For many people, Mother’s Day evokes tender images: flower bouquets, breakfast in bed, and handmade crafts and cards. Mother’s Day is a big deal, as it should be! Every mom deserves a day to be acknowledged and celebrated for her endless hours of love, sacrifice, and devotion to her family.
But there is one mother who may have some complicated feelings about this day: your child’s birth mother.
The Origins of Birth Mother’s Day
Birth Mother’s Day was created as a way to honor that special birth mother who brought you all together as a family. It is celebrated on the second Saturday of May – the day before Mother’s Day. Founder, Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh, drew from her own experience as a birth mother to institute this day of acknowledgment. She found that people in her circle didn’t recognize her as a mother, even though she felt like one. She wanted to give all birth mothers a way to honor the mixed emotions surrounding their adoption experience.
Each birth mother’s journey is unique, so your birth mother will have her own preferences on this day. Respect those preferences. It is ultimately a day for her to affirm every emotion attached to her experience: the joy as well as the sorrow, grief, and pain. You can take part in this special day by expressing your gratitude to the woman who made you parents.
How Can We Recognize Our Child’s Birth Mother on Birth Mother’s Day?
1. Honor your adoption agreement today and every day. Today is a great day to share pictures and updates, but make sure you honor the terms of your open adoption all year long.
2. Send a card. Yes, there are cards made just for Birth Mother’s Day! If your child is old enough, you may consider a handmade card or craft. Your birth mother will appreciate these tokens from the heart.
3. Send a gift. If you have a relationship with your birth mother, you can personalize your gift to her specific interests and passions. A piece of adoption jewelry also makes a great gift. Jewelry containing a symbolic charm or birthstone is a particularly thoughtful gesture.
4. Get together. If your open adoption agreement includes occasional visits, Birth Mother’s Day is a perfect day to schedule some time together. You can go for a hike, participate in a common hobby, or go out for a special dinner. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have an opportunity to talk and connect.
5. Attend a Birth Mother’s Day Ceremony. Contact adoption agencies or local adoption support groups to find a Birth Mother’s Day event in your community. If there are no events in your area, you can always participate online. Use #NationalBirthMothersDay to celebrate and share on social media.
Your child’s birth mother may also choose not to celebrate Birth Mother’s Day. She may prefer to be recognized on Mother’s Day, or she may wish to spend this day alone. Be respectful of her wishes.
What if We Are Not in Contact with the Birth Mother?
If you don’t have contact with the birth mother, you can still honor her on this day. Create a ritual like retelling your child’s adoption story or adding to a scrapbook. This practice is also beneficial for your child. Respect for your child’s birth history makes a positive impact on your child’s developing identity.
Will Celebrating Birth Mother’s Day Confuse Our Child?
Recognizing your child’s birth mother doesn’t take anything away from the fact that you are your child’s parents. You can have a compassionate, trusting relationship with your birth mother while maintaining the boundaries of your adoption agreement. Your child will benefit from seeing positive interactions between you and her birth mother.
Remember that Mother’s Day and Birth Mother’s Day might be a difficult time for your birth mother. Just like any other loss, anniversaries such as these can start the grieving process all over again. Even if it’s been years since you became a family, continue to show your birth mother that her sacrifice created something beautiful. Show her how her decision to choose adoption has created a ripple effect of love and joy for so many lives.
However you choose to honor your birth mother on Birth Mother’s Day, make this a day of reflection and gratitude for the woman who chose a hopeful future for your child. You are a family because of her!
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”