The first time I heard of Birth Mother’s Day, I was excited. Mother’s Day was hard for me since I had placed my son for adoption; no one ordered flowers or chocolates or made me a card to celebrate that I had indeed brought a child into the world. It was as if I had never been a mother. The idea that someone in my position had a day was thrilling and I couldn’t wait to celebrate and be celebrated.
Birth Mother’s Day quickly became a source of pain for me, though, when a speaker at an adoption conference I attended suggested that birth mothers ought to stay out of their biological childrens’ lives. That we were not mothers.
Driving home that night, I was flooded by emotions. How could I not be a mother? I had nurtured my son in my womb, like a mother does. I had rocked him to sleep, dreamed about him, worried about him, and loved him with the deepest love only a parent can fully comprehend.
The simple truth is that the speaker at that conference was wrong. I am a mother. Just like adoptive mothers are mothers. We are mothers.
I decided to forgo Birth Mother’s Day, as I felt it forced me into a box that wasn’t quite motherhood. I hoped and waited to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, but even then received nothing from the adoptive family of the child I placed. Late that evening, I sat on my deck, glass of wine in hand, and cried silently. Was there a place for me in the realm of motherhood?
Adoptive mothers, birth mothers– we’re all just another version of mother. We are mothers together, and neither one of us can cancel out the role or the importance of our impact in our children’s lives. When we seek to diminish or separate one another, our children feel the impact as they struggle to understand the prospect of having two mothers that don’t seem to recognize each other as such.
I’ve come to peace with Birth Mother’s Day. I think that the pain that had plagued me over this day was that I hadn’t voiced this simple truth: I am a birth mother, but I was a mother first. I will always be both. I will always celebrate both.