Just like any mother that is pregnant right now, that recently welcomed a new addition, or maybe one that has an older child – birth mothers during the coronavirus may also be wrapped with worry. We love our children and that is no different in these uncertain times.
We worry for our child’s safety, their adoptive families’ health, and deal with the same disappointments that a nation wide quarantine brings, like missing visits. With so many different needs depending on a birth mother’s situation or how you might be touched by adoption yourself, I wanted to break down how you can support birth mothers during this time.
How you can help new birth mothers as they heal
Viruses like COVID-19 don’t stop babies from needing to be born into the world right now. Mothers planning an adoption for their child now may have to birth alone – just like a mother who is denied having her husband’s presence right now due to new hospital policies. Who will support her in not only her physical journey, but her emotional one?
We need to turn to technology more than ever during this time. Many doulas and families are turning to resources like Facetime or Zoom on a tablet or smartphone to create virtual support for laboring moms.
If you know someone planning adoption for their child, is this something you could offer to her or pay for a virtual doula service on her behalf? Make sure to reach out to her to check in emotionally too. Be there for her virtually, encourage her to share how she’s feeling or celebrate with her.
After a new birth mother heads home to rest after birth – with empty arms and heartache – she may have family or a friend to help her physically and emotionally. However, some may go home to an empty house. How can we support new birth mothers through this initial healing, especially during coronavirus?
Many of the same suggestions apply from this article about what birth mothers need, but shifted to being no contact. Drop off a homemade meal or order delivery so she doesn’t have to cook. Send her a card or text with encouraging words or a prayer written for her. Ask if she needs groceries, postpartum supplies, etc. and deliver them to her. Schedule her online adoption counseling (especially if this isn’t being provided by her adoption professional) or coaching sessions with another birth mother who has been there. However you can, help her to not feel forgotten in her grief and healing. She needs support around her now more than ever.
If you are an adoptive parent with contact to your child’s birth mom
You hold so much power in your hands as the adoptive family, use it well! Remember your child’s birth mother during this time and reach out if you have some form of contact. As mentioned, they may be worried about what is going on in this world and how it has affected your family. Give them an update! Let them know how you and your child are doing. Is homeschooling going well? Are they teething now? Learned a new skill? It can take just a few minutes to send a small text or send a photo of what you guys are up to during quarantine. Reassure them that you are well and taking precautions to stay healthy. It will mean the world to her to know you were thinking of her too!
Those of us with fully open adoptions including visits are being affected as well. My birth daughter and I had a weekend planned together that we now had to cancel. Which is sad and frustrating for us both, but we understand it is for the best right now. I would suggest utilizing technology here, like using Facetime or Skype to have online “visits.” It can be planned out with a time and date to catch up on what is new in each other’s world or do an activity together.
If you are a friend or family of a birth mom
Alternatively, maybe you don’t know a brand new birth mom and aren’t an adoptive parent yourself, but you know a mother who placed her child years ago. You can still love and check in on birth mothers, even during the coronavirus quarantine! Send them a card, text, or give them a phone call to check in with their hearts and worries.
I can’t stress this enough – help her to know she and her child is remembered. Within her is still a heart who loves her child like any mother would, despite not having a physical role of a mom. Ask her how she is doing and feeling. Validate their feelings and emotions – both now and any time! You may not have the answers or the perfect thing to say, but just be willing to listen. Simply talking through what we are feeling can help us process thoughts or lift a weight off our heart.
Remember, they may be feeling fear for themselves, their child, and for their child’s adoptive family during this virus as it spreads. They may miss them extra not knowing how they are if they don’t have any contact with their family. Or, they may be feeling sad if a visit was canceled due to the quarantine in effect. The nation’s birth mother support groups and retreats have been canceled or moved virtually, which may add another layer of isolation. Help her to find online support groups, counseling, or coaching to help if she’s struggling with adoption emotions.
Offer Birth Mothers Verses of Hope and Peace
In your communication with the birth mom in your life, you can include verses that you have found comfort in or include into a prayer written for her. Reassure her that:
- God sees her
- God is in control
- God is near to her and her child’s family
- God offers her peace, strength, shelter, and hope
Here are a few of my favorite verses to share with her:
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4 (NIV)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)
What if you
don’t have contact?
If you don’t have contact with your child’s birth family, or don’t know a birth mom personally, you can still lift them up in prayer! God sees her, God knows where she is right now, God knows her needs and worries. Sometimes that’s all we can do is pray for one another and trust God to do His work. But, if you can show your care and love for a birth parent in a tangible way today, please do! It will mean so much to her to feel seen and cared for!