I returned to school 8 weeks after the birth of my daughter. I was in college when I found out I was pregnant and since my due date was in the middle of fall quarter i decided that taking one quarter off school was a sufficient amount of time to take off. In some ways I am thankful I only took a short amount of time off of school, but in other ways I wish I had taken more time.
I was kept really busy with school, friends and activites and it helped take my mind off of things, which can be really nice after the placement of your child. It is a constant thought in the back of your mind and having something else to take up your time is really nice.
It was hard though, because it also felt as though I didnt have a sufficient amount of time to grieve before leaving home and heading to a school 3 hours away. All the friends I had knew about the adoption when I returned to school and I kept feeling that they didn't know how to react or talk to me. I felt like there was an elephant in the room when I was around.
I had gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy and so I returned to the gym once I went back to school. I loved working out because it took my stress away and I was able to think about whatever I wanted to, I could be alone with my thoughts. I recommend working out and exercising to every birth mother. Its an amazing way to stay busy and healthy.
In most ways your life will never be the same way it was before. You have to find a new normal in life. Looking at pictures of my daughter has become a daily activity but also just thinking about her is a big chunk of my time. I don't let it consume me in the ways it has before and I don't cry every time I think about her or see a picture, but there are still days that I do. And the one thing I have learned over the past year is that it's okay to cry. It's okay to hurt and take as much time as you need to grieve the loss. It is your right to take 8 weeks off, 6 months, or however much time you feel is right before returning to school or work or anything else you have going on in your life. Just remember to love yourself no matter what. Placing a child is one of the most difficult things you will do in your life and only you can decide how much time you need before returning to your new normal.
How long did you wait before returning to school or work? What is your new normal and how do you cope with the everyday struggles?
Related Article: Finding your New Normal