The holidays can be a stressful time for a birth parent. While this season is full of happiness and family time, it can also reopen old wounds or leave us birth parents feeling a bit left out.
Here are some ways to help us all make it through this time of the year.
Take a step back if you need to.
I know for me and many birth parents, there is a huge pressure to be involved in all the major holidays. There can be a really heavy feeling of guilt if we don’t feel up to seeing our birth children on Christmas.
I am here to tell you that it’s okay to step back! The best thing we can do as birth parents is never force ourselves to do anything we aren’t comfortable with. It’s okay to say that while you LOVE your birth child, it’s just too hard for you to see him or her right now!
Think about the good stuff.
I know that sounds like an asinine thing to say, but it can be easy to allow ourselves to wallow in our sadness. Not that it is not okay to be sad, but if we get stuck in our sadness, it can end up being destructive. Instead of thinking of what you’re missing, try to think about all the things your child is getting to have right now. Try and think of all the things they get to experience with their parents. YOU gave them the best gift of all. You sacrificed and gave them an amazing family! That is something you can be happy about, no matter what else is going on.
Have a safe place to vent.
No matter how much positive thinking we try to do, eventually we wake up and just want to cry! There is a lot that we as birth parents have to deal with, and sometimes we just need to let it all out. The holidays have a way of making what we have given up painfully obvious, so it’s always good to have someone to call. I call my mom and just cry, yell, and everything in between. A good support system is a must-have for getting through this time of year!
Maintain openness and honesty in your communication with the adoptive parents.
Fear can be a terrible influence on the relationship we have with our birth child’s parents. It can make us keep everything inside, just building up. When the holidays come around, we usually have some expectation of what we would like to see happen. But sometimes our birth child’s parents don’t think of it, or just don’t agree. So nothing is said and we go along our lives feeling hurt and angry. THIS HAS TO STOP!
If you would like a visit close to Christmas, just ask! If you want some pictures of your child in their Christmas outfit, just ask! Sometimes the answer will be no, and we have to respect that. But sometimes the answer is yes, and it is amazing! Unfortunately, adoptive parents haven’t figured out how to read our minds yet, so we just have to tell them what we want! I know it can be scary, but it’s so worth it! It is definitely better than feeling let down or hurt because you didn’t ask. And on the flip side, if you need fewer pictures or less visits during the holidays, let them know.
I hope some of this advice will help you through this time of year!
Birth parents, what advice would you add to this list? Our biggest support in this community is other birth parents!