An expectant mother recently posted on the forums. She’s considering relinquishment. Someone advised her to talk to “middle aged” “birth mothers” as they will have the best advice regarding placement.
I kind of have a problem with that advice.
Not that I don’t love my “middle aged” “birth mother” friends. In fact, I’ve learned a lot from them about various issues connected to adoption. Beyond that, they’ve taught me a lot about healing, personal responsibility and even thrown some parenting advice into the mix. I’m not silly enough to suggest that talking to these mothers would not be beneficial to someone considering relinquishment.
But they’re not the only group that expectant mothers should be querying.
Those considering relinquishment should be talking to everyone touched by adoption. Not even just birth mothers and biological fathers. Adoptive parents. Adoptees (even those who are anti-contact). And, yes, birth mothers. Those who have relinquished recently and those who relinquished decades ago.
Maybe the person who offered up this advice to the expectant mother realized that many new birth mothers, in that first year post-placement, are in a state of denial. Maybe that person knew many of us who offered up advice that now makes us cringe when we remember it. Maybe that person was just trying to protect this mother from skewed advice. And I get that logic. I do. I cringe when I think about some of the things I said in that first post-placement year. But that doesn’t mean that these mothers should be avoided.
First year birth mothers have some valuable input that many of us have lost. They are closer to the immediacy of their loss and can remember details that many of us have forgotten, either purposefully or subconsciously. They can offer up specific information about being in the hospital that I honestly have no way of recollecting at this time. They can give better detail about the actual relinquishment process. They can help a mother from their own state be better versed on laws, especially as they may have changed since other birth mothers placed.
But first year birth mothers, as well, shouldn’t be the only ones being approached by expectant mothers.
They, the first year birth mothers, should be taken as part of a whole. Older birth mothers who have spent more years dealing with their adoptions should be willing to tell their stories as well. More importantly, those with years under their belt should try to remember that first year and be honest about their experience so that an expectant mother can then begin to piece together the healing journey that birth mothers go through and how that first year is just one of the first steps towards some semblance of healing.
And so, what I’m saying in a long and wordy fashion, is that you, as a birth parent, should be willing to share your story with expectant parents. Perhaps you have a great experience. You need to share it to ensure that, should the parents sign those relinquishment forms, those parents could also have a good experience. Perhaps you have a mediocre experience. Sharing it will hopefully let an expectant family pick and choose what they do and do not want from learning through your story. Perhaps you have an awful, horror story kind of experience. Sharing it will help expectant parents know what to avoid. (Of course, all of this is based upon the hope that the expectant parents are listening to you. You can’t force that. You can just share.)
Have you shared your story with an expectant parent considering placement? How did it go?