Six Things We Learned From The Cradle's "A Walk in Their Shoes"
Last year, Cradle staff members hosted a discussion group for birth mothers. We got to know each woman and learn about their unique adoption journey. As what typically happens when a group of amazing, intelligent women get together, important conversation flowed freely. We learned a lot from these incredible mothers, and we think you can, too.
- Not one birth mother regretted their placement. No story was free of complications and hard moments, but every mother felt that their decision to place was the best one for their child.
- Many still feel shame surrounding their unplanned pregnancy. Even years later, many mothers still felt ashamed of the circumstances surrounding the placement of their child. We can help by showing acceptance, and reminding them that no one is judging them. See Janie discuss how this made her feel better.
- They choose their child's family through careful consideration, but many also had that gut feeling that this was the right family. Many birth mothers felt in their hearts that the family they chose was the right one for their child. This proves that being yourself and showing birth mothers who you are will help them, and you, find one another.
- Sometimes they are afraid to tell their child's parents that they are struggling. Visiting their children and their families can be extremely difficult for birth parents. From worrying about how adoptive parents are perceiving them to not knowing how to interact with their children, to fears of rejection, many birth mothers are dealing with unexpressed concerns. See Amanda discuss how this affects her willingness to schedule visits.
- Openness will always be a consistently developing relationship, and it doesn't look the same for everyone. Some birth mothers see their children often, and some rarely, but they all discussed how their openness has changed throughout time. Most importantly, they discussed cooperation with the adoptive parents.
- Birth parents face stigmas about adoption. These birth mothers found that many who are uneducated about adoption often believe the untrue stereotype that birth mothers are drug addicted, unfit mothers. With all the complexities that surround placing a child, birth mothers shouldn't have to deal with unfair stigmas as well. We can help by speaking up in defense of birth parents when we see stereotypes being assumed.
For more insights into what birth mothers feel throughout the adoption process, visit our YouTube playlist, A Walk in Their Shoes.