Birth Mother's Day is a day to honor and remember the motherhood experience of
birth mothers, the women who lost/placed their children in adoption. It is held on the second Saturday in May and observed
with a public ceremony.
Birth Mother's Day was created in 1990 by a group of Seattle Washington birth mothers who
met each other at a birth parent support group. It grew out of the shared recognition that Mother's Day is one of the most
painful days of the year- second only to the birthday of our missing children. Yet birth mothers have been shut out of the
traditional celebration and remembrances of the holiday. Most birth mothers are neither named nor recognized among the mothers
in our midst. For most birth mothers there are no cards or flowers. Society treats the motherhood of the birth mother as a
momentary event that fades quickly from the collective memory. It often seems we are even forgotten by those who received
the gift and the privilege of parenthood through the birth mother's loss. This invisibility and silence gives adopted children
and adults the message they are forgotten by their birth mothers and that, they too, have no place for expressing their feelings,
thoughts or questions about the woman who gave the gift of life.
Most people are simply unaware that for the rest
of their lives, many birth mothers feel sorrow, and love, for the children they have lost through adoption. This is partly
because there has never been place or a way for birth mothers to tell their stories. Our pain has been made invisible by a
society that tells us we can forget. Without permission to grieve by those around us, we have lived in isolation and silence
with a great wound upon our hearts and souls. We have lived with the unspeakable sorrow of a mother's loss, a mother who lives
separated from her child.
Despite this invisibility, and denial, birth mothers are mothers. We are not
egg donors, or baby making machines. We have names and faces, hearts and stories. The process of pregnancy and the act of
birth are profound life-changing experiences. The birth experience impacts a woman for the rest of her life. Connections of
heart, spirit, and biology are forged. Eternal connections are made that cannot be dissolved by ink and paper. When birth
is followed by the abrupt loss/separation from one's child, a mother is plunged into the most difficult of human experiences-
grief, loss, despair, shame, and failure. This is the traumatic aftermath of an adoption decision for a birth mother. It is
with her the rest of her life. Some birth mothers ultimately find peace with the adoption decision, but even more live with
it as an open wound. It is a wound for which little understanding or help has come from those who advocate, facilitate and
profit from adoption
Mother's Day brings a birth mother's feelings and memories rushing forward like the tide. Most
of us have endured this annual event in isolation, invisibility, silence and secret grief, acknowledging our motherhood and
our absent child only to ourselves. Birth Mother's Day was created to help birth mothers move through this torrent of memory
and feeling. It is a way to take back our rightful name of Mother and to celebrate ourselves as birth givers- the ones who
give life. It is a way to expand the celebration of Mother's Day to make it inclusive of all the mothers in our communities.
It is a day to remember and to celebrate the birth of our children- an experience many of us were denied. In doing this we
affirm our connection and feeling for our children. We create a space to tell our stories and become fully human again- with
names, faces, voices and compassion for ourselves and our experiences.