I am a birthmother, that means I have placed a child for adoption. So this Saturday I will be attending a Birthmother’s Day event sponsored by the adoption agency I placed through. This is a day for birthmothers and those in their lives to honor the sacrifice they have made by placing their children in the care of others. It is not a day of celebration, but a day of deep emotions and a day to honor the connection between the birthmother and her child. It is a very important day for me. Here’s an article I wrote two years ago for the agency newsletter and it explains a bit more about Birthmother’s Day and it’s significance. This article was aimed at adoptive parents and how they can honor thier child’s birthmother. If someone in your life is a birthmother, why not take this opportunity to honor her and her sacrifice.
With all this talk of Birthmother’s Day you may have a few questions. You may be asking yourself “I’ve never heard of Birthmother’s Day, what’s that?” I hope this will answer a few of your questions and give you an idea of what it’s like being a birthmother attending a Birthmother’s Day event.
Birthmother’s Day is a day to honor and remember the motherhood experience of birthmothers. It is held the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Birthmother’s Day was created in 1990 by a group of Seattle birthmothers who met each other at a birthmother support group. It grew out of the shared recognition that Mother’s Day is one of the most painful days of the year – second only to the birthdays of our placed children. For most birthmother’s there are no cards, no flowers, and no acknowledgement of our motherhood. It often seems as though birthmothers are even forgotten by those who received the gift and the privilege of parenthood through the birthmother’s loss. The pain a birthmother feels has been made invisible by a society that tells us we can forget. Without permission to grieve by those around us, birthmothers have lived in silence and isolation with a great wound upon our hearts and souls. Despite this invisibility and silence birthmothers are mothers.
Birthmother’s Day is a way to take back our rightful name of Mother and to celebrate ourselves as the ones who gave life. It is a way to expand the celebration of Mother’s Day to make it inclusive of all the mothers in our lives. It is a day to celebrate and honor the birth of our children – an experience many of us were denied. In doing this we affirm our relationship and connection with our children. We create a safe place to share our stories and become fully human again.
Birthmother’s Day is held on the day before Mother’s Day. There are several reasons for this. The first is to recognize that our motherhood is one of loss and abrupt separation, as well as love and connection. Secondly, our motherhood comes first and makes it possible for someone else to be a mother – the adoptive mother. If we had not given birth there would be no child for the adoptive family to parent. Observing Birthmother’s Day on the day before Mother’s Day symbolically represents this reality.
It is important for adoptive families to acknowledge their children’s birthmothers on Birthmother’s Day. Send her a card or an email letting her know you are thinking of her on this day. Unfortunately you won’t find “Happy Birthmother’s Day” cards at Hallmark. There are a few websites that offer cards for Birthmother’s Day – www.birthmombuds.com is one of them – check them out. Phone her and tell her what you love about her and your child. Send her flowers – every girl loves to get flowers. Maybe you’d like to sponsor your child’s birthmother so she can attend one of Adoption Option’s Birthmother’s Day event. It really doesn’t matter how you recognize her as long as you do so.
This is a wonderful day for birthmothers from both the closed and open systems to come together, share their stories and celebrate their motherhood in a safe and supportive environment. Birthmother’s Day is a special day for me. It is an emotional experience but also an uplifting and memorable day. I allow myself to be proud of the decision I made and to celebrate the other strong birthmothers in my life.