Thursday, January 28, 2010

Post Visit Blues

While I treasure the visits I am able to have with my birthson through our open adoption agreement sometimes after a visit, I feel a sense of sadness and “let down.” I’ve nicknamed these feelings “the post visit blues.” I’ve also talked with other birthmothers in open adoptions who have shared with me that they too have the post visit blues after a visit. Since I have been dealing with this for six years now, I have come up with some methods of coping that work for me and perhaps they will work for you too.

1. Acknowledge the feelings. It’s important that I acknowledge the feelings I am experiencing and allow myself to feel them. I have learned the hard way that if I don’t acknowledge the feelings now it will only hurt me more in the long run.
2. Write a letter.
A few days after a visit, I always write a letter to Charlie. I tell him how much the visit meant to me, I recap things that went on during the visit, and I include pictures from the visit. Mailing the letter is optional. If you didn’t want to mail it, you could put them all in a box to share with your child one day.
3. Scrapbook. I actually haven’t done this in one in awhile but am already sketching out layouts from my last visit in my head. Scrapbooking our time together makes me feel good and gives me an easy way to look back at good memories when I want to.
4. Journal. I recap the visit for myself in my journal writing down what we did, cute things Charlie said, etc. Then as I feel sadness over the next few days, I write about those feelings.
5. Try not to isolate myself. This is the one I personally struggle with. When I am dealing with my emotions after a visit and feeling down, I tend to want to be myself, turn off my phone, and crawl in a hole. While this can be good for me for a little bit, it also could quickly become unhealthy so I usually have to force myself not to hide out.
6. Talk with other birthmothers. No one quite understands what I am feeling besides other birthmothers so when I am dealing with sadness after a visit, I turn to my birthmother friends for support and understanding.

I should also add that although I do not see an adoption counselor or therapist, if you do, you may find it helpful to schedule an appointment after your visit.


  1. Adoptive mom here. I like the idea of writing a letter. I think I might do that for our daughter after visits. Just a recap of our visit and any new important things we may have learned from her birthfamily.

    Question; is there anything that we as adoptive parents can do or not do to help with the post visit blues. While we've never talked about it I'm certain that my daughter's birthmom goes through this as well. I'm always really quick about sending pictures of the visit if not that day the next. As I read your post I wondered if I should wait a week or so before I share those so she can get over the emotions. Then again that might just make it even worse. Any advice is appreciated.

  2. Debbie, Great question! I will answer this question in a separate post soon!! Thanks for reading & commenting!

  3. Oh my heart goes out to you! Post visit blues are hard. I did not have too much contact, only a handful of visits while she was growing up. But I know everytime I was left a little empty, a little guilty and trying to be happy that she was happy. Those were the times that she was young. Things changed when she was in her teens. She came into her own and really understood my reasons and respected them. The last visit I had with her was almost three years ago, and what a great visit it was! Wedding of an aquaintance so we danced and talked and danced and ate and danced the night away. As I flew home the next day, I smiled uncontrolably while my heart was bursting with joy. It was unlike anything I have experienced before, perhaps this is the reason I talked the wonderful woman's ear off that was seated next to me. She loved the whole story, and seemed genuine in her enthusiasm listening to me go on and on.

    Guess my point is, I understand the feeling of all the emotions that come with those visits. To have to be strong, have to move on when you just want to pause everything for a couple of days and get your bearings about ya. This journey of life as a birth mother is ever changing, ever evolving and we have to be strong enough to learn and heal from our experiences. You are right, no one but someone who has been through it would understand. That is what makes us unique, yet vulnerable. You will add this to your heart, cherish it forever and be able to revisit it anytime you wish, you have that. Don't be afraid to let your heart heal. I love the list and admire you for finding ways to face it, then heal some more.

    You have a friend out here, you have many friends out here. Thank you for sharing your heart with us all!