As you make an adoption plan for your baby, you’re probably focused on making sure that he or she will be taken care of. But are you making sure to take care of yourself, too?
It can be easy to forget to take some time to focus on yourself and to take care of yourself. Birth mothers often get so focused on their baby and the adoption that they forget their health and emotional state are important too.
You may have found an adoption agency, created the adoption plan, and chosen the right adoptive family, but don’t forget to take some time to pamper yourself a little. Here are four self-care tips for birth mothers that will help you stay both mentally and physically healthy.
Good Food and Exercise
Be sure you’re eating well and getting enough exercise every day. Doing this can make a big difference in how you feel. Pregnancy takes a lot out of your body, and those hormones are all over the place. So, be sure you’re:
- Drinking lots of water
- Eating healthy fruits, whole grains, veggies, and lean proteins
- Getting lots of sleep
- Taking prenatal vitamins
- Walking or taking a yoga class
If you’re struggling to eat well and exercise, ask a friend to help you stay on track for the next few months. It always helps to have someone cheering you on to the finish line.
Being healthy and fit will help your labor and delivery, plus it’ll be easier to lose the pregnancy weight. And most importantly, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you provided your baby a good healthy start in life.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
This one might just be the most important of all our self-care tips for birth mothers. If you’re struggling with anger at yourself or feeling guilty about being in this situation, try to cut yourself some slack. Many women have found themselves in an unplanned pregnancy.
It’s important to be kind to yourself and move on so you can receive healing and peace. Talk with your adoption coordinator about meeting with a counselor. As you talk with them about your feelings, you can begin the healing process you deserve.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
With all you’ve got going on, it’s important to surround yourself with people who can support you throughout the process. It doesn’t matter if they’re your family or friends, or your church Bible study group, or co-workers. They should be people with whom you feel completely comfortable talking about anything.
Set up regular times to hang out with these folks so you can let them know how you’re doing and ask for their help if you need it. Avoid negative people who are critical or judgmental of your decision to adopt. They can be toxic and cause you to second guess your decisions.
If you don’t have anyone in your life who supports your adoption plans, lean on your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime. We have many resources and support for you online, licensed counseling, access to adoption attorneys, peer support, a wide variety of adoptive parents to pick from, help via text and phone 24/7, and so much more. Lifetime Adoption provides this support to you before, during, and after the adoption.
Find Positive Ways to Express Your Feelings
Being in an unexpected pregnancy and choosing adoption for your baby are both emotional experiences. You may feel a variety of emotions throughout the adoption process. You may feel happy and sad at the same moment. You may feel like screaming with anger at how hard this decision is and then cry at how relieved you feel that you’ve found the perfect adoptive family for your child.
This emotional roller coaster is exhausting but very normal. Lots of birth mothers have felt like you. Over time, your emotions will level out, but for now, try to find positive ways to channel your emotions. Find different outlets that allow you to express yourself and how you’re feeling. Here are some suggestions you can try:
- Explore journaling
Writing down how you’re feeling is a great way to ease your emotions. The act of writing them down often helps elevate these feelings and enables you to figure out what’s going on inside your heart.
- Find a hobby
Many birth mothers start a new hobby. For example, sign up to take a class with a friend to learn knitting, drawing, or painting. These hobbies can help you find an outlet for your many feelings.
- Connect with a birth mother
Your adoption coordinator can connect you with a peer support counselor, a woman who has been where you are right now. All of our peer support counselors are women who have been where you are and have faced the same choices you are. It’s like having your own birth mother support group. There is no charge for peer counseling through Lifetime.
Start Your New Life
Once the adoption is complete, you can begin your new life. Many birth mothers choose this time to get a fresh start. Perhaps you want to move to another location or get a new job. It’s a time to explore your dreams that got put on hold. Do you want to return to school or get a certification in a new field of work? Perhaps you’d like to take that trip you’ve always dreamed of?
You can begin your new life, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you chose life for your baby, a loving family to raise them, and you will be part of their life in the years to come.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.