Birth Mom Sadness

When most adoptive parents think of their adopted child they only think of how beautiful it’s going to be. We think about how much we’re going to love this baby. We think of making Jell-O for them like our family used to make for us. We think of holding them, rocking them, laying them on our chest while we nap. What we don’t think of is what the birth parents might be going through.

I came across this article, “Learning to Ride the Waves of Birthmother Grief” on and I knew I had to share it. I have to admit, I never thought about what the birth parents might be experiencing emotionally. A particularly touching piece of the article reads:

People should be gentle with you, you need them to be, you’re still healing, but they don’t know they should be. So they don’t treat you any different and sometimes that hurts and you want to scream so they can see your insides out. To the naked eye, you are one of them; you wear long sleeves on your soul so no one can see the hurt, so no one knows. There’s a weight you carry — a sadness in your eyes that only some people will ever stop to truly see. And that will often remain with you for life.


I can’t lie. It really struck me like a hammer. I had assumed that if birth parents chose to give up their kid(s) for adoption it was because they knew that the child would have a more stable life or better opportunities or …… a more/better something and that’s why they made that choice. I guess it didn’t occur to me that though those things could be true it would also leave a devastating hole in their lives. She says:

There are times, and I have heard the same pitch of fear in many another new moms’ voice after relinquishment. There is a point when we admit that if you had known that it would be like this, then you would not have gone through with it. If we had only known, that it would be this bad, we might have rethought this whole adoption thing. It is THAT unbearable.

… and this is what adoptive parents are afraid of. Over the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking long and hard about whether to do a private adoption or go the foster-adopt route from the county. Reading this made me lean toward foster-adopt. Not only do I not want to be the one causing this kind of pain to anyone … I also don’t want to have to navigate an open adoption with such raw feelings. That may sound selfish, but aren’t we all negotiating this kind of stuff through the adoption process? Of course we care about the kids, but it’s also very much about the adults.

Question for birth parents: If you had to do it again … would you?


5 thoughts on “Birth Mom Sadness

  1. I would never, ever, ever do this again, I did not do this again. The wound still weeps for me and it’s been 28 very long years. I have borne three other children and raised them, and with those births it hit me again, like a tidal wave, all that I had missed, all that I would never know with my first child. All the grief washed over me again and again and again, three times. But, it wasn’t just those births that made me relive it, it’s breathing every single day, waking to find myself still un-mothered, still not good enough for my own flesh and blood. Still not who and what I was meant to be. Coercion played a huge part in my loss, but I have to tell the truth and say it was also my own fault because I could not stand up for myself and my child. Because I was threatend and lied to, and so very hurt by my childs father when he abadoned us. I wish some days I had aborted, (and I don’t think abortion is a means of birth control! I don’t think that is ok- but…) it would have been easier to grieve and actually move on with my life. It would have been over, and done, and I while it would have hurt, it would have been OVER. As it is, it will never be over, I will never heal from thsi wound, not completely. It’s like a festering sore on my soul, that rips open and bleeds over and over again. I don’t want to be so negative here, I don’t want to tell you not to adopt, but if you really want to, do it from foster care, take a child who truly needs a home, a loving family and a stable life. Infant adoption in this country is so corrupt and so much about money, it is no longer about finding homes for children who need them, it is now about finding babies for people who want them.

  2. I would never, ever “choose” adoption had I known the hell that waited for me on the other side. The adoption of my son happened over 30 years ago; I was left with PTSD and an abhorrence to even the thought of ever becoming pregnant again and giving birth. Post-adoption, I viewed the normal and usually joyful states of pregnancy and the act of childbirth as the greatest torture possible, and I shunned the possibility of ever being subjected to such torture again. So I remain childless but am still a mother to a child, my child, who went on to be somebody else (and foreign to him, as he has acknowledged to me).

    I cannot see adoption as offering anything but pain to mothers and their children; adoption is based upon loss; losses for both mother and child that are life-long, and in my case and that of my child, lead to lifelong grief and pain.

  3. While I agree that there is corruption in adoption, it is certainly possible to work with ethical professionals.

    While there is loss in adoption, I do not believe it is all about loss for the children. Some infants need families just as much as children in foster care do. As difficult and painful as the decision was, my son’s birthmother made the right decision for him. She acknowledges it, her family acknowledges it, we see it.

    You have to be very careful about the people you work with, and that includes ensuring that expectant parents are truly counseled about all of their options. Adoption can be wonderful, even if it is painful. A paradox, I suppose.

  4. I think these feelings are some of the reason why open adoption is so big now. That way the biological parents and the children get to have a relationship. Also, there some kids that are orphans or are in dangerous homes that really do need a family. It’s a tough situation for all involved.

    Also, someone on an adoption board was talking about they felt that their mom didn’t love them because she kept two kids had one adopted. I wonder if the mom loved them so much that she saw the challenges that lie ahead and wanted something different: an opportunity.

    My mom kept me and we went through homelessness, sexual abuse, etc. I’m not saying it’s her fault but I wonder if she kept me because she was doing what was best for me or doing what was best for her.

  5. Oh please. If you choose to go forth and adopt though foster care rather than a private adoption based on words I have written.. then indeed, you have brought one small measure of healing to the pain. You have dried a tear on my cheek.
    Thank you for hearing me.

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