And for women leaving the hospital after placing a baby for adoption, they also come in small baskets.
Birth mother baskets.
Birth Mother Baskets—the concept and the company, which closed down after this interview was originally published— was started by Gina Crotts after placing her child for adoption.
Gina (on the right) says she’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of loneliness she felt driving home with an empty car seat. She launched Birth Mother Baskets to help other birth mothers feel less alone after they leave the hospital with empty arms.
Giving a gift basket, she says, lets a birth mother know that she is loved and that there are others who understand what she’s going through. It also allows her to pamper herself with something special that’s just for her.
Helping Gina spread her positive message about birth mother strength and courage is the company’s vice-president Jenny Treanor (left), who has also placed a baby for adoption. A little while ago Jenny and I discussed the mixed emotions surrounding a placement and how their service brings birth mothers hope and support one basket at a time.
1. Tell me a little bit about how Birth Mother Baskets works — who gets them and what’s inside?
Birth Mother Baskets is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that delivers gift baskets to birth mothers who have recently placed their babies for adoption. These gift baskets hold so much more than just the tangible items inside of them. They are filled with LOVE, warmth and support. Birth mother baskets provides a loving voice saying, “you are not alone, you are loved, you are brave and there is hope.”
2. How many baskets have you delivered?
3. How often do you send them out?
Weekly orders are processed and shipped out every Friday.
4. Beyond all the goodies, what message are you sending out to birth mothers?
A birth mother basket is a very special gift from one birth mom to another. Our basket offers hope, support and courage and lets the birth mom know she is not alone, we have been there and it does get better. Gina has written a beautiful poem entitled “My Little Butterfly” that, along with a note from Gina and I, are included in each basket.
5. Tell me about the thoughts and emotions that a birthmother typically feels after she’s placed a baby for adoption?
It’s almost surreal. You have just spent the last 9 months growing a beautiful little person. All of your energy has gone into making a plan for this perfect little soul, it has consumed you. After placement, it’s just over. It is difficult to describe the emotion or feelings, I guess the best word is alone.
6. What’s the hardest part?
The hardest part for me was when I finally made the decisions to place my baby for adoption. I was about 6 months along and I remember the first time I said it out loud to someone, “I have decided to place my baby for adoption.” It made my decision real. I was committed to giving my baby a much better life. My time in the hospital with my son and at placement were difficult but the plan was already made and I had peace and comfort knowing I had made the best decision for my son, his family and myself.
7. Is there anything an expectant mother can do before the placement that can take away some of the sting?
Make a plan. You don’t have to follow it exactly but it helps to have a plan on how you want things to go. I knew I wanted to stay as long as I could in the hospital with my son before placement so we made arrangements to stay extra days. I did not want to get bogged down with visitors so I reserved one day for extended family and friend to visit. I did not want to forget something important. I was flexible, but it was comforting to me to have a plan laid out in advance.
8. What about right after the placement. Besides surrounding herself with positive people and positive thoughts, what else should she do?
Keep busy. Go back to school, get a job, volunteer, be productive. Idleness and self pity are so destructive. You have just done one of the most courageous acts ever, be proud of that. Use the strength you have earned to go forward and be a positive influence to others and the world around you. Three weeks after I placed I went back to high school to finish my senior year. It was not fun or easy but I knew I had to do something to keep from shutting myself in my room. That decision was instrumental in keeping me going.
9. Do you find that a lot of birth mothers know about or take part in post-placement counseling?
I really don’t know how many birth moms have a option or opportunity to attend counseling. I think counseling is vital and should be made available to very birth mom.
10. How important is counseling in the healing process?
I was fortunate to have counseling before and after placement. I had one-on-one counseling with my caseworker and also participated in group counseling with several other expectant moms. The expectant moms consisted of girls that planned to place and parent, some getting married and others not. It was so helpful for me to see all of the different plans and paths. My counseling helped so much after placement, to be able to talk with girls who had been in my same place and knew exactly what I was feeling.
More than anything a birth mother basket offers hope and support and lets the birth mom know she is courageous! Hopefully she will feel loved and supported by receiving a gift from other birth mom’s who have been where she is and know and understand her feelings.
12. Tell me about the reactions you’ve received from birth mothers who have received your baskets?
The birth moms that receive our baskets love them. Most of the time it is a surprise. They are so grateful that someone would send them such a beautiful gift. One birth mom said “I love my Birth Mother Basket! I thought it was the greatest gift and a really good way of letting me know that I’m not alone.”
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