It’s customary to have a baby shower with loved ones for an expectant mother. At the party, the expectant mother receives gifts, and her loved ones share in the celebration of the baby she’ll give birth to soon. A birth mother who plans to place her baby for adoption may have mixed emotions. She may be relieved that she’s found the right family to place her child with. She may feel sadness and grief about not being able to raise her baby herself. Perhaps she also feels gratitude because she’s placing her baby in an open adoption and will be able to watch her child grow up.
While you might traditionally give an expectant mother something for the baby, you might wonder what to give an expectant mother who is placing her child for adoption. Whether you are the loved one of an expectant birth mother or the adoptive parents she’s chosen to raise her child, there are many wonderful and thoughtful gifts you can give to an expectant birth mother.
A recordable book allows a birth mother to record herself reading her child the story the book tells. This is a wonderful gift to give a birth mother because it allows her to connect with her baby even after the placement has occurred. A birth mom can give the book to the adoptive parents for her baby, allowing her to connect from a distance. The adoptive parents can honor the birth mom by playing the recording for the baby as they grow. Even if a birth mom is placing her child in an open adoption, a recordable book allows her child to hear his birth mother’s voice when she isn’t there.
There are numerous recordable books to choose from. You can choose a classic story like The Three Little Pigs, The Night Before Christmas, or The Ugly Duckling. Other good choices include Guess How Much I Love You, Under the Same Moon, I’m Thankful for You, and All The Ways That I Love You.
Pregnancy Gift Basket
A pregnancy gift basket is a wonderful gift for an expectant birth mother as she can use the items in it throughout her pregnancy. Some ideas on items to include are organic ginger tea, which can help with nausea experienced during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, ginger candy, a water bottle to help the birth mother stay hydrated, lip balm, lotion, a soft robe, slippers, a pregnancy body pillow, and a mug for the birth mother’s ginger tea. Essential oils to help with stretch marks, chocolate, saltine crackers, and a good movie or book are also great items to include in a pregnancy gift basket.
A piece of jewelry can be a very meaningful gift for a birth mother. Necklaces and bracelets are especially popular choices because you can easily customize them. You could give a birth mother a locket that she can put a photo of her baby in and wear it close to her heart. You could also customize a necklace or bracelet with the baby’s initials or with a meaningful quote.
A piece of birthstone jewelry is another good choice. You could purchase a heart-shaped birthstone pendant or a birthstone line bracelet, for instance. Alternatively, you could purchase a piece of jewelry containing both the birth mother’s and the baby’s birthstones.
Another option is adoption-themed jewelry you can purchase. Adoption-themed jewelry often features an intertwined heart and triangle, representing love and the adoption triad. Interlocking hearts or circles are also commonly seen in adoption-themed jewelry.
Postpartum Recovery Basket
Recovering from pregnancy and childbirth is tough and takes some time. Put together a postpartum recovery basket for the birth mom in your life to help her heal after childbirth and placement. Some of the items you might want to include in the basket include a peri bottle, stool softener, chapstick, lotion, heating pad, and some of her favorite snacks. You could also include encouraging notes for her to read when she’s having a tough time and a good book or movie to take her mind off things for a little while. Soothing items, such as fuzzy socks, her favorite-scented bath and body items, chocolate, and a candle are also great things to include.
I don’t care how old you are, stuffed animals can be very comforting. You could purchase two of the same stuffed animal–one for the birth mother and one for the baby she is placing. Snuggling a stuffed animal can provide a birth mom with comfort when she’s struggling. Additionally, as her child grows up, he can always look to his stuffed animal to remind him of his birth mother’s love, even when she is not with him.
If you’re the adoptive parents in an open adoption, a great gift to give the birth mother is a photo album. Include photos of the time you spent together during her pregnancy and photos of the baby. Be sure to leave some blank space for photos you’ll give the birth mother throughout the child’s life as well. If you’d like to spend some time bonding with the birth mother, you can sit down with her and decorate the photo album together.
Adoption Memory Book
An adoption memory book is somewhat similar to a photo album. You can put photos in the adoption memory book. However, you can also include other things in it pertaining to the adoption journey. For instance, if you are the adoptive parents, you can put emails or texts you exchanged with the birth mother into the book. Leave some blank pages in the book so that the birth mother can continue to add to the book as her child grows up. In an open adoption, you might send the birth mother photos of her child, drawings he’s done, or crafts he has made in school that the birth mother can add to the book over time.
Gift cards to the birth mother’s favorite stores or restaurants allow her to get things she needs and wants during and after her pregnancy. Gift cards for food delivery services, such as Grub Hub, Door Dash, and Uber Eats are a great idea so that the birth mother can get food delivered to her when she doesn’t feel like cooking.
If you are an adoptive parent wanting to get a gift for a birth mother, please check with your adoption agency before you give gift cards. You do not want it to appear like you are making a monetary transaction for your adopted baby. Gift cards are a great idea for family members and friends of a birth mother to give, however.
If you are an adoptive parent, giving the birth mom a keepsake box is an especially meaningful gift. You will likely be sending the birth mother photos, letters, and drawings throughout your child’s upbringing. Giving the birth mother a keepsake box to keep all of these precious things in lets her know that you consider her an important part of your life. It’s a great way to show her that you embrace her as part of your family. You can get a beautiful memory box customized with photos online. Alternatively, if you are a talented artist, you can purchase a box and paint it with a meaningful picture or design yourself.
Pregnancy and childbirth take a huge toll on a woman’s body. One thoughtful gift you can give to a birth mother is a certificate to her local spa for some pampering. A birth mom will appreciate being pampered after the birth of her child. You could get the birth mom a certificate for a massage, a manicure or pedicure, a facial, body scrub, body wrap, or specialty massage. Going with the birth mom to the spa could give you an invaluable opportunity to bond.
Purchase three bracelets–one for you (the adoptive mother), one for the birth mother, and one for the baby. The bracelets will serve as a reminder of your very special connection.
Quilt or Blanket
If you sew, you could make the birth mother a quilt representing the child she is placing for adoption. You could also knit or crochet a blanket for her. If you’re not too crafty (like me), you can order a custom-made blanket online. You could put a photo of the newborn baby on the blanket, for instance. Not only will this be a meaningful gift, but it’s also one a birth mother can find comfort in as well.
If a birth mother is comfortable with it, you could have a professional photographer come to the hospital and take photos of you, her, and the baby. A birth mother will cherish these photos for the rest of her life. This isn’t a surprise you’ll want to spring on the birth mother, though. Talk to her about it before she goes to the hospital to give birth. If she’s not comfortable with it, don’t push her to go through with it. She may be more comfortable getting some professional photos taken at a park or another scenic area shortly after the placement has occurred.
Everyone processes things differently, but if the birth mother likes to write, a journal is a great gift idea for her. She can process all of her emotions and write about her joys and struggles throughout her adoption journey in a journal. You can either purchase a blank journal or one specifically designed for a birth mother. Revealing You: A Journal for Birthmothers is one example of a guided journal for birth mothers.
You can also give the birth mother a guided journal that you will share with your adopted child someday. These journals help a birth mother share her story with the child she places for adoption. An example of this type of guided journal is The Book of Answers from Your Birth Mother: A Guided Journal for Birth Mothers to Share Their Life Story.
Flowers are great for brightening up a hospital room or a birth mother’s home after she leaves the hospital. Flowers have different meanings, so you may want to work with a florist to customize a beautiful bouquet for the birth mother. Flowers that symbolize love include honeysuckle, lily of the valley, red roses, and yarrow, which makes them good choices to include in a bouquet. You could also consider flowers like yellow roses, alstroemeria, and lisianthus as they represent friendship and everlasting bonds. To express good luck and well wishes, including heather, daisies, daffodils, and lilies. If the birth mother isn’t into flowers, you can purchase her a bouquet of cookies, chocolate, or fruit instead.
Time and Support
If you are the loved one of an expectant birth mother who is placing her child for adoption, perhaps one of the best gifts you can give her is your time and support, both throughout her pregnancy and after placement. During the birth mother’s pregnancy, you can offer to go to the doctor or to see her adoption counselor with her. You can be available to listen to her when she’s struggling. Offering to grocery shop, clean, or cook for her may also be appreciated.
After she gives birth and comes home from the hospital, you can be available to provide support when she’s having a tough time. You can cook her meals or offer to take her out to eat when she doesn’t feel like cooking. Offer to spend time with her often during the weeks and months following placement. It’s common for a birth mother to experience a host of emotions after placement, and knowing that you are there for her may help her feel a little less alone.
Timing of the Gift
Lawyers advise adoptive parents to wait to give a birth mother any type of gift until after she has signed the adoption papers. That way, a gift cannot be misconstrued as a monetary exchange for the adoptive baby. What you give an expectant birth mother does not necessarily need to be anything grand or expensive. Rather, make sure whatever gift you give her is from your heart. A birth mother will appreciate something heartfelt, and she will treasure the sentiment for years to come.
Sierra Koester is an award-winning freelance writer and professional blogger. She earned her BA in Psychology in 2004 and has worked with several nonprofit agencies. She began her writing career in 2006 and has written extensively in the areas of health, psychology, and pets. Sierra advocates for the adoption of children as well as homeless animals. When she isn’t writing, you can find Sierra with her nose in a book or hanging out with her two kitties, Carmine, a wise old orange tabby Sierra adopted when he was a kitten, and Tylan, a cat whom Sierra adopted after he was rescued from a hoarding situation in Thailand. You can learn more about Sierra by visiting http://www.sierrakoester.blogspot.com.