Why the Way You Show Up as a Birth Mom Really Matters

birth mom emotional well beingWhy the Way You Show Up as a Birth Mom Really Matters

As a woman who has placed a child for adoption, you may not be thinking that your emotional wellbeing can also have an impact on the child you placed.

Your Emotional Wellbeing

HOW you show up emotionally in your relationship with your child could change how your child shows up emotionally in the world around them. The ways that you communicate with the adoptive parents can influence how your child feels about his or her adoption. If you’re hostile, critical, or judgmental, your child will adopt those patterns of communication. On the other hand, if you are easygoing, kind, and compassionate, your child’s self-esteem will be increased. He/She will feel valued, you will feel important in your role as a birth mom and you will find the relationship rewarding and nurturing. 
When you communicate well, you allow your child to open up and share his thoughts and feelings. When you communicate badly, you shut down communication and express your disappointment and disapproval. Communication is one of the biggest keys to a healthy adoption experience.

Show Up for Yourself

Life is heavy and it can be hard to step back and take time to do nice things for yourself. Sometimes just the act of waking up, taking a shower, and getting dressed requires massive effort. Whether it’s getting your nails done or making plans with a friend you need to show up for yourself often.

At the moment, you feel like you have more important things to take care of. But you’ll be surprised at the joy you can feel when you do something nurturing for yourself. So today, commit to showering for longer than a five-minute time frame. Go on a three-mile run. Spend an extra half hour in bed watching an inspirational video on youtube. Treat yourself to lunch out or stay in bed and get it delivered. And know that if you take care of yourself, you’ll give your child more permission to do the same.

Show Up for your Child
In fact, the reality is that showing up for your child, is important in many, many ways, particularly the way you show up as a parent. You will take on the role of being a parent in many different ways, and different things may be required of you at various times in the parenting journey.  Even if you have no parenting experience, your adopted child will benefit from knowing that you have a role to play. When it comes to emotional wellbeing, when you care for the feelings of your child, when you show your child how much you care for them, then your relationship with them becomes significantly different. Because they are the most vulnerable, they will need you, and they will respond to you with a higher level of trust.

Sometimes the post-adoption relationship will feel really hard and you may want to skip visits every now and then. It’s not easy to enter in and out of your child’s world. It takes great effort to get your head in the right mental space to show up for this relationship when you carry so much heaviness behind the reality of the decision. Yet, the importance of you showing up is essential to how your child perceives your role and their won value and place in your life.
If able, make a habit of calling or texting your child at least once a week. Increase your knowledge of them as a person and be present in their world. You may not always agree with the way your child’s adoptive parents are handling a certain situation in your child’s life. At times like these, take a step back and realize that they are new at this relationship too and you are not co-parenting but co-nurturing. Let them lead and develop in their role as parents.

Create a Plan

It is important to both you and your child that you work towards a place of peace and acceptance around your adoption decision. This isn’t a choice you can go back on and change. It’s one that all parties have to learn to grow in and live with. It is a unique and complex relationship and all relationships take effort if they are going to succeed. In order to move forward with this type of emotional growth, you will need a battle plan. This could include reaching out to a therapist or counselor to work through the impact this has had on you. It can be helpful to develop a plan with the child’s adoptive parents if your child is still living with them. Developing relationship boundaries is important so everyone can feel more at ease as they know what is expected of them.

If your child is older the boundaries come between you and your child directly. The word boundaries might feel weird to you and if so remember that we have a set of expectations/boundaries in all of our relationships even if we never stopped to consciously talk them out.

Start a Journal. Put your child’s name in a pretty font on the first page. Journaling is an incredibly healing outlet for birth mothers.  And now that journaling is becoming more mainstream as a way to work through emotions, you will find many resources. You can even get an app on your phone that you can journal through each day. Keeping track of how you’re feeling in a private way is a great way to process all the ups and downs in the adoption relationship.

Notice the Difference

Who do you show up as in your life? Are you numbed out and angry? Do you hold it all in and show up as a passive person? Are you always looking for ways to make others happy or comfortable at the expense of your own feelings? Are you someone who focuses on the good in others and feels their pain, no matter how much pain they’re causing you? Are you tolerating an unhealthy relationship because you think that will be better than living alone?  If you can relate, consider the impacts these patterns of thinking can have on your relationships and your relationship with your child.

Your emotional well-being is extremely important to both you and the child you love. Even if they are not in your everyday life you need to get yourself in the best place emotionally for yourself. It will help you physically and mentally and also benefit all those around you. It starts with awareness and the decision that this way of living needs to stop. Then it’s a choice which is something you may not feel you have had control of in your life and taking the steps in the process which include actually DOING the things that will bring you to a better place emotionally. Life is hard but it feels a whole lot easier when we are in a good place in our head. As birth moms, we carry a backpack full of stories that hold us back from becoming all that we are capable of becoming. We can get really good at self-sabotaging because we think we don’t deserve to be happy. Isn’t it time to change this story? The truth is your child would PREFER that you find inner joy and get the help you need emotionally so that they have that much less to deal with when they process their relationship with you.

I’m here for you. Let’s do this beautiful work together.

Leave a Comment