While the adoption process can be a beautiful thing, it is also no secret that it can be arduous and stressful for prospective adoptive parents. While you are preparing to bring a precious baby into your family, you also have to remember to take care of yourself. At LifeLong Adoptions, we encourage prospective adoptive families to value and partake in self care as an important aspect of the adoption process. Read more to learn why self care is so important for prospective adoptive families and our top five tips for the best self care during the adoption process.
Why is self care so important during the adoption wait?
Going through the adoption process and waiting to bring a child into your home is a time where all prospective adoptive parents will feel a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from uncertainty, stress, anxiety, hope, excitement, and so much more. Because it is such an emotional time, it is critical to prioritize your mental health. Prioritizing your emotional needs is the most important form of self care for a prospective adoptive parent. Prioritizing mental health can allow you to be better prepared to face the challenges and uncertainty that often accompany the adoption process.
Give yourself permission to take care of your needs.
Often people, especially prospective adoptive parents, prioritize others and the big stresses or challenges in their life to the detriment of themselves. When thinking about self care and adoption, it is important to give yourself permission to take care of your needs, whatever they may be. Throughout the adoption process, it is ok to look inward and take stock of what you need to get through this time. Understand that it is not selfish to allow yourself this time. It is also ok to ask for help and learn on your network of support when you are in need.
5 Self Care Ideas for Adoptive Parents
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to self care and adoption, but there are certain things you can do as you move through the adoption process that have proven to be very effective methods of self care.
Here are some of our favorite self care ideas that can help you stay in a positive headspace.
Meditation is a practice we find to be extraordinarily helpful for prospective adoptive parents. This practice has so many benefits that help cultivate and maintain a positive mental and physical well-being. It allows people to gain new perspectives on stressful situations, emphasizes focusing on the present instead of dwelling in the unknown, builds stress-management skills, and increases patience. If you’re not sure where to start, there are many guided meditations available online, so there is no doubt you can find the perfect meditation for you.
Physical activity stimulates our bodies and brains while offering many benefits for self care. Whether you go to the gym to lift weights, do yoga, take a pilates class, or go running, exercise is a great stress-management tool. It allows you to think more clearly, helps you sleep better, and gives you more energy to tackle the challenges of your day. You don’t have to run a marathon every day for exercise to be effective. What is important when it comes to exercise and self care is that you put one foot in front of the other and show up for yourself, especially when you feel like you need it. On those days where you don’t feel like working out, just remember how good you will feel after you are done. The benefits of physical exercise can be enormously helpful for prospective adoptive parents navigating the adoption journey.
3.) Support Group
When you are going through a challenging or stressful time, one of the most important things is to not feel alone and remember there are people out there who can relate to how you are feeling and what you’re going through. We always recommend that prospective adoptive families join support groups that are online or local to them in order to connect with other current or prospective adoptive parents who can empathize with their situation. Adoption can feel like an isolating experience, but surrounding yourself with others who understand what the process is like firsthand can add to your network of support.
Journaling offers so many benefits for prospective adoptive parents. It is a great method to process all of the emotions you are feeling throughout the adoption process. It gives you a peaceful space to express your thoughts, hopes, worries, or fears, and identify things that are stressing you out. Journaling also provides an opportunity to list things you are grateful for, which is an important component of self-reflection and care as you move through the adoption process. Journaling regularly can become a positive ritual in your self care plan. It’s also a great way to document your adoption journey.
5.) Treat Yourself
No one knows what little things make you happy like you do, which is why it is always good to occasionally treat yourself, especially when you are having a particularly rough day or week. This could mean indulging in an expensive latte, making an appointment at a spa, splurging on a quick getaway, or even buying that new book, video game, or pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on. Treating yourself also gives you something to look forward to, even if it is just a small luxury.
Something to keep in mind as you go through the adoption process is that comparison is a thief of joy. You will not serve yourself and your family by comparing your adoption to those of other families. Every adoption is different and doesn’t follow a strict timeline. Something you can do as an ultimate act of self care is feel your emotions as they come, while focusing on the positive developments in your adoption process to maintain a healthy mindset. Remember to prioritize yourself and your mental health so that when your baby does arrive, you are the best possible version of you!