Surviving the First 24 Hours after Placement
The first 24 hours after placement was the worst 24 hours of my life, but it was also the best 24 hours of my life. I felt like my soul had been ripped from my body, but I also knew this was the start of a new life for my son and I.
Hell on EarthI wish I could tell you that the first moment after placement was the most hopeful moment I have ever had, but that would not be true. It was one of the worst moments of my life. While I knew what I was doing was the right thing to do, it didn’t change how I felt about it and how bad it hurt. In the first 24 hours, I was in shock. I don’t remember much about what happened. I do remember watching my son’s parents drive away with him in the car and falling to the ground. I was a mother for six months, and then immediately after that car drove away, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I think that is what made it so hard; my identity felt like it was completely ripped away from me. There was nothing left worth living for in my eyes in that moment. I was dead.
Identity Lost and Identity FoundPerhaps if I had known someone who could tell me what to expect, it wouldn’t have hurt so bad. Identity is crucial in experiencing life the way that God intended. Identity tells us everything we need to know about who we are and how we are to live our lives. Since the only role I had envisioned in my life was being a mother, the idea of being anything other than that did not occur to me in the next 24 hours after placement. I think having my son for six months before placement made things more difficult, as well as being basically completely on my own. Identity also tells us that there is hope where it may seem hopeless. I didn’t know how to be a birth mother because I didn’t know anything about the feelings that I would go through. I didn’t know what to expect after placement. I wasn’t expecting the loss, the grief, the identity crisis, or all of the emotions that began to escape that I had stored up through the adoption process. I had such tunnel vision throughout the adoption process of just getting it done properly for my son, that I never really took the time to consider what I would feel and go through after placement.
Suggestions for the First 24 HoursPerhaps I could have considered and prepared in the following ways:
- Make sure you have a support person with you. Make sure it is someone who you trust and you know will hold you while you cry without judgement.
- Don’t be afraid of the grief that you will feel. That is normal. Also, the reaction of shock is normal.
- Don’t put any expectations on yourself and how you will feel.
- Dive into your faith (whatever that may be) like you never have before and rely upon your Creator to comfort and strengthen you.
- While you shouldn’t dread going through what I went through, and while that may not be your experience, know that sadness is a feeling that we experience in life and it is normal.