Mommy Wars in Adoption

Will you be part of the problem or part of the solution?

Amy Harmon August 07, 2015
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Nothing brings out the passion like motherhood. Wars have been waged about vaccinations vs. anti-vax, homeschool vs. public education, or packaged food vs. kale. Everyone has an opinion about what makes a “good mother,” and it begins even before children arrive. Every woman enters motherhood with a idea of what they will be like as a mother. When a woman feels attacked on something as personal as motherhood, battles begin. Adoption has its own battles. How we choose to handle these will determine the outcome.

“So, you can’t have kids of your own?”

“Its probably different for you since you weren’t pregnant with your child.”

“Oh, you got off easy! I wish I could have a baby without having to go through morning sickness or labor!”

And many other statements made to birth mothers as well. We have all heard them. There are many misconceptions about adoption that can cause people to say terrible things. Worse than that, a few bad experiences in the past can make people lash out at everyone and intentionally try to cause pain to others.

Offensive situations can sometimes take hold of us for a while. They can detract from our happiness and fill us with anger. But what can we do? In spite of difficult people, we still have the choice on how we handle difficult situations. Not everything needs to end up in a war.

Not everything needs to end up in a war.

Here are some warning signs you may have come to the front lines. If you find yourself falling into one of these situations, consider immediate retreat, or a new approach to keep the war from waging.

1. You take things personally. Every situation is different, and people can make statements out of ignorance. It is important in these situations to be honest. Don’t think for a moment that I mean you should be abrupt or rude in the name of honesty. Everyone deserves respect, but you are allowed to share what you are feeling. Be quick to correct offensive adoption language or clarify some misconceptions.

2. You can’t see anything in common. This happens when people create an “us vs. them” situation. We can classify people into groups that make them completely different from us. Rather than creating lists of what is different, focus on what you agree with. When you get down to the nuts and bolts, there probably isn’t much of an argument. When talking about motherhood, we all just want what is best for our children.

3. You enlist armies. Have you ever seen those “Facebook rants?” Don’t try to recruit friends to “your side.” Keep your disagreement within the boundaries of those involved. Asking for advice from a trusted friend is fine, but using social media to make a public shaming will never solve a problem. If you find yourself here, run for cover. What you make public cannot be turned private again.

4. You can’t stop ruminating. Ruminating is when you relive something in your mind over and over. Its the mind chatter that keeps us up at night. Its the voice in our head that says, “but that happened.” It’s a broken record that runs through your mind relentlessly. Get it to stop. Go for a jog, go to dinner with a friend, help someone, journal. Do something outside of yourself and let it fade.

In the end, Mommy wars don’t need to take a large part of our lives. Be understanding and honest. Have a sense of humor. Don’t be offended. Take advantage of teaching opportunities. This is the hardest step, but let it go and find the good.

Anything you’d like to add? How have you been affected by “Mommy Wars”? Please leave your comments below!

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Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon lives in Kansas with her husband and two boys. Each child was a miracle; the first through adoption and the second through IVF. Her family is her passion, but in addition to that she is an RN, pianist, avid reader, slow jogger and an adoption advocate.


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