Post-Placement Survival Guide for Birth Mothers

This for the days after the hardest day of your life.

Alysia Foote November 05, 2016

Placement day feels like it may be the hardest day of your life. So many emotions happen as you prepare yourself for the hardest days of your life. Every moment you have a new fear, a new emotion, and a new understanding of being a mother. What is to follow in the upcoming days, weeks, and months is “surviving the first year.” Here are some self-care and survival tips from fellow birth mothers.

Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.


Your First Meeting
1. Your First Meeting

Take time to memorize every part of the moment you meet your baby. This moment, their smell, their squishy face, these moments will help you through rough moments. - Jessica Gailbraith

Spend Time with the Baby in the Hospital
2. Spend Time with the Baby in the Hospital

Although the nurses may give you a hard time, nap and bond with the baby every moment that you can!

Capture Memories
3. Capture Memories

"Take plenty of photos. Candid photos retrieve memories that you may not be aware of." - Christine Hall

A New Meaning of Family
4. A New Meaning of Family

"You don't have to be strong every moment of every day. You're allowed to cry. It's a sad thing, watching your child being raised by someone else. Believe you made the right decision for your child and do not second guess yourself. Hold on to the moment [when] you see for yourself that the couple you've decided to place with love[s] your baby just as much as you do. That was a magical moment for me" - Jessica Galbraith

"Talk to the adoptive parents about your feelings. They care about you and want to help. The double sided coin we're on is hard for both sides. They feel your pain underlying in their joy and we feel their joy underlying in our pain. Be raw with where you're at and if you need to back away, be clear with them about it and they'll do the same for you. Having that relationship will help everyone involved. And don't let anyone judge you if you need space or need less. That's between you and them, not anyone else." - Sarah Palazzo

Bond with Your Adoptive Couple
5. Bond with Your Adoptive Couple

Watch them meet your baby. See the love stream down their faces as they fall in to forever love. Talk about the past, present and future. These moments will help you solidify your decision to place and build a solid foundation for your relationship.

Tangible Memories
6. Tangible Memories

"Be sure to bring a few things to the hospital for the baby to wear. Bring them home so you have something that smells like them. I carried a baby blanket around for a week." - Sarah Palazzo

Your New "Normal"
7. Your New "Normal"

"You will be learning to survive. Take slow small steps to cope with your new normal. Then you can learn to live. After that, you'll learn to thrive and soar." - Christie Florence

Let Your Body Heal
9. Let Your Body Heal

We often try to bounce back from giving birth as if we do not need to physically heal. Many birth moms feel that if they do not have a baby at home, they should "go about their normal life" instead of allowing their body to heal itself.

Don't forget to pause. Your body just went through trauma right along with your heart. Give your body the respect it deserves and allow it to become whole again. Take naps and hot showers or even get a massage. Ask other birth moms tips for helping your milk supply dry up (if you're not pumping). Take advantage of what those hormones gave you and get your nails and full hair done. Pamper yourself a bit. You deserve it.

Time is on Your Side
10. Time is on Your Side

"Time won't heal all wounds, but it will help them hurt less. Don't give up. Believe in your ability to make it through. It's ok to ask for help or support - don't try to go it alone. There are plenty of people who have love and support to give." - Heather Sabin

"Have a friend or family member that you can be open with your hurt. This isn't something you can just get over. You'll miss your birth child years later. Keep your family and friends close." - Brittany Anderson

"Don't be afraid to feel. If it hurts, cry, scream - just get it out. If you feel like laughing, laugh until you're about to pee your pants. But the more you bottle it up, the worse it gets. Everyone grieves at their own pace, so don't let anyone tell you that you're not doing it right. Just feel it out!" - Shea Marie Giersch

"There is no right or wrong way to heal. We all heal at different rates. Don't let society make you feel guilty or better yet that you "gave up"." You didn't give up. You chose life. You chose love. You chose to bless a family that's just in a better place than you are right now. There will be good days and there will be bad. At times it will feel like the bad is [heavier than] the bad. Yet, treasure the good days. Don't give up on finding peace within. Forgiveness is key. Grief is okay. Yet, love will always win." - Samantha Marie

11. Community

"Feel all the feels and find a community that won't assign feelings or force perceptions. Don't allow anyone to guilt you if you aren't heartbroken at any given moment, or if you feel strong in your decision. On the other hand, don't allow anyone to invalidate your feelings of heartbrokenness or regret if you are experiencing that. There is a vast spectrum of emotions when it comes to birth motherhood. There is such liberty in letting yourself feel it all with no expectations placed upon you by others or yourself." - Brooke Bergman

"Rely and lean on fellow birth moms when needed. That was my saving grace during the first few months when all I wanted to do was crawl into the ground." - Beth Barghols

"You only hear of the happy, good, open adoptions during your pregnancy. [Birth moms] need to be aware that it's not always perfect. Also, they never really tell you how hard it's going to be and it's a lifelong healing process with ups and downs. Find people who get it, because most people in your life won't." - Lindsey Mathis

Remember Your "Why"
12. Remember Your "Why"

"Don't ever forget your why. There is always a why, and sometimes as time passes and moments get dark, you forget the why of it all. Circumstances may change as the years go on, but the why you had will never change." - Katelyn Krum Shaw

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Alysia Foote

Alysia is married to her high school sweetheart and they parent four children together. She enjoys taking road trips and loves cooking anything that is fresh and beautiful. She is a birth mother with an open adoption.Her adoption journey is hard, but the lessons learned and people met through placement are irreplaceable, and she loves adoption, which creates a family for everyone involved.

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