When I first started Birth Mother Baskets it was solely to deliver gift baskets to birth moms who had recently placed their babies for adoption. I started by calling local businesses from the yellow pages, asking for donations. I donated the baskets to local hospitals and agencies. It’s been almost 13 years since the first Birth Mother Basket was delivered.
After I placed my baby for adoption, I felt alone. I remember laying in my mom’s bed that first night without my little butterfly and thinking, ‘no one will ever understand what I’m going through.’ The emptiness and loneliness swallowed me up. I had no choice but to let it overtake me those first few days and even weeks. The grief I was feeling was like nothing I had ever experienced before, at the young age of 19.
BMB was my way of reaching out to other birth moms, like myself, to let them know they’re not alone. I didn’t want another birth mom leaving the hospital or agency feeling the same emptiness I felt. I didn’t want another birth mom laying in her bed that first night thinking, now what? The baskets were a gesture of hope, an acknowledgement of courage and a voice saying ‘I’ve been in your shoes.’
When I decided to take a break from the adoption industry and BMB, for personal reasons, a group of friends decided to give me a Birth Mother Basket. Without my knowledge, they put together the most beautiful gift basket full of items just for me. Each of them included a note of encouragement and praises. It also included a picture of my little butterfly and I, printed on canvas. I was overwhelmed with emotions. The ‘gesture’ of the basket was simply their voices saying ‘We are here for you. We love you. We think you are courageous.’
And you know what? It didn’t matter, to me, what items they included in that basket. My heart was so full and so grateful for their words. I’m sure none of them realize the effect that that basket had on me. It showed me how our birth moms must feel receiving a Birth Mother Basket. It reminded me that we all need and want emotional support. No matter how new we are into our placement or how far. It propelled me to continue to not only run BMB, but to make it more, to make it better.
I have watched the adoption industry grow and improve over the last 13 years. I am grateful for the changes that have been made. However, we are still missing the support that I feel expectant parents need and birth mothers want. Support that is not only a gift of saying you’re not alone, but a voice saying I am here for you! This is one of the main reasons why we are now offering that support through our Birth Mother Basket Programs.
It is vital for birth moms to receive emotional support, post placement and this is what so many of our Adoption Agencies are missing! The roller coaster of emotions that wave in and out of your life, as a birth mom, can drowned you. However, having someone (especially another birth mom) to reach out to and to validate those emotions can make all the difference. The more emotionally healthy you are as a birth mom, the healthier your relationship with your adoptive couple and baby can be. The more you understand that grief is normal, that there is support for you and that you’re not alone can give you hope. And hope, in reality, is what we all grasp for, as humans, that tomorrow will come and it will be brighter, better and more beautiful than the day before.