Birth Mother’s Day
Birth Mother’s Day this year is May 8th. Many people are not aware of this day. Adoptive families may be aware, but uncertain of how to observe it. Birth Mother’s Day was created in 1990 by a group of birth mothers (Silber, 2019), but what does observance of this day mean to the general public, hospital or mental health professionals, adoptive families, adoptees, and most importantly, birth mothers. The reality is it can mean something different to each person in those groups.
There are some birth mothers who enjoy an open adoption and regular communication between themselves and the adoptee and adoptive family. In this type of situation, Birth Mother’s Day may look like the adoptee and adoptive family celebrating and ensuring their birth mother feels especially honored. Birth mothers may also be reminded of the difficult emotions they walked through during the time of their pregnancy or birth and may view this day as an observance period for those memories. Some birth mothers may find joy in having their own special day, while others may wonder why they cannot be categorized with the mothers who are celebrated on the mainstream Mother’s Day and celebrate on that day instead.
Adoptive families and adoptees are encouraged to respect however their birth mother wishes to observe Birth Mother’s Day. If the adoptee and adoptive family do not have any open communication with their birth mother, it may be a time of reflection which could lead to positive or difficult emotions for the adoptee. The adoptive family can be mindful of this time and assure the adoptee their feelings are valid.
For us as professionals, we can work with our patients with special care and sensitivity around this time of the year. A patient who is making an adoption plan should be recognized as a mother whose role is not diminished but demonstrated through the loving decision that is being made. If you have a patient who has made an adoption plan in the past, it is important to follow her cues on how she views her identity as a mother/birth mother. Recognize that not all birth mothers are praised or respected for their decisions and maybe criticized for celebrating Birth Mother’s Day/Mother’s Day and your voice may be one of the only positive voices they hear regarding their role as a mother/birth mother. Each birth mother’s voice and story are different and matter.
Silber, K. (2019). Ask AF: Birth Mother’s Day. Adoptive Families. https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/openness/celebrating-birth-mothers-day/Back To Blog