What Birth Mothers Need

Dawn Davenport


Birth mothers in adoption

Our child’s birth mother becomes a part of our family. What do they need from us?

It is not up to adoptive parents to “fix” their childs birth mother or birth father. That is not what most want or expect. They do, however, deserve our understanding.

Of all the members of the adoption triad (adoptee, adoptive parent, and birth parent), we hear least from birthparents. There are probably lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is shame. That was why I was particularly happy to find Jill, a really great first mom blogger at The Happiest Sad.  She is funny, insightful, and one heck of a writer!

Jill placed her daughter in 2009. She now has “a career of sorts, an apartment, a car, and mental health…” and she knows way too many birth moms who can’t say the same.

Since she’s considered a “success”, social worker and adoptive parents have asked her what helped her and what can they do to help the birth mothers they care about. Ahh, the burden of success! Jill’s insight is worth reading.

I’m expected to have some exclusive insight as a birth mother. But all I can think of is how right after placement, there was almost no help on earth for me – not that there was none offered, but that nothing worked. The only thing that made me happy was seeing my baby girl and how well she was doing. I lived for her and for those moments. Other than that, there was too much going on to be helped by any single entity or program. I had too many different issues.

That’s the real gist of it, isn’t it? There are always too many things going on in a birth mother’s life. We can talk all we want about how there ought to be support and programs to help women who have just placed a child for adoption deal with that issue. And I’m not saying those things aren’t important. But what we’re forgetting is that so often, an unplanned pregnancy isn’t the overarching problem. It’s a symptom. When a woman is facing an unplanned pregnancy in the kind of situation where she’s considering and choosing adoption, the pregnancy isn’t her problem. If you want to help a birth mom, you have to realize that. …

Not that there’s ever one single underlying issue. There are dozens. Low self-esteem, co-dependence, abuse, depression, anxiety, daddy issues… sometimes it’s a combination. But part of what makes placement so gut-wrenching is that you’ve got the grief of placing a child layered on top of these other issues that were never treated. In my personal experience, if you want to help a birth mom, you have to help restore her sense of self-worth.

Doesn`t that take your breath away! Please read the rest of her great blog: If You Want to Help a Birth Mother.

P.S. Creating a Family maintains lists of “the best” adoption blogs divided by adoptee, type of adoption, country, and birth mothers, birth families, birth fathers. I strongly recommend that you add a few birthparent blogs to your regular reading.


Image credit: Melissa Segal

25/03/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 18 Comments

18 Responses to What Birth Mothers Need

  1. Avatar cb says:

    We are always talking about how important language is and how using certain language can affect our thought processes. Quite often in adoption, we hear about women with unwanted pregnancies, yet if we rephrased it to say “woman pregnant in unwanted circumstances”, then we might start thinking about the person as an individual and provide proper pastoral care to help get her to a place where she can make as an uncompromised decision as possible. Adoption might still be the answer but it will be an answer made after she has been treated as an individual.

    The above is what I am trying to say wen I talk about adoptions being done through “human service agencies” – I just mean that these agencies are helping the human first and then the important parenting decisions are made when the human is more of a position to make a decision. They do exist in the US by the way.

    • cb: YES [these agencies are helping the human first and then the important parenting decisions are made when the human is more of a position to make a decision. ] And yes, these type of adoption agencies (and other human service agencies) do exist in the US.

  2. Avatar karen says:

    Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing and I will certainly be reading her blog from now on!

  3. Avatar Anon AP says:

    Jill’s post captures one of the reasons that I despise it when people start asking questions about our daughter’s birthmother. They’re always the same questions: “Was she young?” “Did she use drugs?” “Was she illegally in the country?” and the like. Or the side questions, “So…do you know any reason why your daughter was premature?” “Does she have any medical concerns that might have been due to pre-birth exposures?” In other words, “What box can I put her birthmother into?” “How can I objectify this person?” So frustrating. It’s not their business, of course, but there’s such a lack of compassion and empathy in those intrusive, judgmental questions that it’s hard not to snap back. This is our daughter’s mother you’re talking about, people!

  4. Avatar Addie says:

    What a beautiful spirit she is. I checked out her page and in her FAQ’s she said: “Remember that people make mistakes, God doesn’t. Every child is precious and perfect. Your baby is not a mistake, and you are not a bad person. Take the time to consider all of your options. Don’t rush into a decision and don’t let anyone else make the decision for you.” There is something so empowering in that statement. She is wise beyond her years and I’m going to suggest to our birthmother that she tunes in to this blog!

  5. Avatar Greg says:

    Great blog, thanks for sharing.

    She is very honest and real. I definitely will be reading more of her work.

  6. Michelle, I certainly enjoyed her post.

  7. Erin, glad it was helpful. that’s always nice to hear.

  8. Avatar Suzanna says:

    Very interesting post, I hadn’t thought about that for birth mothers before.

  9. Avatar Erin says:

    I really needed this as my son approaches one year and his adoption finalization court date in May, I have been struggling with how to reach out to and help my son’s first mother. This article was great! thanks!

  10. Avatar Robyn C says:

    I love this post! I’ve referenced it at least twice on my own blog and shared it on a group or two as well. Jill is one of my favorite bloggers.

  11. Avatar Michelle says:

    Loved this Dawn! Jill is not only one of my most favorite writers, she’s one of my most favorite people! This is a great post. 🙂

  12. Avatar Christian says:

    Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.