Birthing, Labor, and Adoption Relinquishment

Made with the Best Intentions Birthing Plans and Adoption Plans are Not Reality

I wrote this last night. I was responding to a expectant mother on one of the birthmother support pages on Facebook. This mom was nervous about the upcoming birthing and labor, but pretty sure about the adoption.  It literally flew out of me in a wave of words and I rather like the comparison, so rather than have it lost in an ancient thread, I’m putting it up here.

So, to paraphrase the question:

I’m pregnant and planning on adoption for my baby, but I am really nervous about labor. What should I expect?

When You Throw the Birthing Plan Out the Window

You are asking about labor, so I will say this…

When You Throw the Birthing Plan Out the WindowIt doesn’t matter what my experience with 4 labors where like and what I can tell you to maybe expect IF you are exactly like me. But you are not, so what MY labors were like won’t matter.

You can learn how it is supposed to be from a million other people and you can make a birthing plan with all the best of intentions. You can desire a natural peaceful birth, non violent, maybe even a water birth in candle light with soothing music. Maybe you are all about herbs and holistic breathing. Again, it really doesn’t matter except to maybe make you feel like you have some control, but you really don’t.

Your birthing plan is what you think you want and how you hope it will go down.

But when something gets funky, and the nurses make weird noises under their breath, or 23 hours in and you really just. cannot. take. it. any. more, you throw that damn birthing plan out the window and you do whatever because you must. You have no choice.

And at some point you might find that you are buck ass naked and there are all these weird people around and they are touching you the way NO person has EVER touched you before and you realize that you just do not give a shit because the only thing that matters is that a human being is coming out of your vagina. And that hurts unlike anything you could have possibly imagined. And no class, no online group, and no birth plan is going to be able to prepare you for that except to say that there is not quite anything else in the world like it.

When the Adoption Plan Goes All to Hell

Adoption is a hell of a lot like labor. It doesn’t matter if Sue is OK, and Linda is not. It doesn’t matter if my son did well, but Krisitna got abused for her whole childhood. It doesn’t matter if Joan has a great open adoption and Heather’s got slammed shut.

None of that really tells you how you will feel or you child will feel or how the adoptive parents will really act or what the future holds.

So now, you should be taking in ALL the possibilities from EVERYONE that has come before you and yes, you can make an adoption plan with the best of intentions. You can see a vision of a close loving relationship where you get access to your child and are treated like a beloved aunt and friend. You can imagine a time of sadness, but expect that what matters to you now, your hopes and dreams and goals, will come to fruition.

Your adoption plan is what you think you want and how you hope it will go down, but you want it to be like right now doesn’t matter either because like labor, you really won’t be in control once you sign the relinquishment consent. That signature gives up ALL control.

Adoption plan birthmothr griefSo if you don’t heed the horror stories and only clutch that happy adoption plan to your bosom like a comfortable woobie, then you won’t listen to anything until it is too late. And you’ll let the potential adoptive couple in the hospital room, and make them all happy, and trust them with your baby, and sign your motherhood away. But it’s going to be late at night when you Just. Cannot. Stop. Crying. or if you do find that it isn’t happy-happy-buddy-buddy-land like you wanted, and the door of that “open” adoption gets slammed in your face, you realize that “your adoption plan” was just as worthless as that birthing plan. And you are going to have to do whatever it takes to just keep breathing because you must. You have no choice.

And at some point you might find that you are not as “unready” as you though you were and that you trusted the wrong people who did not live up to their words and this actual being a birthmother really is not all it is cracked up to be  because the only thing that matters is that you can’t see your baby. And that hurts unlike anything you could have possibly imagined. And no class, no online group, and no agency “birthmother counseling”  is going to be able to prepare you for that except to say that there is not quite anything else in the world like it.

The difference is that since you are pregnant you HAVE to go through the labor, but you do NOT have to go thought the adoption.

I can tell you that the pain from labor fades.

I cannot say the same about adoption.

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Claudia Corrigan DArcy

About Claudia Corrigan DArcy

Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.
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3 Responses to Birthing, Labor, and Adoption Relinquishment

  1. VegHipMama says:

    Wow. What great insight that is. I hope every prospective “birth” mother reads your words and realizes you speak the truth. They really have no idea what they’re signing up for.

  2. Penni says:

    Wow. You’re awesome. Simply awesome. :)

  3. Ariel says:

    Women are made for the pain of labor. Our bodies and minds have the strength to get through it. Nobody is intended to experience the pain of giving their baby up. That is the pain she should be worried about. We’re made to keep our own children and take care of them.The alternative is extremely damaging.

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