Birth Mothers Dealing With A Life of Grief

Living the Life of a Birth Mother

Giving my son away to adoption in 1987

Dealing with Birth Mother Grief the Only Way I Know How

This blog is mostly about living as a birthmother because since November 18th, 1987, that has been the only way I have left to live. That’s the day I signed the relinquishment papers in some dark office in Newton, MA and there has never been a way to get back to the life that could have been. I gave away my baby to people I had never met and then tried to go on living my life as the agency and everyone else expected me to. It didn’t work.

Adoption Affects Birth Mothers for a Lifetime

So, more than 28 years later; adoption is a huge force on my life affect me and my whole family every single day. I have no choice anymore. I can’t go back and change it, so I blog. Chances are, if you have found your way here to this blog, you are needing to know what it means to live the life of a birthmother.

That means you are most likely:

  • Another birth mother
  • Pregnant and thinking about placing your baby for adoption
  • Are an adoptee
  • Could be an adoptive parent or considering adopting a child or infant either domestically or through international adoption
  • Know, care for, love, are sibling of, are married to, in a relationship with, researching on, or
  • somehow interested in one or all of the above.

That’s good. Because most things I write about are related to birthmothers, adoption and adoptee rights in some way, shape or form. I’m definitely a “niche blogger”.

No Escape from the Birth Mother Club

I think the most important thing to know about living the life of a birthmother is that it is never over. It comes in and settles on our skins and we can never wash it out. Forever stained and continuously affected in ways we never dreamed. And no one can tell us how it feels, or prepare us for what it feels. There are so many things I never knew about being a birth mother until after I let adoption into my life and then it was too late.

What Adoption Experts Told Us to Expect was Wrong.

We can’t get over it.

We don’t always go on to have other children when we are “ready”.

  • It didn’t get easier as time went on.
  • The sense of peace actual erodes if you are lucky enough to buy into
  • it for a while.
  • Our children were not always better off.
  • Reunion isn’t always a perfect happy ending.
  • The years are gone forever.
  • We are hurt. We are sad. And it won’t go away but only changes through time.
  • And you ask yourself “What is wrong with me?”
  • It’s not you.

Adoption Doesn’t Play Out the Way the Professionals Told Us

How you are feeling is normal and you are not alone. Because so many of us feel this way. And if you don’t, well then god bless you and I mean that in the purest of ways. God bless that you have somehow managed to avoid the pitfalls that comes with many lives of birth mothers; the grief, the loss, the unavoidable sadness around your child’s birthday and holidays, your sensitivity to all things adoption and or baby related. If you’re not in the same reality I am, then who am I to push it? But for so many of us, I think we have to face the fact that the birthmother rules that were provided to us was a bunch of untried hopeful theories based on now debunked beliefs regarding the human psyche.

Please know, again, you are not alone. There are many of us out there and many, most of us, feel this way. If you are looking for additional support, there are many adoption support networks, groups, and pages on Facebook.

Adoption Relinquishment = Trauma = Unresolved Grief

I think I write about adoption so I don’t have to feel it. I hate feeling it close within my own life. Sometimes, I’ll be listening to someone else’s adoption story and I will think “How horrible. How can they live with that in their lives?” and for a second I will forget. And then it hits me and I know that I don’t have to image how that person feels affects by adoption.

I know because I live it too. And I hate that about my life.

For non birth parents, the closest way I can describe it is this: When I watched the towers fall on 9-11, I know I shared with millions of fellow human beings the shock and horror of that day. As the day went from bad to worse to unbelievable, we collectively thought ” how can this be happening? No, this isn’t true!”

And if though hope and desire alone, we could have made it stop, we would have; but we could only watch helplessly as the tragedy unfolded. That’s the feeling I get when I allow myself to actually feel the deep loss that accompanies the reality of placing my son to adoption.

While I will always miss the sight of the Twin Towers in the New York skyline, I can only drum up a pale vestige of the complete physical revulsion and horror that accompanied that fateful day. Even when I watch the news footage. But, when I think about Max’s adoption, I could be 19 years old all over again and sitting in that hospital rocking chair getting ready for that last goodbye all over again.

And so I blog about being a birthmother instead of feeling that pain alone.

I share it with you.

More Posts About Life as a Birth Mother

Below are ALL the post generally about life as a birth mother. I have also broken things down to help if you are looking for something particular. You can see all the adoption blog posts in all the”birth mother” categories by clicking here.

 Adoption Kool Aid and  Birth Mother Denial

Birthmother adoption kooloaid

Many people enter into adoption believing in some form of its innate goodness. There is often a real shock and a true disbelief that what they wanted to believe about adoption is different than the truth. That’s not denial, but just being unaware.  The question is whether or now, we are able to see past what we want to believe and see the reality presented by the facts. This takes time as we need to process those changes in thought. Some resistance, the continued disbelief, is normal. if it gets pathological and one refuses to face facts, it is denial in some form.


Before Making an Adoption Plan

before making and adoption planIf you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering giving the baby up for adoption, there are many things you should know before making an adoption plan.In fact, there are many things that you should know about the process of adoption before you make any contact at all with a infant domestic adoption agency. Even if you think it would be a good idea to make a few inquiries and get some information about their newborn adoption programs, please STOP TALKING TO THE ADOPTION AGENCIES and READ.


Coping and Dealing with Birth Mother Grief

‎"Neither society nor the adopter who holds the child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from whose arms that same child was taken." ~Margaret McDonald LawrenceThe established stages of griefdenial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, often don’t seem to help the grief experienced by birth mothers and adoption losses.Unlike the grief felt from a death, the loss from adoption is often said to be a complicated grief or a continuous grief. As life for both parties carries on through the years, the separation continues to add more missed opportunities or milestones that are normally shared with one’s children.



Birth Mother Holidays & Adoptee Birthdays
adoptee birthdays holiday triggers

While other people also suffer from the holiday blues, and other life issues to trigger adoption feelings during non-holiday times, a birthmother experiencing painful memories and sadness is normal on an adoptees  birthday. It makes it easier to overcome this depression in some way by understanding that the adoption holiday/birthday depression is normal and to expect it, rather than fight it. Know that it is situational depression and often, will pass with the change of the calendar pages. Know that you are not alone in feeling this way.


Birth Mother Regrets & Lessons

birthmother regrets adoptionAfter you relinquish a child  to adoption, the post adoption birthmother support offered by most agencies doesn’t really go far enough. And that’s assuming that there was any post adoption support and birthmother “counseling” offered to begin with. The rest of the world often doesn’t “get it” at all. There are a limited number of counselors who understand what life as  birth mother is really about. I certainly have found that I was not prepared for what it all entails to be a birthmother, but I did learn some things along the way that might help.


How to Give Your Baby Up for Adoption

Giving my son away to adoption in 1987

Just my personal story from soup to nuts on how I became a birth mother.





Most Recent Posts Regarding a Birth Mother’s Life are Below:

Reunion Flashback

I wrote this some time ago as a submission to some contest some place. I have been holding on to it until today. It was ten years ago today that this happened. Last Hours of Cold She couldn’t find a freaking parking space to save her life. After all the meticulous planning and her careful timeline, she was going to be late because she couldn’t find any  visitor or public…

Posted in A Birthmothers Life, Reunions & Support, Searches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Reunion Flashback

Between the Extremes; Complexity of a Birth Mother

Yes, it is complex being a birth mother. This one act involves a duality of polar opposites. How can I be a victim of an industry, yet I made a choice? How can I be selfless and selfish at the same time? How I can I be a survivor, yet completely broken? How can I do the unthinkable, and then manage to carry on? How could I have been so weak as to lose my child, to not fight for him, and then so strong as to breath into another day?

Posted in A Birthmothers Life, Cultural Views on Adoption, Reunions & Support | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Universal Motherhood

There is not a “birthmother” gene. There is not a nerve that is cut. There is not a build up around her heart. She will give birth like every other mother has before her and every mother after. The very act of giving birth creates a mother even if legal paperwork or extenuating circumstances leave her unable to parent. There are no lines separating us here, no boundaries, no differences in race, country, or in time. There are no lines, either, separating a “normal” birth process from one that ends up as an adoption. One cannot just turn off those bonding hormones no matter what legal paperwork might be later signed.

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In My Dreams

By AstridBeeMom I obsess. That’s what I do. Fear is something that is always a part of my life and I have struggled long and hard, for so many years, decades really, to not let it control me. Alas, it sometimes wins in the end. I have waited so many days, months, years, to see her again. To have communication with her. Sometimes I feel like a crazy stalker. I…

Posted in A Birthmothers Life, Costs of Adoption, Musings of a Birthmom | 1 Comment

If I Knew Then…

By Susie More thoughts from the American Adoption Congress Conference: After I had agreed with Suz to participate in her “Mitigating and Managing Collateral Damage: Impact of Adoption on the 1st Family” presentation, I thought of many examples of the collateral damage in my life. When it came to the “managing and mitigating” part, the only thing I could come up with was to not lose a child to adoption…

Posted in Before Making an Adoption Plan, Birthmother Regrets & Lessons, Finding Christopher Finding Myself | Comments Off on If I Knew Then…

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