A Voice for Birth Moms: The Importance of Community
By Katherine, a birth mom advocate
My fingers frantically typed on my keyboard: “Birth mother support group.” I hit the search button and waited. I placed one hand on my growing belly and hoped I could find someone who could understand. Someone who could offer advice. Someone who had endured a similar experience. Someone who could answer my questions. Someone who would value my opinions. Someone. Anyone. There must be other birth moms out there, I thought. I glanced at the screen and waited to see what the search engine could find.
I found out I was pregnant immediately after graduating from high school. With plans to begin college in the fall, I carefully weighed my options. I had a heartrending choice to either parent or make an adoption plan. After much consideration, I decided not to parent. At the time, I was not in a stable relationship and couldn’t provide the care required for my baby. So, I visited a local pregnancy clinic where I discussed adoption as an alternative and learned that not only could I choose the adoptive parents for my child, but I could have a relationship with them. I left the clinic with a renewed sense of hope and went home to discuss the idea of adoption with close friends and family as well as seek the Lord’s guidance in prayer. I became enveloped with peace that adoption was the right decision for me and my child.
Searching for a Community
During my pregnancy, I craved interaction with other birth moms. I wanted to know if they had similar emotions to mine; if they had fears, worries or unanswered questions. I wanted to know if other birth moms shared the same story as my own. I opened my computer and began researching for birth mom support groups in my area.
One of the first search results was a page called “Birth Mom Buds.” I clicked on the site and discovered a group where birth moms can connect with other women who are currently pregnant and thinking about adoption and want to talk to other people who have been through the adoption journey. I smiled, relieved to know there were other birth moms on the same journey as mine. I joined the group and was matched with a girl named Jennifer who sent e-mails and connected me with an online adoption community. Through this community, I felt I belonged to a large group of birth mom “sisters.” Jennifer helped to add me to numerous Facebook groups where everyone welcomed me with loving words and encouraging notes. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone anymore. My community of birth moms gave me hope about my future and brought a sense of healing. There was even mention of birth mom retreats, although I was living far away from most of the girls and couldn’t attend. I wished there were more options where I lived.
Support After Placement
I placed my sweet son for adoption with an incredible and amazing family.
As I stepped outside the hospital without my baby son I was overcome with grief. Yet through the grace of God and tremendous support, I found comfort and the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
Faced with a myriad of emotions, I realized I needed more support than my Facebook group could offer. I wanted face-to-face interaction with other birth moms and someone to hold my hand in the healing process. I reached out to counselors, church friends, and others in the my community to see if a support group already existed. Unfortunately, there were few options available. With my growing need to speak with other birth moms, I decided to attend a retreat called, “Tied at the Heart,” hosted by one of my Facebook groups.
Connecting with Other Birth Moms
The retreat changed my life. It confirmed what I knew in my heart—that birth moms need a place to support and connect to one another. Women who had placed a child one year-to twenty-eight years earlier attended the conference. At the retreat, we discussed a variety of relatable topics including coping with grief, methods of healing, speaking our truths, as well as forgiveness. After hearing different stories and perspectives, I felt prompted to one day establish a support group in Western Colorado. Later, some local birth moms and I initiated a birth parent panel discussion on what adoption looks like from all different sides of the triad. Several members of our community came and listened to a wonderful panel of birth moms, birth dads, adoptive parents, and adoptees. My heart soared to watch our community grow and support myself and others impacted by adoption.
Ways to Find Support
Every birth mom needs a supportive community. Here are some way for a birth mom to find caring and loving support:
Get Involved with a Facebook Group
There are several great online community groups for birth moms! Some great options include:
Caring for Birth Moms
Tied at the Heart
Modern Birth Mom
Find Birth Moms in Your Area
Talk to an adoption agency to find other birth moms who might be interested in getting together one-on-one or as a group. Having other birth moms as friends has been incredible helpful and erased loneliness in my adoption journey.
Attend a Birth Mom Retreat
A retreat is a wonderful opportunity for support whether you’ve placed a child one-year ago, or more than twenty years ago! It is a place for healing and connection with other birth moms. For me, learning from other’s perspectives has been invaluable.
Katherine is currently a senior in college studying social work and music. A birth mom advocate, she is passionate in sharing her story with the adoption community. In her free time, Katherine enjoys playing with her dog, Willy, and singing in her choir at school.