When I placed my birth daughter, I felt pain and sacrifice, but that was only at first.

As I grew, and as she grew, I soon learned that while I had given her and her parents an irreplaceable gift,  she had also saved me from going down an even darker path than the one I had been on. Soon I was able to enjoy the happiness and joy that came from knowing she had parents who could love her as much as I do.

I will always be her mother in my heart, and I am grateful that there is one day for set aside for her to celebrate our relationship–and one special day on which she can celebrate her mom.

Birth Mother’s Day was created by a group of Seattle area birth mothers who hoped to not only educate the community but also to honor and remember other birth mothers. Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh first came up with the day based on her own experience as a birth mother. She wanted to make sure that birth mothers had a chance to be honored and remembered on a day that was made to recognize their sacrifice. The first birth mother’s gathering was on Saturday, May 12, 1990; Birth Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. For some, the closeness of the two holidays can be a struggle; for others it is a joyful time.

For me, Birth Mother’s Day is a day when I can celebrate myself as more than a birth mother. It helps me reflect on all the experiences that have brought me to where I am now. I also think more about my birth daughter on that day than any other day besides her birthday and Christmas. That said, Birth Mother’s Day should not end up being a day on which you feel obligated to do something in remembrance of your sacrifice. A sense of being forced into celebrating can strip the day of its meaning and purpose.

Every birth mom’s pain is different. some want to be celebrated and others don’t. I personally have not found a way to celebrate that day for myself other than remembering my daughter and my sacrifice. So while Birth Mother’s day is not offensive to most birth mothers, it’s important for others to recognize that we each have a unique way of acknowledging our experiences as birth mothers

No one can or should tell us as birth moms how to feel about anything regarding our adoption. It would be offensive to me and my birth mom friends if we were questioned about how we celebrate the day, asked why we don’t celebrate, or told that we should celebrate it. It’s much more appreciated, I find, to be recognized as having had a child, even if we’re not the ones raising him or her.

Now let’s talk about Mother’s Day. When you’ve given birth but don’t have the child, it can be a rather difficult day. My first Birth Mother’s and Mother’s Days brought up pain from realizing that I did not have my daughter in my arms, and I had a difficult time celebrating my own mom because the days were so close. However, I have learned that if we use Birth Mother’s Day to celebrate who we are, it can end up being a positive day.

I went through a whole pregnancy just to place my baby girl into the arms of a loving family. As a birth mom, I find it nice when I am recognized and remembered on Birth Mother’s Day. We celebrate our own mothers on Mother’s Day by giving flowers, visits, or something else to celebrate that day; it would be nice if birth moms were celebrated similarly on Birth Mother’s Day.

It is somewhat upsetting to me as a birth mom that Birth Mother’s Day is not widely known or recognized, so do what you can to help spread knowledge of this day.