I was recently asked the following on a previous post about searching for a therapist. "Have you found many though with birth mother experience? By my searching I’d guess there are about 5 in the entire world! Am I just not looking in the right places? I understand the basis of this question on a core level. When I first came to the conclusion that I needed some professional help to process the grief and loss associated with relinquishment, I actually contacted the agency through which I placed. I'm not quite sure why I did this as they didn't provide me with any counseling prior to the birth and relinquishment of my firstborn but I thought it was a good place to start… [more]
Hopefully I have convinced you that seeking help from a therapist is not a bad thing. I won't leave you hanging with that thought though; I'm going to give you some tips on how to seek out a therapist with experience in birth parent grief and loss. It's not an easy task but it is possible. Questions to ask yourself first:
- Do you want a same sex therapist or a therapist of the opposite sex? Some people relate better to members of the same gender while others feel freer with someone of the opposite gender.
- Does your insurance cover mental health services? If not, what is your current budget? You need to find that out ahead of time as some therapists work on a sliding scale. Knowing this information
Just a few days ago I talked about some signs that you might be experiencing that would make therapy a beneficial decision in your life. I know some people read it and thought, "But I'm strong! I can do this!" I know you thought those things because I once thought them as well. In fact, I thought I was pretty darn awesome! I went through the normal stages of grief after the denial wore off. I then began to work on improving my life. As that began to happen, I thought, "Wow, look at this! All this stuff has fallen into place! I still miss my daughter but I'm going to be okay!" And then one thing happened and my walls came tumbling down. Apparently I had slipped… [more]
I often advise birth parents to seek out a therapist or counselor. Many times people don't want to do such a thing, claiming that they can deal with their issues on their own. I was once a member of that choir. I didn't want to admit that I needed help or that I had issues that were really above and beyond my scope of understanding. However, when I finally did so, my life began to change, to improve. How do you know if you need a therapist? Usually you have a gut-feeling that something isn't right and that you'd like to fix it but you can't quite figure out how. Here is a (non-comprehensive) list of things that might lean in that direction.
- Your anxiety is keeping
A question was posed over on the forums recently. A member asked, "Do I need counseling?" She asked as she was dealing with some new emotions that had come to the surface since the relinquishment of her child. My answer, after reading her post, was simple. If you find yourself asking the question as to whether or not you need counseling, the default answer should always be, "Yes." First and foremost, we should talk about how attending therapy or counseling do not automatically write you off as being unstable or any other negative connotation associated with seeking help. In fact, it should be a sign that you are able to recognize your own emotional needs and are responsive to the fact that a third party's input could be… [more]
I realized that in the past when I have discussed searching for a therapist, I left out a possible resource. I apologize to my readers as it is based solely on my experience. I forgot to consider that every birth parent didn't place through an unethical agency and therefore has a great potential resource at their fingertips. That said: Don't forget to call your agency! Any ethical agency worth dealing with will have a list of resources for you to utilize in your post-placement healing process. Some agencies even host a group for birth parents that is either a formal therapy (with a counselor/therapist present) or just a group of those who have been through similar circumstances sharing with one another. While the latter doesn't seem… [more]
The infamous and sometimes scary "first week home" has been completed. We survived. Yes, we're somewhat sleep deprived but otherwise we're fairing quite well. We're learning how to be a four person immediate family instead of just three. We're learning how to juggle a two year old child's inability to understand things outside of their immediate desires coupled with a newborn child's need to have their immediate needs met, well, immediately! Basically, we are learning a bunch of things in a short amount of time. It's like an intense crash course in parenting with no end in sight! On top of all that, I've got some swinging hormones, the Munchkin's birthday in just over a week, the looming holidays, laundry and my normal anxiety (which is only… [more]
A question was recently posed on the forums: Should expectant parents be required by law to have counseling before and or after they relinquish their rights? The results of the poll currently stand at 9 yeses, 5 nos and one other. The discussion that followed provided some interesting commentary on the ins and outs as to why requiring it, by law, may or may not help expectant parents or the system of adoption as a whole. I, personally, said yes but acknowledged the problems that you can run into when requiring such a thing by law. Your less than ethical agencies will simply want to provide counseling from "in house" to help them save money. I am of the firm belief that counseling needs to… [more]
It was one of those therapy sessions that was sorely needed. The holidays have just ended which also involved my son's first birthday and the Munchkin's third birthday. Oh, two visits in two months time. L's first meeting with J, D and the Munchkin. Let's not forget that was my first time seeing L since April of 2003. The whole Associated Press ordeal which included both praise and fallout. My D&C and hysteroscopy and most recent news from the doctor. It's been a crazy two months... without therapy. Today I was allowed to sit on a couch, clutch a pillow and spill my guts. Oh, what a relief. I talked about how all of the above mentioned hoopla combined with the day-in and day-out… [more]
I thought maybe it was hard to find a therapist with any iota of experience in birth parent grief and loss because I live in the middle of nowheresville. I blamed it on rural life which brings about less resources, less people and less discussion about adoption on the whole. Of course, after a bitter, two year search, I found my wondrous therapist. However, today's article in the Detroit News helped me understand a little more. Well, I mean, I guess I already understood but, in essence, it helped validate my horrendous experience of locating and securing a helpful and understanding therapist. The article, entitled "Birth mothers: 'least understood and most stigmatized'," hits on the facts of how birth mothers are often neglected in… [more]