All over the country, families devote the second Sunday of May to honor the mother figures in their lives. After all, mothers deserve to be celebrated. These women are strong and able, caring and understanding, with a love that is unconditional. Mothers carry their children where ever they go, deep within their hearts. And that is exactly what defines a mother.
Motherhood is not defined by biology, nor does it mean the same thing for everyone. There are all types of mothers today – adoptive mothers, step mothers, grandmothers, birth mothers. On May 12th, 2019, Adoptions With Love will be honoring all the mamas out there, no matter their path to motherhood.
“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”
A Note On Birth Mother’s Day
We all know about Mother’s Day, but did you know about Birth Mother’s Day? For many touched by adoption, this holiday is celebrated each year on the second Saturday of May – the day before Mother’s Day. It may not be marked on holiday calendars, but it is a very special day to many within the adoption community. What exactly is this day all about?
Birth Mother’s Day was established in 1990 by Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh to show support for birth mothers like herself. From that day forward, birth mothers around the country have been marking this day as a time to acknowledge and support one another, and to acknowledge the loving and selfless choice they made for their children. It is also a day for adoptive families to honor their child’s birth mother, the woman who made their family possible. Below, some of the birth moms at Adoptions With Love comment on what “Birth Mother’s Day” means to them:
“I think [Birth Mother’s Day] is a great way to recognize us and the decision we made. I like that it is separate from Mother’s Day because the way I look at it is, we are separate from the role our mother’s play and from the role the adoptive mother of our child plays.” – Bianca
“I believe it’s very important for all moms to celebrate, regardless of being a birth mom, adoptive mom, etc. We are all mothers and, depending on each individual’s situation, some birth mothers with closed adoptions don’t get the opportunity to receive a phone call from their adoptive family saying, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Many people don’t recognize the sacrifice we make as birth mothers, so I definitely believe we deserve a day for us.” – Kaelyn
“I think that although my child isn’t living with me and I’m not actually raising her, it doesn’t make me less of a mother to be recognized on a separate day than others.” – Brittney
Whether you are an adoptive parent or a birth mother, the adoption experience is an important part of your story. It has had a profound impact on your life. At Adoptions With Love, we understand that Mother’s Day weekend is one that often comes with a lot of emotions. Here, we will share some ideas for taking this emotionally-charged day and making the most of it. Read on for ideas on honoring birth moms with the ones you love.
How Birth Mothers Can Spend the Day
The decision to make an adoption plan certainly was not an easy one. Adoption is a courageous, loving decision that you made in your child’s best interest. Think about the possibilities that your choice has created. Because of you, your child can have a great life, with a safe and loving family, who will give him/her the means to go to college and become successful. Because of you, an adoptive family has also fulfilled a lifelong dream of raising a child. Focusing on the positives will only help you feel better about your incredibly strong decision to carry your baby to term and provide him or her with a life worth living.
These positives thoughts can also help you get through Mother’s Day weekend. You should feel proud of your decision and honor yourself on Birth Mother’s Day for the warrior woman that you are. Treat yourself to something special. Whether you have been craving a sweet treat at a local bakery, or your feet are yearning for a pedicure, you should take some time to do something that makes you happy. This is, after all, a holiday dedicated to you, the birth mother.
If you are in an open adoption, you may choose to meet or speak with your child’s family. Perhaps a phone call would brighten your day. If you are in contact with your child, chat with him or her on the phone, as well. If you are not in contact with the child directly, a simple update from the adoptive parents can be enough to put your mind at ease and serve as an important reminder of the positive choice you once made.
For some birth mothers, Mother’s Day is not always a fun weekend. If you are struggling, reach out to a loyal friend, family member, or a trusted counselor at your adoption agency. You may also read some advice from real birth mothers on coping with Mother’s Day this year:
Julia: Recognize the adoptive mother, text her, send her a card, do something. Also find something that will help keep your mind off Mother’s Day if you think it’s going to be a sad day. Plan a day with friends, or do an activity that will help ease your anxiety. If you can talk with the adoptive family, do that.
Also, recognize that adoption is not just about having a relationship with your child, it’s also about the parents as well. In the early years where the child is not able to understand exactly who you are as a birth parent, they are still able to recognize your relationship with the adoptive parent. The more positive that relationship is, the stronger your relationship will be when it’s time.
Brittney: The best advice I think I could give to other birth mothers is try to think of the positives on this day. I know for some it can be very emotional, but just think to yourself how you and the child will always share a special bond and be a part of each other. The day shouldn’t be about grieving your decision, but knowing you did what was right for the child and that even though you aren’t their mother figure, you are a special person to them in more ways than one.
Kaelyn: My advice is just to remember that, most importantly, it’s okay to have these feelings. For me, this year is my second Mother’s Day and I don’t have all the sad “what if” feelings anymore. It takes time and every person deals with things in their own way. When I was feeling down around this time last year, I asked for pictures of my daughter or just had a conversation with my adoptive mom asking if anything new has happened, how their weekend was… little things to put a smile on my face!
How Adoptive Parents Can Celebrate
If you are an adoptive parent, you know how important your child’s birth mother is to your family’s story. You can honor her every day by sharing her adoption story in a positive light with your child. On Birth Mother’s Day or Mother’s Day, you can take some extra time to show appreciation and gratitude to the person who helped you become a parent.
If you are in an open adoption, you may choose to:
- Take your child’s birth mother out to lunch
- Share a special phone or video-call conversation
- Send flowers or candy
- Mail a handmade card or piece of artwork from your child
If you do not feel comfortable with these ideas, or have a closed adoption, there are certainly plenty of other ideas to consider. Some other ways to honor birth mom this year include:
- Plant a tree or flowers
- Give back to a local women’s shelter or charity-of choice
- Spend time going through your adoption story and photos
- Write a letter to your birth mom, and send to your adoption agency for safekeeping
- Saying a special prayer or wish
- Make a special meal and toast your birth mom at dinner
Of course, whatever you choose to do to celebrate Birth Mother’s Day, it is the thought that certainly counts. As you are already aware, it is not genetic connection or even parenting that makes someone a mother – it is love. This is something that mothers – both adoptive and biological – have plenty of, regardless of their circumstances or level of contact. Birth mothers are an important part of children’s history and identity, and they deserve the recognition and honor on this special day.
For even more information on adoption or sharing adoption stories with a child, reach out to Adoptions With Love. We are here, any time of day, any day of the week, to help you and your family. Happy Mother’s Day to all!