The story of a birthmother is one we don’t often hear. It’s likely because being a birthmother is scary, stressful, and put under an unfair stigma for women who choose this path. When a mother is making possibly the hardest decision that will ever be asked of her, she is told to keep quiet and face it all on her own. For many women, telling their friends and family is a worse fear than actually having the child. Some women never feel comfortable telling their loved ones.

Diane* placed a child for adoption 25 years ago & never told her family.

Not her parents, brother, or sister. She only told one friend. Diane felt so afraid her family would abandon her or criticize her for her decision. Of course, she felt alone and scared, but she knew in order to place her baby she had to do so on her own accord without her family interfering.

Diane chose the parents of her child through an adoption agency early on, and they became her support system through the pregnancy. They made sure she was healthy, received proper medical care, and had emotional support through each step of the process. Still, after the adoption was finalized she didn’t have anyone to talk to or share her grief. Diane knew she did the right thing, but the secret caused her pain for many years.

Many women make the same choice as Diane.

She knew her family would ask to parent the child, but she didn’t want that. She didn’t want her mother, who had already raised three children, to take on the responsibility. She was afraid of what people would think of her. Would they judge? Would she lose her friends? Even though Diane knew this was the best choice for her and her child, she didn’t want to lose her friends and family.

Many women make a decision not to tell their families as they feel they will be judged or not get the support they need. Going through pregnancy is something no one should do alone. Not every birthmother has a supportive birth father, family, or even friends who will help her. However, every birthmother needs and deserves the unconditional support from her loved ones.

Eight years later, Diane told her family. She chose an open adoption, so her mother and siblings were able to meet the child and her adoptive parents. The adoptive family happily embraced the extended family and they remain in touch today. In the end, Diane was relieved to tell her family, even though it took a long time and many hardships to get there.

There are other birthmothers who share similar stories. If you know an expectant mom, remember to show her support and love no matter what her parenting plan is.

*Names have been changed for confidentiality.