How to Find a New Normal After Giving Birth
Are you worried about what life will look like after your child is officially placed for adoption? Maybe you have already given birth to your child and are having a difficult time finding a new routine and sense of normalcy in your life. After all, you just experienced a major loss that can take some time to heal. Processing your grief in these early stages can feel overwhelming and tremendously difficult, but it is possible to regain your life back in the aftermath of losing a child to adoption.
If you’re ready to find a new sense of normalcy in your daily life without your child by your side, you need to start focusing on supporting yourself. For many birth mothers, this can be a monumental task that feels impossible at first. With a few of these simple steps, you can quickly start out on the path toward healing from the loss of your child.
Find ways to talk about the child.
One of the best ways to find a new normal after giving birth is to find ways to talk about your child. It can be unhealthy to keep all of your emotions stored up inside of you, trying to pretend that your child doesn’t exist. Instead, look for opportunities where you can naturally share some of your story and information about your child in casual conversation. This might feel difficult to manage at first, but it will get easier over time.
Sharing more information about your child also lets other people know that it is okay to talk about your adoption openly. While you may need to place some boundaries on these conversations, it is a great starting point to help you find a place for your child in your daily life. You can honor your own difficult decision to place your child for adoption by prominently displaying your love for them with your friends and family members.
Set up boundaries with the people in your life.
In the first few weeks and months after giving birth, talking about your adoption might be extremely difficult for you. This is a normal experience that does get easier over time. However, it is not a time where you want your close friends and family members to question your decisions or encourage you to “take your child back” from the adoptive family. Set up clear boundaries with the people close to you, letting them know which topics are and are not okay to discuss in the moments after your birth. Doing this in advance can spare you from having many difficult talks with these people and worsening your grieving process.
Establish safe people that you can talk to.
Some people simply aren’t going to be supportive of your decision to place the child for adoption, no matter what you might say to them. Begin to make a list of who these people are not supportive and do your best to avoid them directly after giving birth. These people may intentionally or unintentionally make you feel worse about your decision to place the child for adoption in a loving home.
Instead, you should seek out safe people who are supportive of your decision to make an adoption plan for the child. Make plans to meet with these people on a more regular basis for coffee or lunch. Try to surround yourself with encouraging people who can allow you to talk freely about what you are experiencing without judgment.
Seek out professional help.
Being able to rely on your friends and family members to support you during this difficult season is very important. However, many people find that they need an even greater level of support and counseling to achieve true healing. Remember that there is no shame in seeking out professional help to give you the tools that you need to cope with your grief. Many local adoption agencies have therapists and counselors on staff to help you in these tender months following the birth of your child.
Take full advantage of all the resources available to you for additional support while you try to find this new sense of normal. Attend counseling sessions, look for support groups for birth parents in your local area, or frequent some online forums that are created specifically for birth mothers. The options for support are practically endless when you know what you are looking for.
Practice doing things you enjoy fully.
Do you have a hobby that you love to do that has been placed on the back burner for a period of time? Now is the time to seek out those hobbies that allow you to fully enjoy yourself for a brief period of time. Pull out your paintbrushes, dig out your running shoes, or sharpen your pencil for a bit of journaling. No matter what your main hobby is, you need to practice doing something for yourself that you can fully enjoy.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t feel guilty about not being consumed with your grief for this brief moment in time. Rather, it is completely healthy and normal to focus your attention on other things for a while.
Talk with the adoptive parents about setting up visits that suit you.
Many birth parents believe that they can benefit from having as many visits as possible with their child. However, once the child is here and they are struggling with their grief, they may find that they need a little more separation from the painful decision that they had to make. Talk openly with the adoptive parents about setting up visits that suit you and your emotional state. You can always make a decision to change the frequency of the visits back to the original plan later on after you have had some time to heal.
Finding a new normal after giving birth can be extraordinarily difficult, but it starts by taking just one step at a time. Consider practicing a few of these activities or setting them in place before you give birth to give you all of the support that you need. Healing and regaining control of your life is possible, but it will take time. Hopefully, these steps will give you the space that you need to start taking the first steps in this healing process.