Friday, May 11, 2012

Birth Mother's Day

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.


Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey said...

"I think anyone with a mother's love for a child should celebrate Mother's Day."

I loved that line! I like the "idea" of birth mother's day but the more that pass.... the more it makes me think it's just better to celebrate them on Mother's Day. I get why the whole holiday was conceived (no pun intended.... well, maybe a little) but as much as it is inclusive, it is also exclusive.

And having Brie with us at church and on Mother's Day last year was the best Mother's Day I had ever spent.

birthmothertalks said...

Great post. Happy Mothers day to you.

Lindsay Lovely said...

I stumbled upon your blog today and I just want to say, thank you! It brought tears to my eyes and a joy in my heart. 14 years ago February I myself went through "the happiest sad" and many people just don't know how to respond to the whole adoption situation. I celebrate Mother's day every year in my heart and my close family (those who know I even had a child as I was young) all wish me a happy day on Mother's Day as well. Again, thank you, and I hope you have a beautiful and blessed Mother's Day!

Kristine said...

Happy Mother's Day!
And, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Ditto Brittney above - I'm torn on how I feel about Birth Mother's Day.

Rachel said...

I feel the same way! I don't know if our birth parents even know about this special day, but I don't plan on ever telling them. Nope, they get to be celebrated as a mother and father on those specially delineated days because that's what they are! I'm so grateful for a day that unites all women who have that love for any child, and I think separating a certain faction from that larger group does the day a disservice. Thanks for the lovely post and Happy Mother's Day to you, Jill!

A Little Time, A Little Miracle

Unknown said...

The idea of birth mother's day is fab ^_^

~KH~ said...

I can totally appreciate where you are coming from and in some ways I agree with you, in one way I don't and I will explain why.
I am adopted. I met my birth mother. I have always had as much love for her (even before we met) ad I have for my own mother. But I celebrate birth mother's day because on mother's day I feel like I'm being a traitor to the woman who raised me. I was so glad birth mother's day was created because now I feel like I can celebrate Deby just as much as I can celebrate my mom on the traditional mother's day.
I often wonder if she thinks of me on that day, because she has her own daughter she raised after I was born. We parted ways 9 years ago and I think now she doesn't. But I always will think of her, she was/is my childhood hero.
I came across your post while looking to see if there was a birthfather's day created yet .. I'm starting that this year too since I have also met his family.
Best wishes to you and I love that you chose and can celebrate today for all that it is for you!