The healthiest way for birth parents to manage their feelings post-placement is to not suppress them. There is no denying that birth parents will go through waves of grief, anger and regret. In this series of blog posts , we will go over ways to cope and address the post-placement blues. The first step to surviving the first few post-placement years is to embrace grief.
Ways to grieve properly
Writing helps people organize their thoughts and get to the core of what they are feeling. Journaling can help birth parents identify the triggers to situations that remind them of placing their child for adoption. Birth parents may also find that when they document their feelings on paper it helps them look back and see the positives from their decision. Let’s say one day a birth parent is writing about their struggle to buy groceries, in moments like this you remember that you placed your child in a home where he does not have to worry about having enough to eat. A birth father may not be able to play catch with his son after school like his adoptive father. While a birth father may not be there everyday with his son, open adoption can still allow him to become a role model in his son’s life.
Giving Yourself “You Time”
The first few years post-placement are going to be the hardest. The first Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for birth parents can feel like the longest day filled with sorrow, guilt and pain. The truth is it is impossible for a birth parent to fully “move on”from the adoption. Their child will always be a part of them whether they are physically with them everyday or not. What birth parents need to know is that moments of sadness become less frequent when they take time for themselves. Taking time for yourself can include calling up supportive friend to confide in, journaling , exercising and other therapeutic activity.
There are so many mental health benefits associated with physical exercise. When a person works out they release endorphins which in turn creates positive feelings and happiness. Along with releasing endorphins, exercising also increases the norepinephrine, a chemical that moderates the brain’s response to stress. Here’s the complete list of benefits: https://bit.ly/2JKMkYX Even if a birth parent cannot hit the gym every day, a 30 minute workout just a few times a week can make such a difference for one’s mental health.
Next week we’ll talk about the following step, managing anger.