Another contraction. Pain. Sweating. Shivering. It’s too late to back out now. This hurts so much, I think I’m dying. Breathe.
“You look beautiful. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy or what, but your face is just glowing. You can do this.” I look up at the man who will be raising the child inside of me and smile. Contract again. Throw up. More painkillers. This baby is coming. I can do this. I’ve got to make sure their daughter arrives safely. I can do this, for them.
Four months to the day later and I would do it all over. They are amazing parents, and more than that, like older siblings to me. They have made my journey so much easier. Here are ways you can build that kind of relationship with your future child’s birth mother:
One of the main things I was looking for when choosing an adoptive family was love. Not only for baby R, but for me. If I was going to trust them to adopt the love of my life, we needed to get along. In our first few emails and visits, and to this day, it is not just about my birth daughter. It’s about a friendship based on love, empathy . . . and silliness.
If you can, try to spend time with her. I attended a birthing class with baby R’s adoptive mom, and before our class we would go out to eat, get our nails done, or just hang out. I felt like she wanted to spend time with me because of me, and not just because I was carrying her future child. Pregnancy can be a lonely time for many expectant mothers, and your friendship can be of the utmost importance during this time.
Think about it. I carried a baby for nine months. That’s nine months of feeling fat and ugly. Nine months of sciatic pain, shortness of breath, nausea, exhaustion, and bursting into tears every time someone asked me if I was excited to be a mommy. Followed by the extreme pain of childbirth, stretch marks, desperately trying to lose weight, and an ache in my heart that will never go away.
Birth moms aren’t asking to be heroes, or for adoptive parents to feel guilty in any way. But it helps tremendously to be understood. When I placed my birth daughter into her parents arms, I don’t know who shed more tears. Because they understood how much it hurt me. And that made it easier for me to walk out of that hospital room. I knew they would never take my sacrifice for granted.
Keep Your Promises
Nothing hurts a birth mother more than a broken promise. Over the last year, I have seen so many of my dearest friends hearts break because their birth child’s parents break their commitment to openness. Let’s face it: Many adoptive couples are so afraid of offending an expectant mother that they promise more visits, updates, and pictures than is realistic for them. It’s an easy mistake to make, and most of the time unintentional. But it hurts. It is so much better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. Knowing that I will receive my photos, updates, and visits as promised has helped me feel much more emotionally stable.
Respect Her Boundaries
Pregnancy is the only thing a birth mother has that is hers alone. For me, it worked great for the adoptive mom to attend a birthing class with me, and for her to be in the room during childbirth. She even cut the cord! For others, attending doctors appointments worked well. But other birth mothers need privacy during these intimate moments. And that’s okay. It’s important to have honest communication to figure out the right fit for everyone.
You can do this. I did it. My birth daughters’ parents did it. It’s not always pretty, and it’s not always fun. But if you’re reading this article, it means you care. As long as you care, you can create an amazing relationship with your child’s birth mom.