Adoptimist Adoption Blog
April 21, 2016

A Birth Mother’s Dilemma: Moving On Versus Moving Forward

“Moving on….”

As a birthmother or even a mother considering adoption, have you ever heard that phrase? When talking about the grief and feelings a birthmother experiences after placing a child for adoption, has anyone ever told you that you should just be able to “move on” or “get over it”? I certainly have heard both of these phrases enough to really dislike them and their implications.

To me, moving on and getting over something implies that you are moving past it and forgetting about it. As a mother, even though I am not raising my son, I will never forget about him. He is forever a part of me and in my heart. Through open adoption, I’m able to be a part of his life. But I’d still never forget about him even if we didn’t have an open adoption.

Sadly, birthmothers from the Baby Scoop Era were often told repeatedly during their pregnancy that they needed to move on, forget about their child, and were even told never to mention their child to anyone. I can’t imagine not being able to talk about my child.

I much prefer the use of the phrase “moving forward.” To some, this might sound like splitting hairs. But to me, moving forward is really what I’m doing as a birthmother. I’m moving toward the future because I know that I can’t go back and get a “do over” for the past. I’m making new goals and trying to fulfill new dreams.

Does moving forward in my life, creating new goals and dreams, mean that I am moving on and forgetting my child? Of course not! For the most part, I’m happy and content with my life. But I will never, ever “get over” the loss of my motherhood to Charlie. Although he may not be in my every day life, as I travel forward, my son will forever be a part of me and my journey.

About The Author

Coley Strickland

Nicole “Coley” Strickland has become a strong voice for expectant mothers and birthmothers. At the age of 25, she became a birthmother, lovingly placing her three-day-old baby boy into an open adoption and the arms of his adoptive parents. She and fellow birthmother Leilani Wood went on to found BirthMom Buds, a website and nonprofit organization that provides support to birthmothers.

Coley has further given a voice to the bittersweet turmoil of birthmothers, becoming an active member of the adoption community, writing, speaking and sharing her story with others. In addition to her numerous blogs, she has also been featured on a number of radio programs, magazine and newspaper articles, as well as in the books: How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeleine Melcher and A Personal Touch on Adoption by Peter Berlin. In addition to her many other roles, Coley has been blessed to parent her special needs son Noah, who along with the son she placed, is the love of her life.

Visit Coley's site at
You can email Coley at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

About This Adoption Blog

The Adoptimist blog features advice, tips, and inspiration for adoptive parents who are actively pursuing adoption connections online.

Adoption Topics