Birthmothers: Grief, Loss, Shame & Guilt

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Acknowledging grief over the loss of a child through adoption, and dealing with feelings of shame and guilt are important steps for parents who placed voluntarily and for those who did not. Some find solace through therapy or counselors while others may prefer to write out their stories in blog or book form, even journaling can be therapeutic. Establishing a support group or network of friends, family members or other birth parents that may be experiencing similar emotions or feelings can be very supportive during this difficult time. The important thing is that you find someone or something that you can identify with that can help you grieve and heal through adoption loss. Here are a few resources and informative sites from parents and professionals that may be helpful.

Surviving the Fires
In the world of adoption, some professionals seem to have made a goal of minimizing birth parents’ pain, handling them with kid gloves in deference to the difficulty of the choices they face. Unfortunately, this concern too often translates into patronizing and "protective" behavior that results in dis-empowerment for the birth parent.

Adoption and Loss - The Hidden Grief
From a presentation in Toronto, Evelyn Robinson, author of the book by the same name, explores the grief attached to losing a child through adoption and the many issues that encompasses.

Birthparent Grief
Recognizing the grief of loss is the first step on the road to healing. Recommended reading for all triad members, by Brenda Romanchik.

Impact of the Birthmother Experience
For birthmothers, coming to terms with the loss of a child through adoption can be a lifetime journey, by Donna Putuesi.

Birth Parent Loss and Grief
Coming to terms with loss and grief is an individual process of regaining control over events in our lives; by Patricia Roles.

Lifelong Issues
Seven core issues affecting all members of the adoption experience, by Deborah Silverstein and Sharon Kaplan Roszia.

No More Guilt, No More Grief
Mary Block, a birthmother who placed in the 1970s, writes eloquently about surviving the closed adoption system.

Out of the Shadows, Into Our Lives
"By the time her delivery date was approaching, she had been tortured into submission by the people who loved her most and by a society that didn't understand her at all."

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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of

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