It doesn’t matter if it was yesterday or thirty years ago, your child’s birth mother said goodbye to parenting her baby, her waves of grief are real and often long-lasting. Sure, she is content with the decision she made, and likely she couldn’t hope for better parents for her child than you. But, that doesn’t fill the hole or erase her pain. But what can you do? You know, by heart, the list of things you can’t do:

  • You can’t carry her grief in her place.

  • You can’t give your child back.

  • You can’t mope around all gloomy-like so if she sees you she’ll know you’re sad for her.

  • You can’t ignore her pain.

The following ideas could make a little difference in how your child’s birth mother works through her grief:

  • Acknowledge her sadness/her pain/her grieving. Ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist will not help her work through it. In fact, if others ignore her hurting, that seed could blossom into shame and result in her burying her feelings and never quite working through them. Instead, put your arm around her or tell her you care–learn of her love language and acknowledge her pain in the way she will best accept it. It doesn’t mean you should dwell on it. That’s not healthy either. But letting her know you care will help.

  • Invite her to share her feelings with you. Whether over email, phone, or face-to-face, sometimes just expressing feelings of grief will lift the griever over the hump and permit her to proceed with some amount of healing. Emotions that are never expressed seem to grow into mountains that seem insurmountable. Sharing her grief with the only other person who loves her child as much as she does could really bring about healthy healing.

  • Be open in your communication and learn her desires. Would it be best for her to have some distance for a while? Would her healing crescendo if she received a weekly photo just to feel a part of the child’s life? Would she benefit by being directed to support groups of other birth mothers? Talk openly with your child’s birth mother and work according to her needs to help her heal.

  • Love her unconditionally. She may not end up being an active part of your family, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love her as you love family. We give our family members allowances for their idiosyncrasies, for their obvious faults and for their mistakes. Do the same for your child’s birth mother. Acceptance by others goes a long way toward healing for oneself.

Remember that time really is a great healer too. When in the midst of deep grieving, that’s a hard concept to accept. But it’s a truth. It will get easier, and life will go on!