Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day, Birth Mother's Day or Both?

Monika and her daughter, Mack
Mothers Day Series: Guest Post #3
Monika lives south of Seattle with her partner and daughter’s birthfather, Nick.  She can be found blogging about her journey and all things adoption on her blog, Monika’s Musings.

Mother’s Day has different meanings for mothers.  Some mothers, like my daughter’s mom, think that you shouldn’t need a special day to remind you to tell your mother and/or another mother in your life that you love and appreciate them for what they do.  She views it like she does Valentine’s Day.  You shouldn’t just be telling your “valentine” that you love and appreciate them one day out of every year.  I agree, to a certain extent.  I agree that it shouldn’t be the only day you shower loved ones with appreciation.  However, because I’m a birth mother and not a mother in the traditional sense, Mother’s Day holds interesting significance.

Some people, including some birth mothers, believe that they cannot celebrate Mother’s Day so they’ve chosen to celebrate their birth motherhood on Birth Mother’s Day, the day before Mother’s Day.  I have no problem with that.  In fact I celebrate Birth Mother’s Day every year.  I also get a card around that time from my daughter’s parents.  I love those appreciative gestures and would never tell them to stop sending them.  But I also tend to think that Birth Mother’s Day is a day to be celebrated among other birth mothers and that it shouldn’t be presumed acknowledgment by anyone who isn’t a birth mother.

Mother’s Day is difficult.  There’s no avoiding that.  It’s a day of intense reflection for me remembering the choice that I made to relinquish.  Mother’s Day and my daughter’s birthday are days where I fight my grief.  That grief and struggles of regret don’t mean that I would change the decision even if I could.  In fact James Gritter in his book, “Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption” says that even the best decisions we make as people rarely are not tinged with regret at least occasionally.  I truly think that my decision to relinquish my daughter to her parents was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  But it’s a decision tinged with loss and feelings of that loss will never completely disappear, as much as I’d like that to happen.

Even though my daughter is not that old at just over 2.5 so I’m not that far along in my journey of birth motherhood, I think my experience has gotten slightly more intense.  I’m not certain if that has anything to do with my increasing relationship with my daughter and her parents, the knowledge that she’s gotten older and has the ability to make the cute gifts that all mothers crave, or a mix of the two.  I actually received artwork in my Birth Mother’s Day card this year and it completely made my day.  I’m sure I’ll be turning it over and over in my hands on Mother’s Day with that perfect mix of bitter and sweet feelings that so aptly describes birth motherhood.

So this weekend when many mothers celebrate their motherhood with gifts, cards, flowers, and time spent with their children, I’ll be celebrating the choice I made.  But I will also be thinking of my daughter and allow myself to consider what might have happened had I decided to raise her instead of relinquish.

{ Always looking for more guest posts, currently focused on your personal meaning of Mothers Day.  Find out more here. }


  1. I bet the card you recently received is one of your most treasured cards ever.

    You explain well the bitter and the sweet about Mother's Day and Birth Mother's Day.

    And let me simply wish you a happy month of May :-)

  2. That is a good way to put it Lavender - happy month of May back at you! ;)


It'll be a pleasure hearing your thoughts. Alisa

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