Every pregnancy is different – but it doesn’t always feel that way.
Back in July we posted about becoming pregnant again soon after placing a child for adoption. Today, we’re talking again about pregnancy after adoption, but this time we’re focusing on birth parents who make an adoption placement and then gave birth to another child several years later, rather than soon after the placement. If you become pregnant again a few years after placement, the embarrassment and shame that many birth moms feel when they get pregnant again right away isn’t as likely to come up – but that does not mean that your adoption journey won’t play a role in this pregnancy.
While you are pregnant (and in the days and weeks afterward), you will likely find yourself thinking a lot about the child you placed for adoption. One birth mom told us that after she gave birth, she accidentally referred to the baby by her other child’s name! Thinking a lot about your adopted child might lead you to feel more curious about them or more eager to have contact than you were before. On the other hand, memories of your adopted child could make you feel like you need some space so that you can focus on this unique pregnancy. Both reactions are natural and normal.
As you go through many of the same physical changes that you did the last time you were pregnant, you might also find yourself re-experiencing any feelings of anxiety or guilt that you had back then. These emotions won’t last forever! If they are particularly stressful or painful, you might decide to distance yourself from your adopted child and their family for a little while. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself during this pregnancy, but don’t sever the relationship entirely – if you do, you will definitely regret it later on.
There are probably many people in your life who don’t know that you made an adoption plan in the past and who will be happy for you and excited about this pregnancy. A well-meaning friend might give you pregnancy tips, assuming you’ve never been pregnant before; your boss might write you a card that says “Congratulations on #3” not knowing that this is your fourth pregnancy; even a complete stranger at the store might touch your belly and ask, “Do you have any other kids?” It’s your choice how you want to handle these situations. If you want to tell your story, that’s wonderful – you will probably feel relieved afterward, and maybe you’ll find that you have another support person in that individual. But if you don’t want to tell them, that’s okay too. You are not being dishonest or sneaky if you choose to keep your adoption story private; it’s nobody’s business but yours.
Many birth moms who don’t have another child until a few years after placement are feeling more emotionally and financially stable this time around. This is great news, but it can also create some feelings of regret as you consider whether you would have been capable of parenting the child you placed for adoption. This happens most often with couples who did not feel stable in their relationship at the time of the adoption, but ended up working things out. It’s normal to wonder about what could have been, as long as you are not too hard on yourself. Remember, we all have to make decisions in the present, without knowing what the future holds; the only option we have is to do what seems best right now. Trust yourself. You made a decision that felt right to you at that time – and that’s all anyone can ever do.
Did you become pregnant again a few years after your child’s adoption placement? What was it like for you?