Mother’s Day is generally thought of as a cheerful, happy day, but for some birth mothers, this day and the days leading up to it can bring up a lot of different emotions.
Some birth mothers find that grief hits them hardest on the child’s birthday, while others feel it during the holidays, and some around Mother’s Day. This is why we celebrate Birth Mother’s Day: to celebrate how amazing birth mothers are for making an incredibly difficult decision.
Every birth mother has her own unique story. You may have a close relationship with your child’s adoptive family, or you may have no contact at all. Each adoption story is different, so every birth mother will have her own feelings about Mother’s Day.
One thing birth mothers do have in common is they are courageous. Placing a child for adoption is hard, but birth mothers take on that pain to do what is best for their child. They also make hopeful adoptive parents’ dreams come true.
To honor birth mothers, a group of women who had placed their children for adoption created Birth Mother’s Day in 1990. Birth Mother’s Day is recognized on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, so it will be on May 13 this year. Whatever your adoption story is, I hope that you feel honored and proud on this day. Here are some tips to help you observe this important holiday.
Accept Your Emotions
Remember that your emotions are not wrong or bad. Feeling depressed or feeling OK when everyone thinks you should be sad doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. So let those emotions come to the surface. Acknowledge your feelings for what they are, and name them.
If you are sad and missing your child, acknowledge that. On the other hand, if you feel proud that you made the decision you did and are happy for the family you helped create, then relish that.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. You can go out and celebrate or stay home and binge on Netflix. It’s up to you which activity would be best; you can handle this weekend how you want.
Write a Letter
A beautiful, cherished gift you can provide is a letter of love to your child. In it, you can share your feelings of hope and love. Writing such a letter can help you to release your child into the arms of their adoptive parents with trust, faith, and love. Many birth mothers have shared that writing this letter helped them cope with the mixed emotions they faced after placement.
Even if you have no contact, write and hold onto that letter. You never know if that day will come when you may see your child again, and what a joy for them to see letters you may have written over the years. Writing is a great way to release some of those emotions you have swirling around.
You are not alone: reach out. Find a group of other women who have placed children for adoption. Birth mother support groups can be beneficial in giving advice and just listening. Talking with other women who have been in your shoes can be very helpful. It is rewarding to help others who may be struggling too!
Get the right support, especially if you are overwhelmed by emotion. Lifetime Adoption offers third-party counseling, meaning we don’t employ the licensed counselor. You deserve to be able to move past hard things to be the best you.
Be Gentle to Yourself
Pamper yourself. As a birth mother, you made the ultimate sacrifice for the love of your child. So birth Mother’s Day should be a day you take that long bubble bath, indulge in your favorite pint of ice cream, go for a long hike on a beautiful trail, or do whatever makes you feel healthy and happy.
There is no instruction manual on how to live as a birth mother. Whether you spend it alone, reflecting, or spend it with others, if it works for you, it just works. You are worthy, you are loved, and you are important. Happy Birth Mother’s Day—whether it is a good day for you or a harder day; whether this is the only place you hear it, or whether many others acknowledge you. You, as a birth mom, deserve to be celebrated.
As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.