“One kind word can change someone’s entire day.”
Making a plan for adoption is one of the hardest decisions a prospective birth mother will ever make in her life. It takes an insurmountable amount of courage and humility. Honestly coming to a place within yourself and admitting that another family would raise your child and provide a better life for them — not easy by any means.
In a previous article, featured on Adoption Choices of Nevada, harmful and negative words to say to a birth mother were explored. Below, a more positive twist. This is in no way an exhaustive inventory, but will hopefully be a guiding light to others who struggle when thinking about what to say. Phrasing becomes vital in situations surrounding adoption. Even if you have the best intentions. It’s best to be mindful of your words, and speak as positively as possible.
Kind words can make all the difference.
I’m here for you, whatever choice you make
When faced with a tough decision, what is the natural response? What is the first thing we tend to do? Reach out to friends and family, of course. We crave their opinions. Suggestions. Guidance. The same goes for a prospective birth mother. She yearns to hear thoughts and encouragement. To reach out and see who will support her, to journey with her in the challenging days ahead.
Undoubtedly, she will be met with mixed emotions. Not everyone will be happy about it, and some will be more vocal about their dislike than others. However, those negative words aren’t what she needs. Let her know that you’re there for her — and actually mean it. Don’t just say it because it sounds good. She needs honesty. To know that no matter what, she won’t receive any judgement from you. Feelings of shame and guilt go hand-in-hand with a choice like adoption, so it’s essential that she knows where her safety net is. Where she can go on her darkest of days and find comfort. A hug. Anything she needs.
Knowing that you are there for her no matter what will do wonders.
I know I can’t understand completely, but I’m here when you need to talk
This statement is perfectly ok to say because it communicates clearly where you’re at with her decision. It tells her that even though you may or may not fully agree with her choice, you’ll be a free shoulder for her to cry on or a listening ear. Someone she can come to when she feels overwhelmed.
Again — only say this if you actually mean it and are willing to keep up with your half of the promise. This statement carries with it a promise of trust and security that the birth mother will deeply appreciate. Pregnancy and making a plan for adoption is a very personal journey, so be sure that you’re comfortable listening and hearing everything she will have to say and share. It’ll be huge help for her.
It may not seem like much, but saying this to a prospective birth mother emphasizes an abundant amount of support and respect. This is something else the birth mother wants. Coming to the conclusion that parenting isn’t the best choice for her is excruciating. She doesn’t want that to negatively mark her or make anyone see her as less of a human. It’s a decision she will leave with and grieve for the rest of her life.
What can I do to help?
There’s nothing more positive and reassuring than being the one who doesn’t pressure a birth mother into anything. Asking for help in a situation like this can be vulnerable, so leaving the door open for her is awesome. It also eliminates the risk of you intentionally involving yourself in her personal journey without permission.
Unplanned pregnancies are unpredictable, and every birth mother is different. Depending on your relationship with the birth mother, too, she will may only involve you however much she’s comfortable with. For instance, if she mainly offers you to run errands and find foods to match her cravings from time to time, that’s still being a big help to her. If you knows and trusts you more, she may ask for rides to doctor appointments or childcare if she has additional kids.
But, this question is a very good one because it lets her know you are an open door if she feels comfortable or needs someone to help her out.
You are enough
As aforementioned, a birth mother making a plan for adoption will come with a lot of deep emotions. Insecurities may surface. Fears. Take her admitting that she won’t be the best parent to her child. Even if she does this and is completely sincere and honest with herself, her mind can still plague her with doubts. Tell her that she isn’t a good person. That she herself isn’t enough.
When there’s an opportunity — remind her that she is enough. That she made the best choice she possibly could for her child. At the end of the day, that’s why she is choosing this. To provide her child with their best chance at life.
Parenting isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t make admitting it any less difficult. Especially for a birth mother. She doesn’t need judgement or criticism for choosing adoption for her child. For honestly and humbly admitting that another family could provide a better life for him or her. No. She needs comfort, encouragement and respect. She’s going to battle guilt. Shame. Depression. Grief. Thus, she needs a strong support system, and people she feels safe surrounding herself with during her journey.
Make sure before reaching out, though, that you’re 100% committed to helping her. There will be plenty of half-hearted, “I know how you feel” and “let me know if you need anything” responses she may get; but, she needs to know who is being completely honest with her. It’s crucial that she knows where her true supporters are. So, if you feel comfortable doing that, then she’ll be forever grateful.
Remember — speak love. Truth. Compassion. Show her that you care by reaching out and offering to be a friend and confidant if there’s ever a need. It will make all the difference in the world to her.
“3 Encouraging Things To Say To A Birth Mom.” Adoption.com, adoption.com/3-encouraging-things-to-say-to-a-birth-mom.
“4 Things Your Child’s Birth Mother Won’t Tell You (But Wishes She Could).” Adoption.com, adoption.com/things-the-birth-mother-of-your-child-wont-tell-you.
“5 Things Not to Say to a Prospective Birth Mother – And What to Say Instead.” American Adoptions – Tennessee Adoption Laws | Adoption Laws in TN, 10 Apr. 2018, www.americanadoptions.com/blog/5-things-not-to-say-to-a-prospective-birth-mother-and-what-to-say-instead/.