Grief & Loss After Placing Your Baby For Adoption


Some people think that once a mother signs relinquishment papers terminating her parental rights thus becoming a birthmother that the hard part is over. While you are no longer in the process of making a decision, you will experience a profound loss and have to learn how to deal with the grief from that loss. Adoption loss for a birthmother is a grief incomparable to any other grief because you are not grieving for someone who is no longer living. You are grieving over the loss of your everyday motherhood and all that entails. Society doesn’t really understand or even acknowledge this type of grief so often times birthmothers are left isolated and grieving alone. It is very important for your mental health, healing, and sanity that you obtain support for your journey as a birthmother.

There are some different ways to receive support.

  • Support from Your Adoption Professional – If you placed through an adoption agency, chances are they probably offer birthmothers who placed through them some type of post adoption support such as a birthmother support group, post adoption counseling through a social worker, or some other type of post adoption support. When searching for post adoption support, check with the professional who handled your adoption first to see what is available to you.
  • Post Adoption Counseling Through a Third Party – If the adoption professional who handled your adoption does not offer post adoption counseling, you may wish to seek out counseling through a licensed therapist in your community. While there are counselors who specialize in adoption, they are often hard to find and most often they specialize in helping adoptees so you may want to try looking for a counselor who specializes in loss and grief. Also, if finances to pay for counseling are an issue, check with the professional who handled your adoption to see if it is something that they will pay for and how long or try to find a counselor who works on a sliding scale.
  • Birthmother Support Groups – The only people who truly understand the bittersweet grief birthmothers experience are other birthmothers so seeking out the support of other birthmothers is a must. There are a couple of ways to go about this.

    1. Reach out to the adoption professional you placed through to see if they offer a birthmother support group.

    2. If they don’t, then try calling adoption agencies in your city or nearby cities to see if they offer a birthmother support group or know of one. Many times adoption agencies that offer birthmother support groups will open those up to other birthmothers as well, not just birthmothers who placed through them.

    3. Look for online support. There are websites and online networks for birthmothers nowadays such as BirthMom Buds and Big Tough Girl. Both provide support to pregnant women considering adoption as well as birthmothers through their many different programs, chapters, retreats, etc.

    4. There are also a large number of birthmother support groups on different social media outlets nowadays such as Facebook.

You may feel that you can make on your own and that you don’t need to seek out additional support aside from friends and family but moving forward as a birthmother, dealing with your grief, and healing is easier with support.