Saturday, May 8, 2010

Birth Mother's Day

Today, the day before Mother's Day, is Birth Mother's Day. I'm not sure how I feel about that. My feelings about it are a bit jumbled, but I'll try to explain anyway. If you're offended by something I have to say, please know that it's not intentional. I'm trying to express my feelings here, not hurt other people's.

First, I've never been a huge fan of Mother's Day as it is. It seems like it is manufactured to guilt people into spending a LOT of money to compensate for treating their mothers poorly the other 364 days of the year. I try to do nice things for my mom all year 'round. I have a wonderful mother. But I like to celebrate that on her birthday. She does, too. Likewise, shouldn't a couple who have adopted treat their baby's birth mom well every day they get the chance? They shouldn't wait for one day a year to have to remember her.

Mother's Day also seems to be the sort of greeting-card holiday that makes women feel inadequate. Not every woman has children. There are plenty of women who would love dearly to be mothers, but for one reason or another it hasn't happened yet. Mother's Day for them is torture. It's society's way of saying, call us when you're a REAL woman and you're actually done something, then we'll give you flowers.

I didn't really celebrate Mother's Day last year, even though I was quite heavily pregnant because, as I may have mentioned, not one person on earth was the least bit excited that I was going to have a baby. Do you know how incredibly bad that sucks? What a nasty, cruelly unnecessary slight on my sweet baby! Just because my situation wasn't ideal, didn't mean it was right to take it out on the precious little girl in my womb. She should have been celebrated; anticipated as the sweet and wonderful little miracle that she was. I'd harbored secret hopes that my mother might, perhaps get me a mommy-to-be Mother's Day card. That hell would freeze over and H would think of me on Mother's Day. That someone, somewhere who loved me would say, "You are going to be a mother soon, and I am so happy for you!"

Insult, meet injury.

Birth Mother's Day, too, is another opportunity for some people to make a big stink about their birth moms, and what amazing and wonderful women they are, and how they are beautiful and wonderful and selfless. And they will go on-line and post pictures of visits and elaborate Birth Mother's Day gifts and talk about how they are all best friends, and they do all this because they LOVE their birth moms - of course they want to buy her and make her gifts. They love her.

Does that mean that if I don't get gifts and pictures and visits for Birth Mother's Day, that Roo's parents don't love me? That's bull. I KNOW they love me. I will never, ever doubt that. They don't need to buy me gifts to thank me for placing Roo with them. They needn't thank me at all - I did it for Roo, not for them. The best way they can thank me and show me love, they already do - they are the very best parents they can be. They love Roo more than anything. They take the very best care of her. They took her to the temple. They love her. What on earth could I ask more? As far as I'm concerned, I got my Mother's Day gift on December 12th.

(I hate it when people explain their level of openness with, "Well, of course it's that way. We love each other. Why wouldn't we?" It makes it sound like if you don't have that, you're loved less. Nothing could be further from the truth.)

And then ... okay, I know I'm not Roo's mama. I know that. But I grew her and birthed her and loved her - still love her - shouldn't that count for something? Shouldn't I get to celebrate Mother's Day for that? In that way, Birth Mother's Day serves as more of a reminder of what I'm not than a celebration of what I am.

People have wished me a happy Birth Mother's Day, and I am thankful to them for thinking of me. And yet I'm a little uncomfortable with Birth Mother's Day. It was sort of created so birth moms could get some recognition for their sacrifices. So they could have a day, too. Well, I'd rather have tomorrow, if it's all the same to you, and I didn't place Roo for any kind of recognition. I don't want this special day that's all about how I placed my baby for adoption. I am so much more than that decision! I am more than a birth mom.

And yet I am a birth mom. But I like to focus on the second of those words. A birth mom is still a mom. Why can't I celebrate Mother's Day? Does choosing adoption make me less of a mother? I think that choosing adoption makes me the very best mother I could have ever been.

I'm not sure how much sense I'm making here. Some, I hope. And, again, thank you to those who have wished me a happy Birth Mother's day. I appreciate being remembered. But I think, for what it's worth, I'm going to celebrate being Roo's birth mom on my schedule. Maybe tomorrow, maybe on her birthday. Maybe on some random, arbitrary day. Maybe never. Roo is the happiest of girls and she has the best of families. I think I'd rather celebrate her; celebrate them.

Happy (early) Mother's Day to Roo's mama. I love you so much, and I am so thankful that you are Roo's mommy. She is so very blessed to be your little girl!


Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey said...

You don't offend me! :) (And yes, I agree that Mother's Day does really really suck for a woman with fertility issues...)

I just have a few things to say:

I can see what you mean about Birth Mother's Day- I can imagine wanting to celebrate on Mother's Day too... because I felt that same way about our situation. But just know that you should celebrate being Roo's mother... on SUNDAY. Just think of Birth Mother's Day as an additional day just for you. :)

And lastly, I just want to say that I actually like that Birth Mother's Day is before Mother's Day. After all, you were there first. :)

Savannah said...

I think you should celebrate both days.

You do make a very good point. Mother's Day, just like any other holiday, has become so commercialized. I can tell in ALL of your posts that you celebrate Roo every single day.

Ang said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this!

Annie said...

I, too have mixed feelings about today. But I also am concerned for your awareness. On one hand you say you're more than a birthmom, and on the other you say you're not her mama.

You will ALWAYS be Roo's mother. There is NO such thing as an ex-mom. NO one can take that away from you, and even her A-mom can only TRY Roo's entire life to be what you naturally are.

Some of my blog posts are about my open adoption, too. Stop on by if you like :D

Jill Elizabeth said...

Thank you for your thoughts. But I am not Roo's mommy. I am her birth mommy - that's what I will always be. Her mommy is her mommy, no "trying" necessary on her part to try to compete with me for any twist of nature.

Roo's mommy is the one who picks her up and soothes her when she cries and feeds her when she's hungry. Her mommy is the one who kisses boo-boos and reads stories and changes diapers and washes loads and loads of laundry. Her mommy is the one who holds her and rocks her to sleep and tucks her into her little bed with a kiss and a prayer.

I naturally gave birth to her and cared for her for a little while. And then I gave her to her mommy - and there's nothing unnatural about her! :o)

Meg and Ken said...

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Melissa said...

last night (i think) i was watching jay leno's monologue. he said, "did you know this month is national cheeseburger month? is it kind of sad that cheeseburgers get a whole month, and mothers only get one day?"

thanks for your thoughts. =)

Unknown said...

I'm sorry, Mama Anna, but as an A-mom your statement that "her A-mom can only TRY... to be what you naturally are" hurts. I know you didn't mean to offend and I hope that I can write what I am feeling without hurting anyone.

I love my kids. I have one daughter adopted through an adoption agency, one son adopted through foster care, and another daughter who will be adopted through foster care in a couple months.

I TRY every day to be the best mom for my kids. Do I wish I gave birth to my kids? No. I am more than happy with the way my kids came into my life, my world, my home, my family, and my heart. My kids are lucky enough to have more people love them including their birth moms, birth grandparents, birth aunt and uncles, and birth cousins. I am so GRATEFUL that I have been able to adopt two wonderful, soon to be three, kids.

My daughter has a wonderful birth mom. She is very kind, sensitive, and respectful. She would never say that to me. I would also never tell her that she is not a mom, because she is.

I am not less of a mom because I did not give birth to my children. I don't want to be loved more than or compared to her birth mom, I just want to be loved as a mom, not a mom TRYING to be what her birth mother naturally is.

Jill - I have always wondered about how birth moms felt about Birth Mother's Day. I think you have the right to celebrate whatever day you want; the same goes for my kid's birth moms.

We went to my daughter's birth mom's house today to give her pictures. I take Birth Mother's Day as a day to pamper your Birth Mother. Tomorrow I am going to call her too. She gets two days to be honored. I will always remember to honor her on those two days. I like holidays, I like to celebrate and give those I love a gift. I think every day we go to visit my daughter's birth mom is Mother's Day to her. When we visit she is reminded that we love her and that she is a part of our family. She is a little shy and I know she appreciates and wants that.

Mama Anne - I'm going to check out your blog so that I can see what your experiences have been. I have learned so much from Jill about what a birth mother is going through and it has helped our open adoption become even more open. (My daughter's birth mom is very quiet and doesn't like to talk about her feelings.)
I know that I will enjoy reading your blog too.

I propose that if we have given birth to a child, adopted a child, or have helped raise someone's child in any way we should celebrate being a MOM!

Unknown said...

Oh, Jill. Thank you so much. I just barely sent a comment to you but I deleted some of it. Your comment makes an A-mom feel so loved. There is a little part of me that worries my daughter will love her birth mom more than me and that she will be forever drawn to her as her one and only mother. Like I said before, I just want to be loved as a mom. To think that someone might tell me I'm not the natural mom breaks my heart. No, I did not give birth to my kids, but I love them as if I had.

dust and kam said...

i loved that you shared your feelings! Thank you, thank you!

I am still a little undecided about tomorrow. for so long, I wasn't a mother. Of course I had my angel baby, Hannah, but no one knew that. In my heart, I was a mother. To everyone else, I was an infertile who everyone felt bad for. Mother's day only made me miss her more. So many mixed emotions. This year, my heart is breaking all over again for G's birth mother. I know she is so happy for me. I know that this is what she wanted and the choice that she willingly made... but still, my heart aches. I can only imagine that she feels the way that I did when I celebrated Mother's Day without my beautiful baby girl. Then there is the joy! I am actually a mother to the most beautiful little boy ever. My heart is over flowing with gratitude for Korin. I am so full of joy! Mother's Day is complicated. That is what I think! :)

I really do hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day... once you find the perfect time to celebrate.

jgirl said...

Mother, Birth-mother, caregiver, Grandmother I honor all those who have made the fact we exist possible...enjoy everyday through the eyes of those we love and only wish that those who we love can show their appreciation everyday.

Brittney said...

Hey Jill- happy mother's day. Sorry I'm not in town to come celebrate with you

The Smith's said...

Loved, loved this post!

S said...

I found your blog from Kamie's blog, three comments before this comment (dustandkam). I have been following her blog, because she has gone through the adoption process, and I am in the beginning of my adoption process. Currently my husband and I found out we are unable to have our own children, and know adoption is how we are going to start our family. It really helps to read your blog to understand what birth mothers are going through. I still do not know alot about this process, or alot of the emotions you experience as you go through it, but I know it will be worth it. I cannot say that I know what you are going through, because I am sure that not being able to bear children myself will not compare to what you have gone through being a birth mother. But I know I will be reading your blog often! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am a new reader, also a Birthmother and I have to confess - I didn't know there was a Birthmother's day! I got to celebrate Mother's day once so far, the mother's day that I was pregnant. I'm also not a fan of Mother's day and feel a little (just a teeny bit) resentful that I had a baby and I loved that baby, I love him still - in my heart I am a mother but in society I'm something they are still trying to sort out! LOL! Love your blog by the way - I'll be reading!