I didn't know this until a few years ago, but the day before Mother's Day is Birth Mother's Day. I'm guessing Hallmark is unaware of the potential marketing implications inherent in such a holiday, because I have never seen a Birth Mother's Day card in a store display.
I think I've probably blogged before about Birth Mother's Day. The risk in having a blog with such a narrow focus is that I'm bound to repeat myself every so often. So please forgive me if this post feels redundant. But I keep hearing more and more about Birth Mother's Day, and I feel the need to opine.
I don't celebrate Birth Mother's Day.
It's not because of any feelings of sadness or bitterness or unresolved issues surrounding placement. It's not because the more time that passes, the less connected I feel to the adoption world. It's not because of any kind of modesty on my part.
I don't celebrate Birth Mother's Day because I don't need to. You know what holiday I do celebrate? Mother's Day.
I am not a mother in the traditional sense of the word. I am not parenting a child. No one calls me "mom" and when people ask me if I have any children, I respond with a carefully crafted "None of my own."
But my current lack of maternity doesn't change a few basic facts, and those facts are all reason enough in my mind to celebrate Mother's Day. Fact 1: I conceived* and carried and delivered a baby. I celebrated my first Mother's Day three years ago a few months before Roo was born, because the tiny feet digging into my ribcage (and sometimes my kidneys) meant I was already a mom. I was, at that time, only a mother in the biological sense of the word, but that was enough for me.
Every birth mother was a mother plain and simple before she signed paperwork.
Fact 2: For the nine weeks between Roo's birth and the day I placed her, I was her mother. I'm not her mother anymore, but that doesn't take away the weeks in which I was. I celebrate Mother's Day in part because of those precious months I spent loving and caring for the baby that was mine. I'm not a mother, but I was a mother. I always will have been a mother. Nothing can erase that.
Fact 3: I am not Roo's mama, but I still have a mother's love for her, and I always will. I think anyone with a mother's love for a child should celebrate Mother's Day.
I appreciate the thought of Birth Mother's Day. But I don't need it. I don't need a separate holiday that indirectly suggests I'm not celebrating Mother's Day because I chose adoption. The choice I made to place Roo was made as her mother. I can't separate my love for Roo like that. I celebrate Mother's Day as a former mother, as a birth mother, and as a woman with a mother's love in her heart.
I will not be offended in the least if you wish me a happy Birth Mother's Day. I'll be happy you thought of me, because even though I celebrate Mother's Day I know most people won't think of me on that day. I love hearing from adoption friends on Birth Mother's Day. Roo's parents have been so good to let me know they're thinking of me on past Birth Mother's Days (they are awesome like that) and it means the world to me. But please know that my heart doesn't need a different day.
I'll be celebrating on Sunday.
*For the record, I think just the first of those qualifies for motherhood. A miscarriage or stillbirth doesn't take away the hope and excitement and love that a woman felt for the child she carried. She's still a mother in my book.