For the first trimester of an unplanned pregnancy, a potential birth mother should have already established medical care, be making healthier nutritional choices and have discussed removing drugs and/or alcohol from her life with a doctor. For the woman facing an unexpected pregnancy who is choosing adoption, she may be ready to choose an adoption professional or agency and be looking for a potential adoptive family if she hasn’t already found one.
Beyond maintaining healthy lifestyle choices from the start of the pregnancy, a potential birth mother will want to start thinking about the birth of her child and post-placement life during the second trimester. The pregnancy may feel like it’s dragging, but I guarantee it will fly by before you know it. Here are some things to consider after maintaining healthy lifestyle choices for a woman who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy:
Creating a Birth/Hospital Plan
A birth plan is the plan for what will happen at the birth of the baby, based on the preferences of the prospective birth mother. Every mother can create a birth plan. For a woman who is choosing adoption, she will have a different birth plan that includes whether the adoptive family will be in the delivery room, if she will hold the baby first and more.
A potential birth mother should work with her adoption professional to make sure that her hospital plan is thorough and covers the basics of an adoption hospital birth. If the adoptive parents have been chosen, they should be made aware of the prospective birth mother’s hospital plan. This plan will also need to be shared with the potential birth mother’s doctor so that the hospital she uses knows what her decisions and processes are to be.
Creating a birth/hospital plan that every party is happy with may take some time, which is why I suggest beginning the process in the second trimester. This way, no one feels pressured to rush when the third trimester and birth day begin to creep up.
Start Thinking About Life After Placement
The pregnancy and adoption may be the only thing that a birth mother can think about when she is alone. The stressors and what-ifs and hows may be knocking at the top of her mind daily. However, there is a future to begin to consider as well. A potential birth mother who has chosen to place her baby up for adoption will very soon find herself in the last stages of pregnancy, and begin wondering what will happen to her after the baby is born and is placed. Commencing to think about life after adoption is something that a potential birth mother should begin to consider during the second trimester.
Life after placement may feel like it’s far away, but the future always comes sooner than we expect it to. Start dreaming about what a happy and healthy life would look like, regardless of the bleakness of your current circumstances. Dream big, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Get creative with the choices that you may make regarding what your future could hold. Not only will this begin to prepare you for life after placement, but it may also bring you joy and comfort to know that adoption is only the beginning, and you have your whole life ahead of you.
Maintain Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Birth Mom and Baby
I mentioned it earlier, but I find it important to mention again. Healthy lifestyle choices can be very difficult for someone who is suffering from the anxiety and grief that choosing adoption can bring with it. If you are a potential birth mother who finds herself struggling to make healthy lifestyle choices a reality, then it may be time to consider seeking some additional help. Depression is a very real condition that many people deal with. If you suspect that you may be in trouble with any mental health, please seek help.
The Suicide Hotline is available 24/7, and they even have a text line if you don’t feel like speaking with someone over the phone. Depression is very real, and should never be ignored, or it will just get worse.
If you are not suicidal, but notice that you may be suffering from depression, let your adoption professional know. If you have close friends and family that you can trust, confide in them as well. Regardless of who you speak to, it’s important to get help from a psychiatric professional when dealing with potential mental health issues. If you suspect it, and mental health disorders run in your family, then it’s more likely you may have to cope with it as well.
Please don’t be afraid to seek help if you find yourself feeling consistently down and depressed, because it can escalate quickly if not attended to expediently.
The second trimester is a great time to practice maintaining healthy lifestyle choices. As you venture on towards your third trimester, begin thinking about life after placement and what the future might hold for you. A potential birth mother’s choice for adoption is not the end, it is only a beginning.
This is the second post in a three-part series. For pregnancy to-dos during the first trimester, read this article. For pregnancy to-dos during the second trimester, click here. For more information about what to expect during your unplanned pregnancy, visit our month-by-month unplanned pregnancy help guide here.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.