Ah, Mother's Day. I've read a lot of blog posts recently about Mother's Day and how awesome/fantastic/horrific/awkward it can be, depending on your perspective.
After I delivered my first child (Chloe) and placed her for adoption, Mother's Day was dubbed by me as "Awkward Day". I didn't want Mother's Day cards or to be recognized for all my "mom-ness", whatever that meant, I just wanted those close to me to to acknowledge that it was a weird day for me. I didn't feel like a mom, but I had given birth to a child, so in that sense I very much was one.
I was and am a birthmother.
I really, really identify with the term "birthmother". To me that explains exactly what I am to Chloe. I birthed her and made one significant parenting decision for her: who her parents would be. It is there my parenting decisions for her ended. She would not be calling out for me in the middle of the night, she would call for her mom, Melissa. Although, like Melissa, I would never want her to be sick. She wouldn't run to me with a skinned knee, her mom would be there. Although, like Melissa, her pain causes me pain too. I know some birthmothers feel like that term is too cold, distant, or not accurate as a description for their relationship with the child they placed for adoption. For me, that term feels like a good fit. It's hard to describe. Relinquishing my rights to parent her remains the most gut-wrenching decision I have ever made. But I feel in the depths of my soul that it was the right decision. I was meant to carry her, deliver her, and step aside and let her parents, Alvin and Melissa, take over. I understand that in adoption, like in so many other areas of life, what works for some doesn't work for all. But please know that referring to me as Chloe's birthmother does not offend me at all. It is a privilege and an honor to be called such, in my opinion.
I was solely a birthmother for seven years before my next child was born. James-the-blue-eyed-wonder. After he entered the scene, I felt a little more "normal" about Mother's Day. It was easier for the world around me to recognize me as a mom. I smelled (like spit up) like a mom. I looked (like I hadn't slept in years) like a mom. I "felt" like a mom. Seventeen months later, I became a mother of three when Reese joined the scene. The mothering fun continues!
My point in telling you all of this is to share my perspective on Mother's Day. This can be an awkward day for so many, for a variety of reasons:
- Mom passed away
- Lost a child
- Placed a child for adoption
- In a mom-role for a child that isn't biologically or legally theirs
- Never able to get pregnant
- No desire to be a mom (there's nothing wrong with this!!)
On this Mother's Day, how about just giving any female you know a hug and thank them for being them, regardless of their mom-status. If they look at you funny for doing so, tell them a birthmother told you to do it honor of "Awkward Day."