Photo Credit: Oxygen Media
Birth moms face a lot of tough decisions when it comes to placing their babies for adoption, and last night's episode of Oxygen's I'm Having Their Baby highlighted one of them: figuring out the birth plan.
One of the birth moms featured, Jamie, already the mother of three, first raised the issue during one of her "diary cam" sessions, reading questions off of a list given to her by her adoption agency, such as, "How much time do you want to spend with the baby?" and "Do you want to adoptive parents to see the baby in the hospital?" Questions like those really made Jamie struggle with her choice, stating, "It just makes it so real."
The other birth mom, Sydney, also had a difficult time coming to terms with her birth plan, especially after her labor only lasted three hours (um, lucky!). After her daughter was born, Sydney commented on how -- since it all happened so fast -- she really didn't feel like she had times to come to terms with the birth, or the choice she was making. Compounded by the fact that part of Sydney's birth plan involved her pumping breast milk for her baby for months after the adoption was final (a request of the adoptive parents), Sydney's birth plan made her decision difficult as well.
I remember the "birth plan" conversation with my social worker very well -- she gave me a form with the same kind of questions Jamie had. It asked things like, "Who do you want in the room with you during the birth?" and "Do you want the adoptive family to come to the hospital?" In the end, my mother held my hand during delivery, and my adoptive family -- graciously giving me some space with my son -- didn't come to the hospital, although I did call them when I went into labor. Every mom-to-be comes up with a birth plan, but Jamie is right: When you're a birth mom, what you're about to do really hits home when you have to answer questions like that. You're suddenly overwhelmed with the fact that you will give birth to this tiny person that you love but you're already making decisions about letting another family raise him.
Eventually, I did figure out my birth plan and my choices regarding it were respected once D-Day finally arrived. My son stayed in the room with me the whole time I was in the hospital, just like Jamie's and Sydney's babies stayed with them. Though Jamie commented early on in the episode that she didn't know if she was going to be strong enough to go through with her birth plan (boy, do I sympathize with that), she places her daughter with a loving couple and still gets to see her regularly. Sydney ended up with the same good luck -- she gets to see her little girl on a weekly basis and is very happy with her choice. Despite the many difficult decisions birth moms have to make before their adoptions are finalized, adoption can really turn out to be a wonderful thing. As Jamie's adoptive father Josh said, "This is the beginning of a beautiful journey."