Several years back, I had the opportunity to attend a national adoption conference, and while there I sat in on a seminar entitled "Loving and Serving Birthmothers." It has always been a desire of mine, as a doula, to serve a woman who has chosen adoption for her baby, and that session gave me some great ideas and advice. Just recently I had the opportunity to put that wisdom into action.
A sweet high school girl from my church unexpectedly became pregnant last year, and I reached out to offer comfort and grace to her in the midst of what I knew was a stressful time for her and her family. We met for coffee a few weeks later, where I naturally offered to come alongside her and walk through her pregnancy and birth with her. She said YES!
Sarah and I met for coffee several times over the course of the next months to talk about life, Harry Potter, her upcoming birth, pros and cons of parenting her baby vs. placing her for adoption, and eventually who she wanted to choose as her baby's parents. We also talked through the ins and outs of having a baby (like I do with all my clients), all things postpartum (lovely!), and the option of pumping milk for the baby.
So when her water broke early on a Tuesday morning, she was prepared. I met Sarah, her mom, and the adoptive mother, Abby, at the hospital mid-morning, when not too much was happening with her labor. I smuggled her some french fries and we had a mini party in the delivery room (Abby, brought LOTS of snacks!).
As Sarah's labor intensified, I began to actively coach her into a state of relaxation. Her response was amazing. She tuned in to my voice, and without question or doubt, listened to my suggestions to relax and surrender to the power of her body. There was no trace of tension or fear in her demeanor - she never once started losing control. She exhibited a quiet and fierce confidence as the waves of power took over her body, and labored beautifully. It was amazing to watch and a true privilege to enter into those moments with her.
When it came time to push, after only a few powerful contractions and with Abby holding a leg, a very blessed baby girl was born into two families.
After Abby got some skin-to-skin time with her sweet girl, Sarah was able to hold the baby she had worked so hard for.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to love and serve Sarah through this season of life. Her bravery, determination, calmness, and selflessness throughout her pregnancy and birth was amazing to witness and a joy to take part in.
And it continues! Sarah was a superhero and decided to pump milk for the baby for the first several weeks. She and Abby have a very cool relationship and a very open adoption. Hannah will grow up with two mamas - the one who birthed her and the one who parents her. What a gift!