Birth Day!

Here’s the moment everyone has been anxiously anticipating. The woman who is planning to place her child with you is about to give birth. This birth day will be important. 

Ack! It’s headless chicken time. An expectant mother is about to have a baby! What do you do? What do you do?

Although boiling a pot of water seems to be the answer to that question every time it comes up on TV, the proper response in this circumstance is: Do whatever she desires.

If the expectant mother wants you standing beside her, coaching her through the delivery, that’s where you’ll be. Does she want your husband recording the event on camera? Then that’s what he’ll be doing. If she wants you pacing the hall with her mother, you’ll pace. Maybe she wants you at home until she’s ready to see you. So, you’ll go about your life as best you can at home. Even if your cell phone is never more than a centimeter from your grasp.

It’s possible that where she thought she’d want you before going into labor will not be the same place she actually wants you during labor. You must respect her wishes as best as you can, even if they are not part of the plan.

Of course, she may decide at the last moment that she wants you to cut the umbilical cord. If you’re the type that passes out at the thought of splinter removal, you may have to give this some hard thought. You could try a bit of negotiation. Or, find yourself a crash helmet, just in case “woozy” turns into “down for the count”.

It’s a Baby…and You’re Chopped Liver

Soon, voilá, there’s a BABY! (That’s easy for me to say, but believe it or not, voilá isn’t actually a word often uttered with that final push. Maybe in France?)

Once again, it’s Mom’s call on what happens. The ball (that being the baby and the future of everyone involved) is in her court.

Be prepared to feel powerless. Go with the flow, and take notes if you can. Within a few days, this time will all seem like a blur. It won’t be easy to reconstruct events that you may be asked to recount for years to come.

Without a doubt, these will be some of the hardest days of your life.

Before you get carried away with how hard it is to pass the hours, walk a mile or so in the mother’s maternity moccasins. You know the baby is here. You’ve seen, and maybe even held, him or her for the first time. His or her first legitimate day as your legal dependent may seem ages away. But, for his or her mother, her last day as the legal guardian may feel like it’s coming too soon.

She’s just given birth, is sore and exhausted, and is coming up to crunch time. These few days will heartbreaking for her. In fact, soon every member of this adoption triad will come face-to-face with the truth about adoption:

It is as much about loss as it is about gain.

However, the potential birth mother will experience this to a greater depth than anyone else.

You may have a few days of frustrated and anxious misery while waiting to receive your baby, but a lifetime of joy is just around that next bend.

Precious Time

For the woman who brought this baby into the world, these same days will be all the sweet time she has for her child to be completely hers.

Writer and expert on adoption issues, birth mom Jan Baker, often speaks about the lifelong suffering experienced by women after relinquishment.

One of my biggest gripes…is [when some people] make placing a baby for adoption appear as a one-time event that you will ‘get over’ or experience some mild sadness throughout a lifetime, making it seem as though knowing that your child has a ‘better’ life will make up for losing them. [That] rarely does anything to ease the pain. Most birth moms that I know…are blindsided by the deep and unrelenting pain that relinquishing causes. It is unexpected, and when they do not ‘get over it’ as they are told they should, they think something’s wrong with them, and that other birth mothers do just fine.”

Of course, if you have any concerns about where everyone stands in your adoption plan, you’ll want to bring these up. If you can address them with the potential birth mother, that will be the place to start. If you need to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact your agency, your attorney, or her attorney for information and assurance.

Goodbye before Hello

When the time comes for you to take the baby home with you, you can leave smoething with her. In addition to the flowers you’ve brought for the new mother (a mini-forest is appropriate unless she’s allergic), a special gift may help to convey your feelings.

You might be able to communicate your emotions through keepsake jewelry signifying the relationship between your family, the child you have in common, and her. However, just as every situation differs with every child, there may be more than one fitting gift.

Nevertheless, while gifts are lovely gestures, there will be no filling the void left when you go. All involved may feel more prepared with counseling beforehand, to ease the transition a bit. No one will be able to make this moment much better for the woman who is now a birth mother, however.

Honor any arrangements for contact or visitation as you would a promise made to your child. Do not allow the rush of emotion or the flurry of exciting activity to dampen your dedication to the woman who gave birth to your new baby.

Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.