It’s a new day, and a new year for everyone to look forward to. However, the change of the calendar may bring different emotions for all the birthmothers who placed their children for adoption in 2017. If this is your first New Year or holiday as a birthmother, we know the celebration is much different for you than it is your family and friends.

New Year’s is full of excitement, extra days off, parties, and new hope for most people. But for you, things are not the same. During the holiday season, you’ll feel pain. You’ll yearn for your child to be with you instead of being so far away in the loving home you chose for them. Everywhere you look you see happy people, and yet you feel alone.

When people say they understand, you won’t hear them. You’ll think, “How could anyone else feel this lost?” Life is at a standstill, where everyone else is moving on but you can’t. How could anyone else hurt this bad? Others will try to empathize, but even friends and family can’t replace the hole in your heart, where a child’s love and embrace feels like it should be.

There is no easy way, but there are ways to cope. You may feel alone, but you are not. Anyone who has experienced a loss will feel the same grief that you do. Each individual will express it differently, but there isn’t a single human being who hasn’t felt heartache, longing, and loss during a holiday. We’re all in this together. During this time you should reach out to the birthmother community and take time to care for yourself.

What you can do to help

Reach out to the family or child. Holidays are the best time to communicate with the adoptive parents of your child. Ask for a photo or to schedule a brief visit with them (if visiting is allowed). If you have chosen an open adoption, most parents are more than happy to include you in the celebration, especially in your child’s early years.

Send a gift or letter. Even if you can’t see your baby, you can still show them your love by sending a gift, letter, or little reminder of you. Most adoptive parents graciously accept these tokens of love, and it may help you feel less alone during the celebrations because you’ll be included in your baby’s life.

Spend more time with friends and family. It can be tempting to stay inside or alone and feel sad, but you need to get out and surround yourself with friends and people who love you. You chose adoption so both you and your baby could have better opportunities in life, and you need to remember that when you’re not feeling happy.

As with all types of grief, yours will pass with each new year. This year, make your New Year’s resolution to be happy for you and for your baby. You’ll face many struggles, but you can get through them and will be stronger because of them. Love yourself, and embrace your motherhood in 2018 by celebrating your birthmother’s journey.