For a birthmother, the time in the hospital is the most integral part of the adoption planning process. Agencies will advise a mother who has chosen adoption to create a Birth Plan – a list or document containing what the birthmother would or would not like in regard to the birthing process. In practical terms, a birth plan will help you plan your labor and delivery and may help the process happen more smoothly. Emotionally, a birth plan helps you remember that the birthing process is solely about you and the baby.
Often with adoption plans, the birthing experience is completely forgotten. Do you want an epidural? Do you want to birth in water? Is that possible in your facility? Do you want to cut the cord yourself? What about skin to skin bonding, or breastfeeding? Who would you like in the room when the baby is born? How many people are allowed to be there? Forming a plan can often help to diminish the unknowns that often come with labor and delivery.
Some women choose to have the adoptive parents in the room, but this is not a necessity, and since the birth should be strictly about you and the child, it can be argued that it may be a distraction. Make the best choice based on your comfort level. Every decision should render more support for you, the birthmother. If any choice or piece of the plan makes you uncomfortable, you might want to reconsider.
If you are unfamiliar with the birthing process, contacting someone you trust who has gone through it may enable you to create a more comprehensive and realistic birth plan.
Another “Plan” that you might consider drawing up is your adoption plan while in the hospital. Would you like a private room? Are you okay with having visitors? How long would you like to have with the baby before you sign the relinquishment papers? Would you like the baby taken to the nursery immediately? Is there someone you’d like to spend the night with you to help in taking care of the infant?
It’s important that both plans are written down and multiple copies made so that doctors, nurses, and anyone else involved will have a clear understanding of your wishes.
It’s important to remember to be flexible with your plan and with yourself. You may go into the hospital with detailed plans in hand, ready to go forward with exactness, and then find that circumstances or feelings negate many of the desires that you had written down. That is perfectly normal and perfectly fine.
The process of writing your birth and adoption plans may be emotional and difficult. Remember that the goal of both plans is to provide YOU, the birth mother, with the opportunity to prepare and feel control over what you are about to do.