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As we enter a new year, it’s always a good idea to find time for ourselves, to relax, to think, and to find the calm we need to restore our sense of equilibrium. This may be particularly true for new birth moms who have made the brave choices for themselves and their babies.

Holidays can be particularly challenging, causing you to wonder how to feel normal or to even define what that is.

Here are a few emotions birth moms often experience:

Love and Joy:   Ah, the most wonderful of human emotions! Birth moms can experience great love and joy in a variety of ways. Love for their child, for the family who will raise them, for personal connections who support them during this journey. Joy for the prospect of new beginnings and a new life in the world. It can be complicated, but love and joy are present when people are selfless and supportive.

Grief:  Even when you know with all your heart that you have made the most selfless decisions, you may still feel sadness and a sense of loss, especially at the holidays. Do not be surprised by or afraid of grief; instead, try to view it as evidence of the love we feel and a sign of humanity. Allow yourself to grieve and to heal.  Spend time with friends and family members who understand and support your decision. Let them take care of you when you need it. And remember that your Good Shepherd friends are always here if you need advice.

And here are some tips for managing your feelings:

Journal about your adoption journey:  Writing things down can be extremely helpful when organizing your thoughts and feelings. Maybe you want to remind yourself why choosing adoption was right for you. Perhaps you just want to reflect on how you’re feeling at this moment. Your personal record of the experience can remind you of how far you’ve come, what you still want to work on, and what your hopes are for the future.

Create your own holiday tradition: Honor your choice by hanging an ornament on a tree in honor of your baby or child, lighting a candle for them, or even writing them a letter (that you may or may not send – whatever feels best.) Creating a holiday tradition allows you to recognize your special bond and connect in spirit.

Do something for yourself: The holidays can be stressful for anyone. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of self-care…and it doesn’t have to cost a dime! Going for walks, connecting with people who make you feel good, eating something that nourishes you… it’s crucial to be mindful of your personal needs during this season.

The emotions you feel as a birth mom can be both complicated and rewarding. Being prepared can help ensure you get to experience the happiness of the season without being overwhelmed by difficult feelings.

Our Good Shepherd team honors the choices birth moms make to create a beautiful, precious life. We’re here to help and support you. We love you and wish you peace at the holidays and every day.