It’s almost time! You are excited yet terrified because you are a potential birth mother in her third trimester of an unplanned pregnancy. You have been doing your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and work on the adoption plan with your adoption professional and the potential adoptive couple. Hopefully, you have been thinking a bit about life after placement as well. As the big day approaches when you will meet the child for whom you have chosen adoption, there are many emotions stirring within you that will need to be processed at some point. Finalizing arrangements for placement and post-placement life will be crucial as you come closer to birth day.
Here are a few things, beyond what you may already be doing, that you should consider when you are in your third trimester of an unexpected pregnancy:
Make a Post-Placement Plan
A post-placement plan will be indescribably helpful when completed prior to the birth of the baby. While a potential birth mother has been focused on the pregnancy and adoption plans, the time has come to really sit down and plan her life after placement. A post-placement plan will include living arrangements, financial support, job/career decisions, support systems, and relationship goals. Whatever the current situation is, it’s important for a birth mother to make a plan that is conducive to promoting healing. This can come in the form of setting up post-placement support groups or therapy, purchasing some reading material on healing from adoption, and making sure she keeps those who have been encouraging close to her.
One of the other considerations that a birth mother may want to make sure she has set up in her post-placement plan are goals. Having life goals, and setting objectives to work toward those goals, can be incredibly healing. Regardless of how old a birth mother is, she still has time to turn her life around for the better. Perhaps she will consider beginning or continuing an education, provide support to other birth mothers, or focus more on other responsibilities she may have. On top of promoting a healing environment for post-placement, it is important that a birth mother plan for a healthy and happy future.
Have a Support System Ready
By the third trimester, a prospective birth mom may have lost a few relationships, but hopefully has gained a few, as well. A potential birth mother may have been very reliant on her adoption professional and potential adoptive family. The adoptive mom may have been a huge support through the rough spots during the pregnancy. However, after placement, the adoptive parents will be new parents with a baby, and birth mom will need to have other healthy support people in place. A great adoption professional will recommend support resources for life after placement.
A birth mother will have a healing journey to begin, but healing cannot occur in isolation. I speak from experience when I say that the healing process becomes a bit easier when there is a support system in place. I very quickly placed my six-month-old son up for adoption after I made my adoption decision a few weeks prior. I had no time to prepare for post-placement life, and did much of my healing in isolation, especially in the beginning. Claiming it was almost impossible to handle feeling so lonely is an understatement.
Confirm Birth/Hospital Plan, But Remain Flexible
If you are anything like me, you have your birth plan down to a tee. You know who will be in the room, where you will give birth, and how placement will be handled after. I want to encourage confirmation of the birth/hospital plan for adoption with everyone who needs to know it. Yet I also want to remind you to remain flexible. Mother nature will take its course, whether you have planned for it or not. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly, and adjust your sails as you ride your course. If something happens that you weren’t expecting, be willing to adjust and be accepting as you move forward.
The third trimester of an unplanned pregnancy for a woman who is choosing adoption can be a very exciting time if you let it. Continue to maintain healthy lifestyle choices, get rest when you can, and be excited for what the future holds. Remember to have a hospital/birth plan and post-placement plan in place, but don’t reject surprises and a change in course if it comes. Take care of yourself and know that healing is a journey, not a destination.
This is the third post in a three-part series. Read the following articles for pregnancy to-dos during the first and second trimesters. 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.