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What Do Birth Mothers Need Most?

If you know someone who is expecting and will be placing her child with another family — it is monumentally important to show your support and love for the birth family as they make one of the most difficult decisions of their life. There are so many reasons why a birth mother or family decides to place their child for adoption — it is not our job to understand them. However, there are several ways to console and show love to women starting this journey.

The adoption process and journey is motivated by LOVE. Adoption can be portrayed in a negative light — spoken about as if a mother is “giving away” her child — but that is simply not the truth. Placing a child for adoption is an unselfish act, and it bravely puts the child first. Birth mothers, like all mothers, want their child to have access to the best resources and opportunities, a stable home, and lots of love. Many birth parents hope to have ongoing contact with their child in some form — realizing that their presence might fill a void or satisfy a need of their child.

Seeking professional treatment for pre- and post-adoption struggles is highly recommended. Remember — asking for help is not admitting weakness. It is enlisting someone to help you sort through your emotions and process them responsibly. It is not uncommon for birth mothers to have compromised emotional and mental health following the placement of their child with another family. In fact, Adoptive Families states that almost 75% of birth mothers encounter some sort of mental or emotional stress on this journey. This grief that a birth mother feels is often not openly acknowledged. Finding a support group may help you connect with others who are feeling hopeless and grieving their own child.

So, what helps birth mothers heal? Adoptive Families shares that one of the best ways to help a birth mother is to address her previously unmet needs, the top three being:

  • Financial support
  • Support from family and friends
  • Support from a mental health professional

It speaks volumes about how far love and support will go with someone who is grieving. Another significant factor that leads to a birth mother’s happiness and fulfillment is the possibility of an open adoption. More than the context of their needs, it matters most that these women’s needs are met appropriately.

To effectively grieve along this journey, women need understanding, validation, and support from those who are closest to them. In addition to family contact, birth mothers also benefit heavily from contact with other birth mothers. Finding commonality in your situation can be of great benefit in the healing process. Remember: patience, honesty, and empathy are absolutely critical in forming lasting and healthy relationships.