As an adoptive parent, the birth of your baby is something you have been looking forward to and most likely dreaming of for years. You may have wondered how the adoptive parent hospital experience would look from your perspective and played out different scenarios in your head.
I’m not an adoptive parent so I can’t tell you how to handle the hospital experience from that view point. I am a birth mom and having worked and talked with many birth mothers, I can offer the following advice from a birth mom’s point of view:
Be supportive. This is probably pretty obvious to most, but I still feel if needs to be said. If you are invited to be present during the labor process, be supportive and encouraging of the laboring Mom. Cheer her on, rub her back, feed her ice chips, whatever helps her feel at ease.
Don’t take things personally. If you are not invited to be in the room during labor, don’t take it personally. This is a vulnerable and intimate time for a placing Mom, and she needs to be as comfortable as possible.
Know things may change. The placing Mom may plan for you to be in the room with her during labor but may suddenly feel uncomfortable and change her mind. Or the opposite could happen; she may plan to not have you in the room and suddenly wish to have you there. Be prepared to go with the flow and do what is best for your expectant Mom at that moment and respect her wishes.
Give her some space and time. Once the baby has arrived, be sure to give the placing Mom some alone time with her baby during their hospital stay. As stated in my recent post giving advice to mother’s considering adoption, she needs time to say hello before she can say goodbye.
Consider bringing in a meal. If your baby’s Mom has a C-section or complications that require her to be in the hospital for more than one night, consider bringing her a meal from outside the hospital to give her a break from hospital food (of course you can do this even if she only has an overnight stay). One of my favorite memories of my hospital experience is my son’s adoptive parents bringing me a steak dinner from a local restaurant even after I said no thanks when asked if I wanted anything on their way out.
No matter where you are during the birth of your baby, this will be an emotional journey for all involved.