Birthmother’s Day: May 8th, 2010

Birthmother’s Day is a celebration of the special role of birthmothers and the loving and unselfish decision they made on behalf of their children. Mother’s Day is painful for many birthmothers because it is a reminder of the loss they experienced in adoption. She is a birthmother but not a mom—the adoptive mother is the mom.

As a result, most birthmothers don’t feel entitled to celebrate on Mother’s Day. Typically, they feel sad on this day when everyone is celebrating the joy of motherhood. The birthmother’s role in the child’s life is not generally acknowledged by society. Friends and family do not recognize birthmothers on Mother’s Day. People don’t send them Mother’s Day cards.

Birthmother’s Day was designated in 1990 by a group of birthmothers to acknowledge the role of birthmothers. For more information visit the BirthMomBuds website.

This day of celebration (the day before Mother’s Day) was set to help support birthmothers in acknowledging the choice they made for their child and the special role they play in their child’s life. The goal is to help birthmothers feel positive about themselves and also provide support to each other.

Some groups have special celebrations on Birthmother’s Day. For example, candle lighting, reading poems, music, etc., all honoring the role of birthmothers.

Many adoptive parents honor their children’s birthmothers on this day, too—sending flowers or a card with recent photos of their child. There are special Birthmother’s Day cards available through the BirthMomBuds website or families can create their own. If the child is old enough to participate in honoring his/her birthmother, he/she can sign the card or include a drawing or letter to go along with the card.

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  • Susie

    “She is a birthmother but not a mom—the adoptive mother is the mom.”

    I became a mom when I became pregnant with, nurtured, nourished, and gave birth to my son 31 years ago. I AM HIS MOM. I cannot un-grow, un-birth, un-love him. Once a mother, always a mother. I may not have parented my son, but I AM one of his mothers.

  • Lisa

    Yeah, no question you are your child's biological mother. I think what she's saying is that in adoption there is one mother who gives birth to the child and one that raises it. So, you can bet that a kid is going to call his adoptive mother “Mom” since she'll be raising him or her.

  • egrimm

    That is beautifully put, Susie, and very true; “I cannot un-grow, un-birth, un-love him. Once a mother, always a mother.”

  • An Adopted Child

    I must disagree. To agree would be to agree that a sperm donor is the child's dad. You did give birth and if you gave the child up for adoption then you passed the role of mom off to someone else who is now going to raise him. To equate yourself to the people who raise the child just because you carried the child for 9 months is ridiculous.

    I'm wondering, “mom,” if the child develops a disease which is hereditary to YOUR side of the family, will you be his mom then and pay the medical bills? Or are you just waving the mom flag without thinking of the consequences.

    You had your chance to keep the child and you willingly passed it on to someone else for whatever reason. With that, you passed on the name of mom with it to the woman who is now raising him. You can still love him but the title goes to someone else now.

    Anything else demeans the lady who is now raising him and whom he calls mom.

  • Susie

    Like it or not, I am one of my son's moms. Like I said, I cannot un-birth him. If I had not become a mother, my son would not be here. If my son was not here, his adoptive mother could not have raised him. You must have missed a class or two on biology. It is a biological fact ~ a baby is born from sperm from a father as well as the egg from his mother. So yes, he also has two fathers. The one that helped make him, and the one that was lucky enough to raise him.

    I'm wondering “adopted child”, what kind of adoptive parents you have that raised a child so angry towards biological parents. That you can't admit that adopted people have two sets of parents.

    I would give anything to be able to have been lucky enough to raise my son ~ even if he had a hereditary disease, no matter the expense of the medical bills. A mom loves forever, unconditionally.

    I in no way demean the lady that was so lucky to raise my son ~ I made her a mom.

  • http://adoptionreform-nc.org Roberta

    My comment on this would be,
    She is a 'Mother', because she did give birth, but the adoptive parent is the 'Mom', because she is there to nurture the child through the rest of its life. However, once the child becomes an adult, is it wrong for them to have 'two MOMs'?
    If a Mom can have more than one child, why can't the child now an adult have more than one MOM?

  • An Adopted Child

    Susie -

    I just read the most amazing article posted by someone on our adoption forum. I read it and it made me think. You, of course, are right.

    Happy Mother's Day.

    Here's the article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/fashion/09Lov

  • susie703

    I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes ~ that was a beautiful story. I cannot begin to imagine what my life might be like if I had been able to be a part of my son's life all along. To not have unanswered questions for 30 years. To have my son know me as one of his moms, not a stranger that came into his life as an adult.

    Thank you for that link,
    Susie

  • Erin Grimm

    A mother has open hands. http://snipurl.com/realmoms

  • Imdancerd

    There’s a thorny issue of what ‘mom’ means.  Inevitibly it seems, when people find out that my birthdaughter was adopted, still insist on saying that I’m her mom, because I’m the one who gave birth to her.  But I don’t feel like a mom-I didn’t wake up in the night with her as an infant, I don’t take her to school every day, or do any of the thousands of other things that make your mom, well, your mom.  She’s turning five this week, and she knows that she came from me.  Her parents truly embrace our open adoption, and they are a part of our family now.  But they are still her parents.  I gave birth to her, I love her more than I can say, but I’m her birthmom, not her mom.  I’m a child of divorce myself, and my biological father wanted nothing to do with me as a child. My mother’s second husband adopted me when I was five, and he is my dad. 

  • Redfros

     I couldn’t agree more.  As an adoptee, I have long understood the old saying “Anyone can be a Mother, but it takes someone special to be a Mommy.” Taking nothing away from the love, care, and sacrifice a mother gives to her child during pregnancy and sometimes the first few weeks/years of her child’s life, a mom loves cares for and sacrifices for her child from the first moment that child enters her life until the day she dies.

    While there may be many reasons why a mother is not able to raise her child herself, that doesn’t necessarily mean she stops loving, caring, or thinking about her child. Unfortunately there are some that don’t love, care about, or even think about the child they have given up. These are the ones that should be thought of as egg donors and incubators.  The ones that do still care and think about their child, should be entitled to the title mother.  The title “My Mom” should always be reservered for the woman that loved you, cared for you, tended to your needs, and sacrificed for you while teaching you how to live.

    With all this being said, if as an adult, the child does reunite with their mother and form some sort of relationship with her, it would not be wrong to address her as mom.  This is something that should be discussed between the mother and child, but it should ultimately be the child’s decision if they want to address her as mom or not. When speaking about her with others, one should use the terms Mother and Mom or even biological/birth mother and adoptive mom.

    Things brings up my final point.  The terms natural or first mother/father are offensive. Natural implies that there is something unnatural about the adoptive parents.  While they may have been the first parents chronologically, they are not first in the heart.  Technically the Mother gives birth to the child. Both the Mother and Father are biologically related to the child. While these terms seem colder, they are more correct and less offensive to the child and adoptive family.  The terms tummy and heart mommy are fine for teaching very young children about adoption, but are not appropriate for older children and adults.

    The best advice I can give is to remember, “No matter what the situation, do what is best for the child.”  The later in life someone learns the truth about something, the harder it is for them to come to grips with it.  Even a person that is adopted at birth, known all their life that they were adopted, and has been told from an early age the details about their parents and the adoption, will still struggle at some point emotionally with it, but it will be far easier for them than if they discover it as a teen or even worse and adult.

  • Finding Christopher

    I prefer the term natural mother.  I do not find it offensive in the least.  It was an act of nature that I became pregnant and gave birth.  If natural mother implies that the adoptive parents are unnatural, then doesn’t birth mother imply death parents?  I didn’t think so. 

    I’m sorry that the term is offensive to you.  I know many adoptees and adoptive parents who are not offended by it.  I wish there was a term accepted by all in adoption, but there isn’t.  Maybe because it’s unnatural? 

    (Susie703)

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