Top 8 Myths about Birth Mothers to Stop Believing
Many people carry assumptions and myths about birth mothers, judging them for things that simply aren’t true. Birth mothers are real people, just like anyone else. It’s not as simple as placing them into a box, expecting all birth mothers to be more or less the same person. At Adoption Choices of New York, we want people to understand how birth mothers are all different, nuanced people, who just happened to come to the same decision for various reasons.
- Myth: Birth mothers regret their decision
Some people will immediately judge a birth mother and assume her thoughts and feelings about her adoption journey. They imagine her in her final moments with her child and cannot fathom why she would let somebody else raise her child. The truth is, the nature of this decision, its innate difficulty, makes it very rare that a birth mother changes her mind once her choice is defined. A lot of thought and care went into her choice to seek a better future for her child. Just because it’s difficult and often emotional does not mean that she cannot choose the best path for her and her baby.
- Myth: Birth mothers are cold hearted and don’t care about their baby
Many will find it so difficult to wrap their minds around placing their baby for adoption that they assume the birth mother feels no attachment to her child. That she is cold hearted, uncaring and unfeeling with her choice to have another family raise her child. But this could not be further from the truth!
The choice to place your baby for adoption requires love, care and forethought about the baby’s best possible path. Even if you choose a closed adoption, this does not mean that you don’t care about your baby. You may need to protect your privacy, or feel it would be too emotionally heavy to hear about your child. There’s nuance to human emotion that is never as simple as being cold or not caring.
- Myth: Birth mothers do not want to connect with their child
There is a common myth about birth mothers that they want to send their child away and not think about them ever again. Even in a closed adoption, this misconception that they don’t “want” to connect their child isn’t necessarily true. A birth mother may value her privacy highly, think openness would be too complicated, or see it as more beneficial to her child to not have any contact at all, which puts her wants lower on the scale. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t ever think about her child.
There are different kinds of adoption that allow for updates on the adoptee’s wellbeing, ranging all the way to direct contact in some very open adoptions. Many birth mothers and adoptive parents see benefit in incorporating the birth mother into the bigger picture of the family.
However, not all open or semi-open adoptions keep such openness. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want any connection: they may just value the boundaries of adoption, but will still want to hear updates about their child from the adoptive family. The birth mother loves their child and would like to hear updates about him or her, but prefers open communication.
- Myth: Birth mothers are all teen moms
Yes, many teenagers find themselves in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy. The teen-aged birth mother may choose to place her baby for adoption, but this doesn’t account for all birth mothers. Adoption is never a one size fits all scenario, and while the stereotype of teenage birth mothers exists, it’s not always the case.
There are many different types of birth mothers of all different ages who choose adoption for various reasons. Some birth mothers already have children, others are in abusive relationships, others simply do not have the resources to care for a child. And the reasons a birth mother will place her baby for adoption don’t stop there. Just like anyone else, birth mothers are real people with complex emotions and backgrounds.
- Myth: Birth mothers will try to get their child back
When people imagine the journey a birth mother goes through, many will picture the moment the doctor asks the birth mother if she’d like to hold her baby. She’ll say yes, look into her baby’s eyes, be filled with regret, and refuse to relinquish her child. Or worse, fight to get her child back after she’s signed the papers.
As people, we love a good, emotional story, but this scenario is rare. A birth mother often has her full pregnancy to come to terms with what she wants; she has support groups, adoption specialists, and her own mind to help decide what’s best for her and her child. Once a birth mother has decided on adoption and has chosen an adoptive family for her child, her decision is pretty set in stone, even if natural emotions of grief come with her choice.
- Myth: Birth mothers fear their child will hate her
Some picture the adoptee as someone who hates their birth mother and is permanently angry at her for “giving her child away.” The truth is, most adoptees come to terms with the fact that they are adopted, and their adoptive parents will help them understand why their birth mother could not raise them.
Most birth parents don’t keep the matter of adoption a secret — they know it’s better for the adoptee to know where he or she came from. This way, the child can come to understand the birth mother’s circumstances. Occasionally in open adoptions, the adoptee and birth mother may have a relationship! Not all families prefer this kind of adoption, but it can work.
- Myth: Birth mothers will not take care of herself during her pregnancy
Once a birth mother decides to place her baby for adoption that means she doesn’t care about him or her, right? Nope! This is just another myth about birth mothers. Just because she does not wish to raise her child does not mean that she doesn’t love him or her. She still wants to keep her baby safe in the nine month period that her baby is under her care. She still cares for her child’s well-being after the birth, yet she just strongly believes that her child would have a better future with the adoptive family.
While it’s true that some birth mothers are ill and dealing with addiction, and therefore may harm the child, not all birth mothers face this struggle. Additionally, some birth mothers facing addiction manage to curb the habit during pregnancy. On top of that, many drug-addicted babies grow up to be happy, healthy adults.
- Myth: Birth mothers take the easy way out by choosing adoption
The birth mother is taking the easy way out by not raising her child. She thinks she cannot raise her child, but any mother can, and it’s a mother’s job to raise her child, whether she believes she has the means to or not. This is completely false! It is a difficult choice to place one’s baby for adoption. One that comes from a great amount of love, and the hope that her child will have a bright future some day.
An adoption journey can be transformative and extremely difficult, even if it’s the right choice for the birth mother and her child. The idea that adoption is the easy way out is a dangerous line of thought that could lead to the birth mother feeling forced into raising her child when she does not have the means to. Adoption is a completely valid and often wise choice that can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. When a birth mother places her child for adoption, it doesn’t make her a bad or weak person. She is strong, brave, and hopeful for making a tough choice for her and her child.
Every Birth Mother through Adoption is Different
The bottom line is: adoption is never a one size fits all scenario. Each birth mother is her own person, who comes to decide on adoption for her own individual reasons. These myths about birth mothers are easily debunked once you come to understand a birth mother’s choice.
At Adoption Choices of New York, we treat every birth mother like her own person, never making assumptions about her age or judgments on her choices. Adoption is a brave decision that all different women may come to in a lifetime; one that can make a great difference in a child’s life.
Meet the Author: Tara Giuffre has always loved reading and writing and grew up in the worlds of Narnia, Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Taking this passion for stories, she received a degree from Rutgers University in Journalism & Media. Besides writing, she likes long walks on the beach, spending time with her family (and her cat, Sansa), and baking the perfect loaf of bread.
She enjoys sharing vital information about adoption and birth mothers choosing adoption to families making important choices for their future family!