The term "birthmother" is being reexamined by many of us who surrendered
children for adoption. The reason we are giving this term another
look is the feeling we get from being called a "birth" mother.
This term, along with "biological" or "bio" Mom relegates us to
a role similar to that of the Loggerhead sea turtle who struggles
ashore, deposits her eggs and goes back into the sea to swim away,
leaving her babies to fend for themselves.
perhaps the salmon is more to the liking of those who adopt. We
swim upstream, spawn and die. Either way, it effectively bars
any respect for our role in our children's lives and puts us in
the fog of the unseen and unknown and, if the adopters are truthful,
who adopt and those who facilitate adoption also have a nasty
habit of referring to us as "BM's" which calls up visions of (delicately
put) waste elimination. From those who are feeling extremely hostile,
we get the diminutive, "Birther." Altogether derogatory and disrespectful.
wonder then, that many of us are adopting new terms to describe
our unique situation. First Moms, Original Moms and Natural Moms
all speak to the fact that, along with the function of giving
birth, came the other criteria of love, concern and the ability
to deeply grieve and regret our loss. Though many of us have been
separated by the horrible gulf of secret adoption, the love for
our own offspring never left us and neither did our concern for
that child's welfare. That is why we search. That is why
we cry on birthdays. That is why we often turn to emotionally
debilitating behaviors to try to fill that painful void. That
is why we don't want it to happen to others.
those of us who have been reunited with our adult children, the
hard lesson of not having the power to change the past has been
learned. We have fought the battle for acceptance of our loss
and our motherhood in the eyes of our children. But, neither our
children, their adopters, the adoption industry nor the popular
American myth of adoption can take that motherhood out of our
hearts. It will be with us until we die.
babies are coveted and highly desired but we, ourselves are disrespected,
misunderstood and judged by our lowest common denominator. I belong
to several online groups for the support of natural Mothers and
adoption reform. These lists are full of intelligent, responsible,
articulate women who are mad as hell and getting madder by the
are not a population of drug abusers, baby-dumpers and welfare
baby machines. We are human beings who found ourselves in a situation
that was scary, problematical and frustrating. We wanted our children
and we also wanted the best for them. At the time, we were convinced
and in many cases, coerced into believing, that surrender was
the only alternative. Some of us know better now.
are banding together and sharing our experiences and, with the
sharing, we are growing stronger in our resolve. When our side
of the adoption story is portrayed with demeaning stereotypes,
we will protest. We will write our letters and emails and make
our calls until we are heard. It is past time for the media to
start taking the high road and treating the natural Mother with
the respect she deserves.
am NOT a "birthmother." I am a Mother.
Copyright © 2001