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Birth moms go through grief. We can help.

If you’ve placed your child for adoption, you’ve made an incredibly difficult decision. You may feel that it was the right choice for you and your child, but that still doesn’t make it an easy thing to do.

Right now, you are navigating the grief, loss and pain that accompanies adoption. These feelings may always live inside you — but you can heal and grow stronger around them. Grief counseling is the first step.

Give us a call, and we can connect you to help. Or email
If you’re in danger or at risk of hurting yourself or others, please call 911 immediately.

Grief in adoption

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve a loss. Timing is different for everyone, and it can feel different every time. We hope this information can help as you navigate your grief and feelings of loss after placing a child for adoption.
What does grief feel like?

Grief comes with mixed emotions

There’s no right or wrong way to feel. Emotions are one of the few things that belong only to us — and no one can take them away.
You might feel several emotions at once, or you might feel one emotion very strongly. 

You might feel:

  • Very sad
  • Depressed
  • Angry
  • Happy for the adoptive family
  • Excited for your baby
  • Relieved that this pregnancy has ended
  • Sad that this pregnancy has ended

Remember: all of these feelings are normal. We encourage you to feel your feelings as they come to you.

How do I cope with those emotions?

Handling your grief

Understanding the stages of grief

It’s been said that there are five stages of grief:
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Don’t think of these stages as a checklist. You’ll move back and forth between them, and your grief will grow with you through life. One day you may be sad beyond belief, and the next you may be angry. For a while you may feel okay and think you’ve reached acceptance, but the next day everything you see may make you want to cry.

Grief isn’t a journey with a clear finish line. Everything you’re feeling is valid and a natural part of the grieving process.

Being honest with your emotions

Emotions change. Whether they’re good or bad, whether you’ve felt them for a long time or just a little while, they will definitely change. And as they change, it’s so important that you’re honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.

If you need to cry, cry! If you need to yell, yell! And when you need someone to talk to, we’ve got your back! Reach out to our team 317-255-5916

Recognizing trauma

Adoption is only one part of your story. It’s not uncommon for women who have unintended pregnancies to also face other forms of trauma in their lives — and that trauma has a very real effect on your physical and emotional health on top of the grief you’re feeling.

If you’ve experienced any of these sources of trauma, we may be able to connect you to resources and support in your community.

  • Poverty
  • Lack of safe, reliable housing
  • Abuse from a partner
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental illness
  • The incarceration of a family member
  • A death in the family

Practicing self-care

One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling grief is to practice self-care. Here are just a few ideas to help you relax and center yourself.

  • Light a candle
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Write down your feelings
  • Draw a picture of what you’re feeling
  • Take a nap under a cozy blanket

Adoption grief counseling for birth moms

Grief counseling is an absolutely free service provided by qualified, licensed therapists. Generally we find that meeting every other week or once a month can help birth moms process the complex feelings they may experience after placing their child for adoption.

If you’re ready to get started, we’ve got just the gal for you. Allison Musellman, MSW, is a therapist who works with our birth moms to process their feelings around adoption placement.

Some women process an upcoming visit with their child’s adoptive family, or their own family’s response to placement. Others choose to work on long-term grief work. Whatever the topic, our birth mom loves working with Allison — and we think you will, too!