After discovering who my original grandparents were (both of my parents were adopted and died knowing next to nothing about their origins), my next education was in the realities of the adoption experience from a private Facebook group that includes all people related to the circumstance.
Early on, I learned that women who have given up a child to adoption dislike being referred to as the birth mother – as though all they did was give birth – failing to acknowledge that they gave 9 months of their life to the development of that baby – and not understanding as well the bonding that occurs between mother and child during gestation.
Understandably adoptive mothers really don’t want to dwell on the parts they were denied for whatever reason from experiencing. They are a desire-driven, forward looking bunch.
One such mother replied to a question about her preferences – as a mother of a child lost to adoption I prefer to be referred to as my daughter’s mother – because that is what I am. My daughter can call me whatever she chooses and it varies…she is 50 years old. Let’s be honest…..you, are your child’s adoptive mother. Your child has a mother. If you negate that you are negating a primal aspect of your child’s life! The truth is critical. Do not take ownership of that which is not your truth.
Another one shared – I prefer mother, mom, or natural mom. Birth mother reduces me to my uterus and ability to procreate. It dehumanizes me and intentionally strips me of my actual motherhood all in the name of stroking the egos of adoptive parents.
Yet another one added this – I like bio mom. Biology means a lot to me. But I don’t get offended by any of the other terms or names.
Sadly, another one shared – My daughter was adopted without my consent, we have direct contact once a year. The adoptive parents and social workers have always pushed the term ‘tummy mummy’ which I personally find very patronising and hurtful, I’d prefer natural mum over anything else.
Finally, there was this – I’m a mother, pure and simple. Of course, I lost my children to Child Protective Services, and it was in no way voluntary. As an adoptee, as well, I *far* prefer the term first or original mother over natural or birth mother. Both of my mothers are my “real” mothers. Both are my mother. “Birth” implies that my original mother was a brood, and “natural” implies that my relationship with my adoptive family isn’t natural. For me, it is. Being on both sides of this, I would argue that the feelings of the adopted person should be paramount to the feelings of the biological parent.
If you would like to know more about the history behind this issue, you can read about it here – The Origin of the Word “Birthmother”.
2 thoughts on “How Do You Refer To Her ?”
Great post and also a very informative link you added. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like the word birthmother. It was a name I felt carried shame. It said to me “not good enough” I certainly agree though that the child adopted can call their biological mother what ever they want to. We have talked about it and I think for the most part she calls me her first mom. But many people don’t know what that means. When she introduces me to people she just says I’m her mother. And then she may follow that up with that we’ve only known each other two years. I of course love it when she calls me Mom or Mommy. I would never take offense if she called me her birthmother or bio-mom, which I see a lot of adoptees say. I’m just honored to be the one who gave birth to her and blessed to finally be any kind of mother to her.
Thank you for sharing your personal experience here. And I do understand how good it feels to be any kind of mom. My daughter was raised by her dad and step-mother from the age of 3. Not the same separation as adoption or surrender but a loss that still is difficult for me to resolve within my own self. I am grateful not to have lost her love. Your comment is deeply appreciated.
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