5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays as a Birthparent
The holiday season is a time devoted to celebrating love, friendship, and family. It can also be a time that is particularly hard on birthparents. Whether you have recently placed your child for adoption or have been separated from your child for some time, the absence of your child during the holidays may bring a sense of grief and loss. Even if the initial pain has subsided, you may still be wondering what it might have been like had you made a different choice. If you find yourself feeling defeated during this time of the year, here are some tips other birthparents have found helpful in getting through the holiday season.
Establish a Support System
The holiday season can be overwhelming. You may be feeling like your emotions are too much for you to handle on your own. The good news is that you don’t have to. While there is no cure to take the feelings of loss away, it can be helpful to combat these feelings by building a support system to help you work through them. Reach out to family, close friends, or even a counselor. It may also be helpful to connect with other birthparents that may be going through the same situation as you. Contact an organization that offers grief support over the holidays and look into the resources that they offer, BirthMomBuds is also a helpful site run by birthmothers that may be able to offer some support.
Reach Out To Your Child
If you have an open adoption, collaborate with your child’s parents on a time during the holidays that you can spend together. If this isn’t possible,maybe you could request to have additional pictures sent to you or maybe even talk on the phone or skype together. Or consider writing your child a letter. Even if your adoption is not open and you know the letter will not be received, writing one may still be a helpful way to express your feelings.
Start a New Tradition
Even if you can’t be with your child during the holidays, you can still create rituals and traditions to help you grieve your loss. You can incorporate your adopted child into the celebration by creating an ornament for them to hang on the tree, lighting a special candle for them, making a playlist, or a holiday scrapbook.
Remember Your Decision Was Made Out of Love
Although you may be overwhelmed with grief during the holidays, don’t beat yourself up about how you’re feeling. When doubt creeps in your thoughts, remember why you chose the route of adoption. As a mother, you considered all your options and made the decision you felt was best for your baby. That certainly doesn’t mean you don’t love your child or that you didn’t want to parent, it means that you selflessly put your child’s needs above your own and did what you felt was best. Sometimes journaling can be a great way to express your feelings and help you work through the sadness. This is also the time to really lean on your support system to talk about your feelings and have supportive people around to help you through the struggle.
Take Time Out for Yourself
The holidays are a time for attending gatherings and spending time with family and friends. Although certain activities may be a tradition, don’t feel pressured to attend any event that makes you feel upset or uncomfortable. For instance, if your family and friends weren’t supportive in your decision to choose adoption, spending a lot of time around them may make you stressed out. Give yourself some time and space and remember that your health and well- being comes first.
Although the holidays may be a difficult time, remember that they don’t last forever! Allow yourself the time to grieve, but don’t forget to enjoy the holidays.