You know you aren’t the only woman who has ever made an adoption plan, but you can still feel alone. You know you aren’t alone. Yet, knowing that doesn’t change what it can feel like.

Support groups are a great way to connect and feel less alone, but sometimes the idea of a support group can be daunting instead helpful when you don’t know what the benefits are.

What can a good support group do to help you?

It is has been proven time and time again that being able to talk about your feelings can help you feel better. On bad days, we often reach out to vent to others, but when you aren’t sure who will really understand how you feel, it can be difficult to do that. A support group made up of other birth moms is the perfect way to have an open floor to all the feelings that can come up — good and bad.

Who better than another birth mom will be able to empathize with you when you’re feeling doubts, fears, and other emotions that come with big decisions? Your support group, whether big or small, can give you peace about how you feel.

When you’re feeling alone, having friends in a like-minded group provides opportunities to reach out without having to explain what you need. Each member of the group already understands.

Joining a support group before your baby is even born can help you transition through the different stages of your pregnancy, birth, and adoption plan. You’ll have a safe place to process with other birth moms, as well as a greater understanding of some of what to expect as others share their stories.

Many support groups offer one-on-one pairing-up partnerships. You can connect with that one person for when you need support outside of group time. Sometimes you can be paired with a mentor, sometimes with another birth mom in the same stage as yourself. This relationship can be very valuable to your journey forward as well as your healing process.

As with anything in life, choose your support group carefully. You want to be part of something, not just a face in the crowd; you want to connect, not just show up somewhere for an hour each week. Speak with your adoption counselor for recommendations or search online for groups in your area. If all else fails, partner up with your adoption counselor and start your own group.

We all need support, and community is important. So give yourself the gift of both as you travel your adoption journey.