When to Talk and When to Walk

by LeiLani Wood

As a birthmother I am sure you have heard and will continue to hear the opinions and advice of others regarding your decision to place your child for adoption. While many times people can be supportive, there are other times in which people can make negative responses that upset or hurt you. Learning how to deal with these situations will help you be able to get through them when they arise.

Below are a few suggestions on how to handle negative opinions and reactions from others.

  • Listen first. It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather, the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen – you may learn something. Besides, once you have listened to them they may be more willing to listen to you when it’s your chance to talk.
  • Disregard. If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business…your way.
  • Agree. You might find one part (maybe it’s a tiny, tiny part) that you agree with. Agree with that part and make it known that you are agreeing with that part.
  • Pick your battles. If it’s going to turn into an argument, think for a minute and see if there is a point to continuing the heated discussion.
  • Avoid the topic. If the person you are talking to has repeatedly said things that have upset you about being a birthmother, it might be best to just avoid the topic if possible.

Once the conversation is over, if you are still all riled up, talk with other birthmothers (like in our forums!) about how you handled the particular conversation. Knowing that you are not the only one who has dealt with questions, comments, and opinions about being a birthmother is comforting.