SARAH* WAS PREGNANT and the baby’s father was out of the picture. Considering where she was in her life, she knew she would not be able to provide for her child in the way she wanted. With the help of her family, she decided to make an adoption plan and began working with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA).
As with most birth mothers, Sarah experienced fluctuating emotions throughout her pregnancy related to her decision. It was after the adoption was completed that Sarah began to struggle.
“It hit me the minute the baby left the hospital. I had tremendous anxiety and I didn’t want to deal with it. I wasn’t motivated to talk about it and I just shut down. I didn’t want to get out of bed or take care of my other responsibilities. I just wanted to crawl in a hole” and make everything go away.
When Sarah did discuss her feelings with those closest to her, she knew they couldn’t understand what she was experiencing. They did their best to reassure her that everything would work out fine, but it felt hollow.
“The hard thing about adoption is you feel so alone and no one knows what you’re going through.”
Finding support through Catholic Charities
Sarah battled with anxiety and conflicting feelings surrounding the adoption for several years before a phone call that changed her life. She reached out to CCDA with a question about the adoption and spoke with Meaghan Lane, MSW, Program Manager for Pregnancy and Adoption Support services. “I could tell she was struggling,” Meaghan said, “and I asked her if she wanted to come in and talk about it.”
“Meaghan was the first person to say to me that [not raising your birth child] is sad and it is okay to feel that way,” Sarah said.
“It was important for her to work through the grief and loss she was feeling,” said Meaghan. “It was also helpful to develop a sense of identity as a birthmother, understanding that her choice was so her child could have the best life was a beautiful sacrifice.”
After nearly six months of counseling, Sarah is at a point where she is able to pursue a fulfilling and active life, at peace with her decision to make an adoption plan. Since it is an open adoption, she finds hope and comfort in seeing her birth child grow up.
At CCDA, you will frequently hear “adoption is a life long journey” as it impacts those touched by it in different ways throughout their lives. That is why we provide ongoing birth parent support for a lifetime .
“Adoption is one of the hardest things you will ever do and one of the most beautiful things you will ever do. I’m here to say [to other birth mothers] you can do it. You’re ok. You’re not alone.”
Do you need help?
If you’re a birth mother and need to talk, or if you’re pregnant and weren’t expecting to be, please contact Catholic Charities Center for Pregnancy and Adoption Support, 3251 Old Lee Highway Fairfax, VA 22030; email firstname.lastname@example.org; call (703) 425-0100.
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