This guest post is by Lindsey Redfern at The R House.
When my husband and I were struggling with infertility, Mother’s Day was a dreaded day. It seemed that every word spoken in church and every ad on television was designed to drive a dagger into my childless, broken heart.
Eight years after my husband and I started the journey to have a family, I am now blessed to be the mother of two adorable, feisty, smart and loving little boys. It really is a dream come true!
I cherish my motherhood as it was a hard, long-fought battle to gain such an honor–and yes, I consider it an honor to be able to be a mom. So much so that Mother’s Day for me is a two-day long celebration.
It’s true that I love to extend celebrations (birthday month-long celebrations!), but Mother’s Day weekend is special to me for an additional reason.
Birth Mother’s Day is before Mother’s Day
Did you know the Saturday before Mother’s Day is Birth Mother’s Day? Birth Mother’s Day was started in 1990 by a group of birth mothers in Seattle, Washington. For many birth mothers, Mother’s Day can be a very painful day. These women in Seattle wanted to create a special day to honor their unique motherhood.
Having a special day to celebrate the first mothers of my children and the sacred act of placing their child for adoption in addition to celebrating them on Mother’s Day is part of my celebration.
In our very open adoptions, I just wouldn’t feel whole unless these women were part of my Mother’s Day weekend. You see, they made me a mother. When they placed those little boys in my arms for the first time, they gave me the honor and the title. Their broken hearts healed my own.
My dear friend Desha Wood is an adoption advocate and a birth mother. She was written, “He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, WE are motherhood.” To me, it’s the perfect definition of motherhood and why my Mother’s Day weekend has to include the beloved birth mothers of my children.
Adoptive mothers can enlarge their celebration
Joining hearts and celebrating with these women on Mother’s Day weekend does not diminish my own celebration–it enlarges it! There are more cards to be sent! There are more phone calls. There are more Skype dates. There are more special pictures drawn and flowers sent.
Some birth mothers are not fond of a separate day — Birth Mother’s Day. In my experience these woman are usually not fond of the title “birth mother” either and that is totally okay.
My suggestion is to simply ask the birth mothers in your life what they prefer. Ask yearly. Emotions and thoughts change. Out of respect, I honor my kids’ birth moms on the days that they allow me to, but either way, they are honored this special — and often difficult — weekend.
To all the adoptive mothers out there, I encourage you to enlarge your Mother’s Day celebration to include not only Birth Mother’s Day, but to include the birth mothers in your life on Mother’s Day. Be sensitive to their wants and needs just as you needed the spoken word at church and ads on TV to be sensitive to your unique situation during this holiday weekend.
I promise that your heart — and theirs — will appreciate it!
Lindsey Redfern is an infertility, ICPC, contested adoption, failed adoption and adoption scam survivor who blogs on open adoption and infertility at The R House.
Do you have an open adoption story? Share it with our community.
Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.