Remembering the Milestones of Mother and Child
When you were a child your parents celebrated every milestone growing up. They probably still have film of your first steps, keep pictures of your first birthday party, and remember exactly what happened on your first day of school. These are more than just moments in childhood. They are the ways parents create positive memories for children as they grow.
You never forget these times in your child’s life. But as a birthmother, your celebrations will be different. You may receive a letter from the adoptive parents, saying “He lost his first tooth! You won’t believe how big he is now!” or receive a family photo with your baby around holiday time. In an open adoption you watch these moments and wait for the next letter or family photo to arrive, celebrating your child’s joy as if it is your own.
Though may not be celebrating with the child, you can still celebrate in the fact that the baby you care for is making the same memories you did when you were young. However, holidays, birthdays, first steps, can all trigger feelings of loss. You will want to be there for these momentous occasions. And the feelings you have may range from happiness to grief to confusion and isolation.
But that’s not all. You will be able to feel joy. Birthmothers celebrate their children’s milestones in many different ways. Some write letters, create scrapbooks, journal or blog, as these are all ways to both celebrate and release tension from stress and other hard-to-manage emotions. If you need help, call a friend or relative. If you need to cry, take a personal day, or get out of the house to distract yourself. Do it! Self-love in any form is the number one way to celebrate your journey, your milestone as a birthmother.
If you are dreading the first birthday or first step without being present, remember that is not the hard part. The hard part was the adoption, and the pregnancy. You are a stronger person everyday. And you will find a way to celebrate in a way you can rejoice over the milestones of your baby.