As a birth mom, bonding with your child is one of the most important things you can do before placement. Your time being pregnant and the few days you have together in the hospital is the only time you will get to have your child all to yourself. But, knowing that you’re placing your baby for adoption, it can be really hard to allow yourself to bond with your child fully.
I was about six months pregnant when I decided to place my daughter for adoption. Up until that point, I was adamant about parenting her, despite all the opposition from my family. Then I had a come-to-Jesus moment and I decided that adoption would be what was best for my daughter. Coming to the realization that at the end I wouldn’t get to take her home for me was overwhelmingly heartbreaking. I had spent six months preparing to be her momma.
With every kick she kicked, it felt like my heart broke a little bit more. I let it overtake me. I knew I was doing the right thing for her but at the same time it felt like it would destroy me in the process. So I did anything and everything I could to distance myself from her. This was, in reality, silly because she was growing inside of me. Nonetheless, I tried my hardest. I tried not to enjoy feeling her move. I complained as much as possible about being pregnant. I was trying desperately to convince myself that I wouldn’t be broken after she was born. I even asked my doctor for a C-section so I could not see her right after she was born and have her taken straight to her new parents.
There are no words to describe how much I regret allowing myself to give into my fears in that way. But, God is good and he gave me more time with her. My pregnancy was a rocky road but my experience in the hospital I will forever be grateful for. My doctor didn’t give me a C-section and I had a fairly normal delivery. My daughter was in the NICU her entire hospital stay so that did limit my time a little bit, but not so much that I would wish it happened differently.
Of course, the second my daughter was born the illusion that I could keep myself from bonding with her was shattered. I was in love instantly. I used the four days in the hospital to just hold her and to love her. I would go to the NICU and just talk to her. I asked the nurses to call me in any time she needed to be fed. I spent as much time with her as I could possibly could. For those four days I was her mother. And those four days will always remain the most treasured days of my life.
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You might be asking yourself, “What does this woman know about bonding? Clearly she did everything she could to avoid it.” And while I did fail miserably throughout the rest of my pregnancy, I did come out of it with a clearer view. I can tell you that I regret not allowing myself to truly bond with my daughter during my pregnancy. It goes by so quickly, even when it feels like an eternity. So, if you are an expectant mother reading this, allow yourself to love every moment when you’re pregnant. Enjoy the baby’s kicking, the heartburn, seeing your baby move, the back pain, the restless nights, the cravings, and everything there is. There will be a time when you look back and long for those days again. One thing I did do that I am so thankful for is documenting my pregnancy and time in the hospital through pictures. So even to this day I can look back on those times and relive them. I also bought little things for her throughout my pregnancy and gave them all to her parents. It’s a small way to bond with your child and it’s almost like a birth mom’s way of nesting. It is really nice to know that they will have something from you!
As for your time in the hospital, take in every moment! There can be this immense pressure to share your time with family and friends and the adoptive parents. But, the time in the hospital is the time you get with your child. You get to be their mother for that short period of time. Allow yourself to hold and love on that precious little baby. Do everything you would if you were going to be taking your baby home. Skin-to-skin contact is the most amazing way to bond to your baby. Whatever you do, do not allow your fear to take over. You will never look back and wish you had spent less time with your little one. Even though it hurts, regret can be even more painful! If you are an expectant mom and need support, feel free to reach out to me. I will be more than willing to help you through any questions or situations you might encounter!
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