Adoption is obviously a very sensitive subject in a lot of respects. It is a difficult decision made for the betterment of a your child even when it results in your own heartache. Often times, people like to give advice or give their of word of encouragement, just like many people do for new parents. Most of these sentiments are expressed with the best of intentions, while the few are said to make you second guess yourself and discourage you in your decision. It can get burdensome to carry the weight of hurt feelings and offense when these tidbits of advice and encouragement aren’t thought out or said in the right way. But you already have a burden to carry as a birth mother. There are plenty of things that may weigh you down the rest of your life. Whether that’s constantly worrying if your child is going to be made fun of in school, if the adoptive family will move away, or if you’ll find someone who will love you even after telling them you placed a child. There’s already so much! That is why it is very important to try and learn to let hurtful comments go; so you can lighten your load and ease your own burdens.
When someone feels they absolutely need to give you their opinion on your choice to place your child for adoption, when they really just can’t go on unless you know their thoughts, when part of their mission on Earth is to give you their input, I have found it’s more for them than for you. They need to feel like they’ve contributed, or that they told you how they felt just in case things go south; they don’t want to regret having kept it inside. The vast majority of people do not and will not completely understand. It can be as simple as using terms you don’t prefer. It can be telling you they disagree with your decision. It may very well be they are completely against adoption in general. Whatever the reason, you have the choice to let their words go.
Something I do to shrug off the ugly comments of others is to remember that I placed my son because I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn’t choose to place my son because of what someone else thought, so why would I care about what they think after? It can sometimes be easier said than done, but having that surety can make a world of difference. Remember the reason, remember your confirmation, and remember how you felt knowing your child was in good hands.
Will someone else’s words–or your own–undo your child’s wellbeing and happiness?
Another thing I do is to take a moment to put myself in other people’s shoes. Do they understand what they’re saying? Do they have good intentions? Are they just trying to help? Am I misinterpreting them? Have I ever expressed to them my thoughts and feelings so they know? There are lots of ways to make sure I don’t overreact to someone’s comments, and this one is used almost every time.
The one that I use the least because I’m deathly afraid of confrontation is to kindly confront the person and tell them how what they said hurt you. The few times I have done this, the response has always been an apology accompanied by an, ”I had no idea.” This takes what could have lead to hurt feelings and defuses the situation almost instantly. No harm, no foul. We can all move on.
Lastly, I use a lot of internal logic. What I mean by this is that I am my biggest critic. I think degrading things about myself for placing or put myself down in conversation with others when talking about adoption. I then need to, step by step, go through the process of thinking about why I placed, put myself in the old pregnant Lindsey’s shoes, and listen to people when they give me good intentioned comments. It’s funny how that happens. We can get so hurt by what others say, that we sometimes forget that sometimes the reason they’re hurtful is because they’re telling us, and essentially confirming things, we’ve thought about ourselves.
Being a birth mother is not widely understood or talked about, and is a very personal experience. Try your best to think of your child and the good you did for them. Will someone else’s words–or your own–undo your child’s wellbeing and happiness? No. So allow yourself to feel good about your choice and learn to let the hurtful comments go.