Talking about adoption is hard. It is one thing to decide that the best option for your baby is adoption, but another to believe that how you feel about your adoption decision is normal. There are lots of reasons why Expectant Moms consider placing for adoption. There is no one stereotype that they fit into, despite any movies you may have seen that feature a Birth Mother story. Even when you believe that all the reasons you have for putting your baby up for adoption are there, most Expectant Moms in this situation feel a lot of pre-placement shame about their decision. First and foremost, those feelings are normal. But it is important to talk about why they are there so you can decide if you have good reason to reconsider.
Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one and too often too many people want to stick them in someone else’s business. Our friends and family may believe their opinions about your life choices should have more room in your head than is warranted. Since most everyone has an opinion about literally everything, it is important to measure them against how you feel. Considering advice from a trusted friend or family member is great. Believing they know what you need better than you do is a mistake too many people make. But let’s get to the heart of the matter when it come to pre-placement shame about your adoption decision.
Pre-Placement Shame About Your Adoption Decision Comes In Many Forms
Many times, pre-placement shame feels like personal failure. The shame that comes when an Expectant Mother decides that her child being in someone else’s care is the best decision for them both is hard to shake. It is mostly hard because it feels like failure as a mother. Feeling like you have failed both yourself and your child in your adoption decision, while powerful, is not the best way to look at it. Women who fail at motherhood do not care that they are failing. They don’t consider what is best for their child. So an Expectant Mom who is considering adoption is not failing at all. She is putting the needs of her child ahead of her own. That is maternal sacrifice. Every good mother sacrifices for her child. It is just that some mothers have to do all the sacrificing in the beginning. Placing a child for adoption feels like that.
Other times, it is the voices of our families members and friends that cause us to feel pre-placement shame. In some cultures, adoption is a very discouraged decision. Some women in those cultures face being cut off from their family or their community as a result of their adoption decision. That adds plenty of extra weight to an obviously hard decision already. When those voices feel too loud for our own thoughts, pre-placement shame feels like making the wrong decision. While it is important to listen to wise counsel, at the end of the day, your adoption decision is your choice. You have to live with the realities and responsibilities of this child being in your care, not them. For those who are making an adoption decision, the important thing to keep close to your heart is why you are doing this. Not just, “I want better for my child,” but why exactly you are not able to provide that at this time. Your situation may change, but your decision will not. It is important to weigh all the sides and the consequences with your adoption counselor before you make any life-changing decisions for you and your child. Make sure you are working with an agency that has an adoption counselor just for you, preferably who is local to you and can be more of an active mentor in your decision.
Fearing what others will think creates a lot of pre-placement shame:
What will my coworkers think?
What will dating look like for me in the future?
How will I be able to tell anyone?
What if someone says something negative to me when I tell them?
What if I am rejected for being a Birth Mother?
All those are very real questions just about every Birth Mother has asked. We have all been there. We have all been through it. And no, some of this is not nice to deal with and causes pain. This decision will forever impact your life. That is why your adoption decision has to be wholly yours. It is easy to defend yourself when you have conviction about your choice. It isn’t if you feel like it was someone else’s. And it should never be someone else’s decision for you to place a child for adoption; not your mother, your father, your boyfriend, your best friend. No one but you. And that will take a lot of soul searching on the journey to placement, but it is a worthy road to walk down.
Pre-Placement Shame Doesn’t Have To Own You
You have to lay your head down on your pillow at night for the rest of this child’s life and say to yourself that you did the best that you could. How you arrive at that conclusion is up to you, but languishing in pre-placement shame will not get you there. If you need, find a professional counselor to help you wade through the emotions of your decision. Your adoption counselor should also be an independent mentor in helping you make your own choice. If not, get another agency.
Need help weighing your adoption decision? Contact us today to speak to a Birth Mother mentor today.