It is important to take care of yourself after adoption, so here is a short guide on how to give yourself adequate self care in the time following placement.
Not every birthmother experiences the same responses to placing their child for adoption, but people typically experience reactions that can be sorted into these basic categories:
Psychological & Emotional
- Irritability, restlessness, or overexcitability
- Feelings of sadness, moodiness, or more crying than usual
- Feelings of numbness or detachment
- Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
- Re-experiencing the event, which can include intrusive thoughts, distressing dreams or nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of isolation, etc.
- Feeling confused or distracted, slower thought than normal
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Social isolation
- Strong need to talk about the event
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms after placement, just remember that what you are feeling is completely normal. In the days following placement, you might feel sad, confused, detached from reality, or disrupted. That is why practicing self-care during this time is so important.
The first thing you should do is to remind yourself that any of these responses are completely normal. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and don’t blame yourself for them. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding and listen to your body and mind as they tell you what you need. Don’t put any added pressure on yourself until you feel better – just concentrate on yourself.
When you feel tired, give yourself some rest. If you feel hyperactive, channel that energy into some movement or exercise. Don’t, however, force yourself to do anything you’re not feeling up to doing.
Another important factor is talking to others. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out. Feelings will come, and they will be strong, so it is important to have someone you trust to confide in. If you don’t have someone like that, reach out to people via the internet or look for a local support group. There are always crisis lines and other community resources, and they are there to help you.
Give yourself the time and space to read, take a bath, cry, rage, and express any other feelings you might have. Avoid numbing the pain with substances of any kind that will only prolong the healing period. It is not cathartic as a habit. Make the most of this time to heal and take care of yourself so you can ease yourself back into the rhythm of everyday life.