Questions to Never Ask a Birth Mother
In the Body Positivity Movement, there’s an old adage, “If you weren’t asked for your opinion, don’t give it.” Upon further reflection, maybe it’s not just a quote for Body Positivity because it applies to politics, parenting, pregnancy… everything. Never is this more true than with the very personal journey of birth mothers deciding to place their baby with an adoptive family.
Fortunately, most people have the good sense and good taste to be careful how they speak in person; but, behind the security of a screen, many of those good instincts go away. If the birth mother is in person, online, someone you know personally or a public figure, there are certain subjects that are in poor taste or straight up hurtful. So, even if you’re burning with curiosity, here’s a short list of questions to never ask a birth mother.
Why Didn’t You Just Keep Him?
This is probably the most natural question people want to ask a birth mother. Whatever the circumstances surrounding a birth mother’s choice to place her baby for adoption, making that decision is difficult and the reasons personal.
What she doesn’t need to hear is an opinion of how it could have worked out, or stories about how other women in similar situations made the choice to keep their baby. The story may be interesting and you may want to know, but if she hasn’t chosen to tell you, it’s none of your business. Having all the best intentions in the world doesn’t make it okay to ask - so don’t ask.
How Much Did You Get Paid?
Nosey, nosey… nope. If your grandma didn’t tell you that talking about money is in bad taste, now you know. A rule of thumb about asking about money: don’t. It's terrible to ask if or how much a birth mother is compensated. Even if your intentions are to make sure she’s getting the care she deserves, and you heard that birth mothers should have their medical expenses covered, don’t ask about it. If she feels like offering that information, take whatever she gives you at face value.
Adoption Choices of Reno has highly trained caseworkers who assist birth mothers in this area. Please allow the professionals to do their job and refrain from offering your opinion or judgement on the process.
Don’t You Think You’ll Regret Giving Your Baby Up?
However well intended, don’t make your concerns her concerns. Humans tend to project, imagining how we would feel if we were in the same situation. This gives us incredible capacity for empathy, but if you can’t keep that projection to yourself, you can end up burdening someone with your projections as well as their own.
What you can do instead is offer support, listen and commend her for making the choice that she’s decided is best for her and her baby.
Did You Consider Abortion?
Given the divisive nature of abortion, and how many families have banned the subject at Thanksgiving dinner, it really shouldn’t need to be said that asking a woman who’s decided not to go that route why she didn’t. However, especially given how many people feel comfortable asking questions and expressing opinions online that they may not in person, it’s really important that political and personal opinions are kept out of another’s personal journey.
While no decision is easy when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, birth mothers who reject abortion in favor of adoption have already weighed the benefits and consequences. Asking why they didn’t chose abortion is distrespecting their ability to make the best choice for themselves and their baby.
It’s Nonya - None Ya Business
Wanting to be a supportive part of someone else’s journey is an admirable trait that makes humans communal creatures. However, whether it’s politics, pregnancy, finances, hair color or the decision to place a baby up for adoption -- opinions are like feet. Everyone has them, and most of them stink. Unless your advice has been solicited, don’t ask if they need it and don’t offer it. Instead, find ways to support and encourage birth mothers on their journey pre- and post-placement.
Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Reno has been providing adoption and surrogacy services across Nevada since 2012. You can call us to speak to someone now!