The second stage of grief is anger, and while in this series I tweak the stage of grief to fit birth moms, this time it applies to us in a more direct fashion. Although I don’t know everyone’s experiences, I can guess that as birth moms, we have all had our fair share of this stage. If you are struggling with how to control, deal with, and accept your anger, you are not alone.
It seems as though there are infinite reasons to feel angry about our experiences. For me personally, I was angry about the pregnancy and my circumstance. You may be angry about the adoption in general, people’s responses to your decision, or like many of us - you may have no idea why you are angry. To resolve the anger we have, it’s important to find the source.
Is it unfair?
I struggled with anger during my pregnancy. Throughout those nine months, I constantly allowed myself to stay mad at the father of my son; I could not grasp how or why he could leave me like he did. It was not fair that I had to proceed through the pregnancy alone; I had no one to share the heavy emotions with. Was it my fault that he split the scene? No. Was it unfair? Of course it’s unfair! I hate to be cliche (no, I reallllly hate to be cliche) but remember the “life’s not fair” quote that every adult told us throughout our entire lives? Yeah, they were right. Life is not fair, and until we find it within ourselves to take responsibility for the future and be at peace with the past, we will remain angry.
Are you lost?
The unknown is hard. This became clear to me as I left the hospital without my baby. I worked so hard to give him life, and then suddenly, it felt like a distant dream. Being lost made me hateful. I was so convinced that no one had it as bad as me. It is maddening to come home and expect life to be the same, even though it never will be. Navigating through a new life after adoption feels foggy, but it doesn’t have to be aimless. Don’t let this feeling of imbalance cause anger and hatefulness. If you do, it will dominate your life.
Make a list of your goals: goals for the day, goals for the month, and goals for your new life. Your day to day will seem dark for awhile, but keep walking until you see the light - it’s out there, I promise.
Are you in pain?
Our post-placement lives will often be littered with emotional pain points, provoked by anything and everything. Pain can cause us to make detrimental choices, lash out at the people we love, and even neglect to take care of ourselves. The distress can consume us. Birth mothers are certainly vulnerable to set-offs by certain occasions and milestones, but as time passes, I trust that the pain will become less frequent in the day to day.
Are you scared?
It’s normal to be scared of what may come. For those birth mothers who have a closed adoption or a limited open adoption, you may fear for the thoughts of your child: whether they will want to contact you, whether they think about you, etc. For those of us in open adoptions, you may have a constant fear of losing touch with the adoptive family. No matter the reason, fear can consume our lives, just like anger can. Anger that stems from fear can and will reduce us; it is not based on anything that is presently concrete. For our own sanity, we must never let fear dictate our lives.
We should always strive to be at peace in our adoption journeys, no matter how tumultuous it can be. This stage of grief is necessary and shouldn’t be suppressed, but for the wellness of ourselves, it must be worked out. Once we find the root of our anger, we can focus in and resolve it. Otherwise it becomes an ugly sore that results in self destruction, and it can delay progress.
Like all stages of grief, this stage cannot be rushed or overlooked. Grief is meant to be endured and the emotions are meant to be felt. Feel the feels, ladies, but don’t be a prisoner to animosity.