Can I hold my baby?“Dear Mardie,
I’m 17 and pregnant…I have no support from my parents or the father of the baby, I don’t have a decent job, I don’t have a stable home, and I’m now 7 months along. I have already found some totally cool parents that will be able to really spoil her and give her everything she needs and wants.

So, where is the problem? I’m having major second thoughts. I want to keep her. When I lie awake at night thinking and she’s kicking me…I just start crying. Thinking about giving her to someone else is really hard—someone else holding her all the time, her going to another mother when she cries, someone else calling her their baby, not mine.

Here is my question – at the hospital, will I be able to hold my baby, or will they just take her away? I know I’m going to give my baby up for adoption, for a better life. I feel like I’m being totally selfish, with my thoughts and feelings. What’s the best way to get a grip and move on over something like this big, without going nuts?”


Dear Allie,

This can be a hard time, especially if you don’t have support at home. Your feelings are real and your emotions can’t be turned off or ignored. They will come up later in life, and later might not be as good a time as now to deal with them. Believe me—you want to work through this and find support from women who can help you. Lifetime can offer you peer counseling at no cost to you, from women who’d made an adoption plan for their child in the past.

Thinking about the “what if’s” is normal, but it will make this harder for you. Of course, most women facing an unplanned pregnancy never thought they would be pregnant before they were ready to be a mother. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Adoption is a big decision. I speak with many women who wish they had gone through with adoption instead of exposing their children to years of poverty and struggling. Not all women can follow through with an adoption plan. This has to be your decision. It sounds as if you have done some soul searching and are still struggling with the idea of someone else being mom instead of you.

Have you made plans for your future? Experts agree that when a woman has a goal and a plan for her future, one that she can see herself in for the time after birth, she has some hope and direction. The pain and sadness aren’t removed, but it does help while you’re healing to be able to think about your plans.  If you don’t have a plan for right after your baby is born, start thinking now of what you would really like to do with your life. Maybe you want to continue your education. Visit for information on birth mother college scholarships.

Try to meet with a counselor to sort out your feelings. Speak with the adoptive parents. Getting to know them better might help you.

What you do must be your decision and the best decision for your daughter.

Take time to seek out the help and support you need before you give birth. As you ask questions and seek help, you will find many people willing to help you move closer to a future you want and one your child will thank you for.

I wish you the very best,


Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally-recognized adoption expert and the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Agency. She has been working in adoption since 1986 and is also an award-winning author and speaker.

Mardie knows the sorrow of coping with infertility, and is an adoptive parent who experienced many of the challenges adoptive families might face. In various media appearances worldwide, publications, and her podcast, Mardie important steps that must be taken to complete a safe and secure adoption. Having adopted her son, Mardie knows firsthand the joys of raising an adopted child.

Mardie’s life mission is to help adoptive parents and birth parents find each other. With Lifetime Adoption Agency, she seeks to build happy families and provide precious infants and children with a loving and secure future.