Dealing With Intrusive Comments and Unwanted Advice: 5 Tips for Birth Mothers
Choosing whether to place your baby for adoption is one of the most important and personal decisions you'll make. Placing your baby for adoption can be empowering, but the choice is no doubt a difficult one. Choosing to give your baby the best life possible, whatever you determine that means, is a selfless and beautiful path to take, but not everyone will understand your decision. Keep these tips in mind when you are faced with unsolicited advice or rude comments.
Tip #1: Gracefully Refuse to Engage in Unsolicited Discussion
You may see red flags if people are dying to tell you that you should make a different decision about your baby. Some people will look for any opportunity to get their two cents in. Walk away when possible. If you engage with a conversation, the other person may think that your decision is up for discussion. If you don’t want to discuss your decision, then you don’t have to.
You don't have to be rude in your refusal to disengage from conversations that don't suit your needs. You may simply state that the decision has been made and is not up for discussion right now. If the person does not accept your insistence that the matter isn't up for discussion, excuse yourself politely.
Tip #2: Prevent Unwanted Advice in One Area by Asking for Guidance in Others
If you know that someone you see regularly just can't wait to offer advice on any and all topics, you may satisfy that person's need to give advice by asking for it on topics that won't feel too personal for you. For example, you may ask the person to weigh in on the most inspirational film that he or she has seen that season or ask about ways to prevent sunburn without sunscreen.
Let your imagination go wild and be sincere when you ask for this advice. You may want to ask about how to keep your skin healthy during pregnancy if the person loves skin care. When you ask for advice in areas of your life that you like discussing, you can more easily convey that you care about the other person’s opinion even as you set boundaries with what topics you agree to discuss.
Tip #3: Change the Topic of Conversation to One That Suits You
The ability to change the conversation in the direction of your preference is a skill that will serve you well throughout your life. This skill is especially helpful when people are trying to offer unwanted advice about your pregnancy.
You can simply restate your decision and then change the subject. For example, if you're enjoying an Italian meal with the person, you may try saying, "The decision has been made. How about that delicious pasta sauce? What spices do you think were used in it?"
Your next question after reaffirming your choice could be about any light topic. Being firm in your stance and then introducing a more enjoyable topic of conversation can protect you while giving the other person a way out of facing the awkwardness of their advice.
Tip #4: Restate the Rude Comment Directly to the Person
You may simply restate what was just said word for word. Don't add your own commentary at first. Simply repeat the comment exactly as it was stated. Sometimes, when people hear their rude words repeated back to them, they will be mortified that they said something so awful.
For example, if someone asks, “Don’t you love your child?” and insinuates that either placing your baby for adoption or not doing so shows a lack of caring, you can repeat the statement. By replying, “Do I love my child?” as though you don’t understand why someone would ask such a question can show the asker how you feel about the issue and the question.
The person who offered offensive advice or said something rude to you may be immediately apologetic when your repetition reveals how awful the comment was. If you don't feel comfortable repeating the statement word for word, you may try paraphrasing what was said. Follow that up by asking the person whether he or she really meant to say such a thing.
Tip #5: Be Frank With Relatives and Close Friends
With people such as co-workers, professional associates, and perhaps even strangers, you can often handle intrusion with methods that don’t address the core issue. For example, you can change the subject. However, it's best to be frank with those who are close to you. It’s only natural that your family and close circle of friends will want to discuss your situation with you at length. Expect that, and let your loved ones know what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
What you don't have to expect is any lack of respect for your choice. Once you make your decision, your friends and family members should support you as you walk the path you choose. And once someone you love has had their say, you don't have to tolerate its repetition. Be frank and firm with your loved ones and assert that your decision should be accepted without further argument.
Finally, keep in mind that it's important to be true to yourself. While it's okay to change your mind at any point in the process, you should never have to give in to pressure from others. Free counseling and further assistance is available from A Child's Dream, a licensed adoption agency with a warm, caring staff that is there to help you every step of the way.