ago, or as was the case with one special client, over 60 long years ago. I know a lot about grief of all kinds, and I have learned that most professionals in the adoption field have been largely mistaken about long term effects on moms who placed kids for adoption.
The grief experienced by a birthmother who has placed a baby or child, is much like other types of grief over a big loss, whether through death or a loss of some other kind. People don’t just “get over it” and time doesn’t heal all wounds.
It isn’t that adoption professionals want to lie to birthmothers, but that is what most were taught in school. Perhaps in some cases it is also what adoption workers have needed or wanted to believe to make their jobs easier. The public’s perception of adoption is that it’s a wonderful and happy thing and it often is, but current knowledge and research has uncovered a lot of truth that was submerged for a long while.
Grief goes on, sometimes for life. It often recycles at other emotional or stressful times, even a very long while after the initial loss has occurred. If it is pushed down or denied, it often comes roaring up and may hurt more than it ever did before. Grief, whether identified as such or not, may be present not only in birthmothers, but in adopted kids, adopted adults and even in adoptive parents.
Even in the most wonderful, loving adoptive family, many adopted kids grow up with a sense of loss and of not fitting in. They may not always be able to name what they feel as kids, or sometimes even as adults. While most adoptive parents are thrilled to be able to adopt a child, some have unresolved feelings of loss about infertility, if that was the case, or perhaps about a baby or child who died, or about a fantasy child who is often very different in their heads from the beloved child they have adopted, because every child and every person is unique.
Adoption agencies generally provide some type of counseling for women planning to place children, or who have done so. I happen to know that many such women don’t return to the agency or service that helped with the placement. Sometimes they just want to “move on”.
Some women were not totally happy with the way the experience went and carry some anger and resentment. Sometimes they are just embarrassed and feel they “should” be moving along with their lives better than they are. They may feel there is something wrong with them because they have not gotten over their loss. There may be triggers in the lives of some birthmothers that bring back all of the sad and/or angry feelings they had when their children were first placed in adoption. At times, the feelings can be even more intense than they were at the time the child was placed.
The feelings may come screaming up at them if they have a subsequent child whom they keep and raise, or in later years if the child they placed is a teen or adult and comes looking for them. They may never have that child out of their minds for even a day. Some women, though, do all they can to try to “forget” and keep the adoptive placement a secret from the people in their lives. That alone can cause stress, pressure and even depression. It’s terribly hard to live with a secret that big and to do so for a very long time.
This site has some further info about this topic. I do hope you will go on to read it here. Counselors or therapists may help. However, if you do not feel you are dysfunctional in other areas of life and don’t wish to be labeled with a mental health diagnosis, that route might not be right for you.
A trained, experienced and compassionate life coach can also help you and can assist you in finding tools for coping and possibilities for taking action, if you want to, and are contemplating a search and/or reunion. There is no right way to feel and no one correct action. You will be helped to work through this and to figure out what is right for you.
You may wish to read the other pages on my site, and to schedule a free Discovery Session or Consultation with me. We will have an honest conversation without judgment or pressure. You can decide if you have been experiencing birth mother grief, and if life coaching and working with me is appropriate for you.
If you don’t know much about coaching, please also read the general info about it here on this site. Coaching is generally not covered by insurance, but I will do what I can to work out something acceptable to you if I possibly can, and if you ask me.
I look forward to speaking with you very soon. Our conversations are always confidential and I work primarily via phone sessions, so you don’t have to be in my local area. If you are ready to change your life and to invest in yourself, let’s talk. Please fill out a form on this page or email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
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