By Leah Outten
Being a birth mother on Mother’s Day weekend can be full of emotions. It’s a reminder of what our bodies did- carrying and birthing our children. And, also what we are missing- our children.
It’s a reminder that some may see us still as mothers and the important role that we hold in our hearts and as well as our children that we placed, while others believe we “gave up that right” and should be set apart on our own day- or worse- forgotten all together. Erased. Just like original birth certificates.
Ask any birth mother and she will give you her own feelings and thoughts surrounding Mother’s Day weekend. There can be a lot of controversy around this topic. Do we celebrate only on Birth Mother’s Day, the day set apart for us? Does that make us angry, or glad to be remembered at all? Should we be honoring birth mothers on Mother’s Day?
Sure, we don’t have the role of kissing boo-boos or tucking in at night, but that doesn’t negate the biological bond and connection that a mother and child can have, even if being raised by another mother. It’s okay, I promise. Children of all ages can love, honor and want both! What if we asked the birth moms in our lives how they wanted to celebrate? What if we listened to their feelings? What if we shared the day? Just as the child at the center shares their heart with both, why not acknowledge the person who helped make you the mother that you are today?
Personally, I have always chosen to celebrate on both days. Even before I had children that I parented, the people surrounding me loved me through my first Mother’s Day weekend and honored me. I was so moved to receive a card from my daughter’s adoptive mom, acknowledging me for Mother’s Day too. It was a simple gesture with a few heart-felt words, but it meant the world. Over the years, my birth daughter has chosen to celebrate both of us on Mother’s Day as well, but also wishes me Happy Birth Mother’s Day. As she got older I’ve received phone calls from my birth daughter and a few gifts. Sometimes she’s gifted me a mug she made me or jewelry- nothing fancy, but usually something symbolic to our story. Sometimes it’s a photo bracelet with her pictures, or something with encouraging words. It truly doesn’t matter what they give me, what matters is that both her mom and my birth daughter took the effort and thought to honor me in their lives.
It all comes down to communication and honoring each other’s role. How does the birth mother in your life feel? Does she celebrate one or both? As your child gets older and has a voice, ask how they feel and want to celebrate the mothers in their lives. Bring them into the conversations! Perhaps, if you have been celebrating their birth mother on Mother’s Day their whole life, they may not think anything should change from that! I know some of you are thinking, “But Leah, I don’t have contact with their birth mother.” That shouldn’t stop you from honoring them in your home, in your conversations and actions! Talk about them with your child, pray for them, draw a picture or card for them and set it into a box to save for if/when they come back to reunite. It will matter to your child that you are honoring part of their identity, the person who gave them life! Whether that’s on Mother’s Day or Birth Mother’s Day, the fact that you took a moment to acknowledge them will be a meaningful thing.
Mother’s Day weekend is all about honoring mothers-- all mothers. How can you share your heart and day the birth mother in your life?
Reminder: Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th, 2020 Birth Mother’s Day is Saturday, May 9th, 2020
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Blog Writer: Leah Outten, birth mom of 16 years
Meet Leah: https://www.arrowandroot.org/meet-leah