|Mother's Day card from my daughter|
While I was feeling sorry for myself, I always imagined a big celebration going on with her adoptive mother--card, dinner, what-have-you. There were other children, and her adoptive father who was not likely to let any of them forget. I don't know if that was the case because I never asked. But one year, I got a wonderful hand-made card that said: To my Other Mother. Inside it says: "I couldn't find a card that defined our relationship, but then all truly matters is that is that I let you know, I Love You. Happy Mothers day LORRAINE, love Jane." It must have come with a present, because there is a note on the back about using whatever she sent to "relax after a long hard day."
DON'T JUST STAND THERE AND WEEP...
We can't make Mother's Day into the kind of pleasant and possibly hectic day it will be for mothers who are raising children, who may have a dad-supervised breakfast in bed served on a tray with a rose in a bud vase. The restaurants will be full and there will be beaming mothers everywhere. For florists, Mother's Day is a bonanza. Ditto for Hallmark. But for many, if not most, mothers who surrendered children to adoption this day is bitter without any sweet.
|Lorraine with daughter Jane and her daughter|
And if you just want to ignore the whole damn Mother's Day commotion, remember that Monday it will not be Mother's Day.
BIRTH MOTHER'S DAY???
As for "Birth Mother's Day," observances throughout the country to commemorate...us natural mothers, I am of a mixed mind. "Birth Mother's Day" is the day before Mother's Day, which makes some sense because we did come first in the lives of our children, but my brain says--f%$#ING BIRTH MOTHER'S DAY? Who are they kidding? Celebrate the worst experience of my entire life?! NO!
|Lorraine and her alternate universe daughter|
I have railed against these special events in the past, but I have also read blogs and comments by other natural mothers who said they enjoyed the observance because it was an opportunity to connect with other first mothers. Natural Mother's Day? I don't imagine any agency would sponsor such an event.
But we do change, and if you think you might enjoy spending part of the day with other women who will understand your deepest feelings, seek such an event out and go! You certainly will be able to let down your guard because the women you meet will understand, and not condemn. You won't need to hide your feelings or explain. In the New York area, the Birth Mother's Gathering is from 6-9 p.m. tonight at Spence-Chapin.
Yet we are wary of an event hosted by an adoption agency for they send the message that "birth motherhood" is a status worthy of honor, the social workers there are likely to make you feel you did a good thing--how brave are you! for giving up your child....So you see, I just can't get behind them when they are sponsored by the agencies whose business depends on mothers supplying babies. Mothers of the children who really need new families because their mothers are addicts, or in jail, or actually dead and there are no family members to take them are not going to be in attendance. These are events for middle class women, who did the worthy deed of giving up a child. Such events normalize the experience of relinquishing a child. They celebrate the attitude that nice "birth mothers" are good girls, a credit to society, saviors to the infertile. None of this should ever be seem as normal. Giving up a child, and thus becoming a mother with a modifier, is always the cause of grief and sorrow for both mother and child, not something to be celebrated.
|From my Alternate Universe daughter|
For any adoptees reading--if you are in touch with your mother who relinquished you, give her a call, send her a card (if there is still time) but pass by "birth mother" cards and find a regular one that suits you. Some of my daughter's best cards (other than the one above) were funny ones. Or use a blank card and write your own thoughts--that is likely to be the best of all. Hearing from you on this day, even if the message is a simple hello, thinking about you--will be a huge gift. Of course, there are flowers.--lorraine
Revised from a Mother's Day post a year ago.
PS: I found this at an old post I wrote a couple of years ago, about how my daughter signed a Mother's Day card: Jane wrote quite a bit inside that card, but what is most poignant is how she signed it: "Love, your daughter, Jane." She was 33 at the time, but felt compelled to add:
"Don't tell Mom I signed it that way. Don't lie, just don't bring it up, Okay?"
And that my friends is as good an example of adoptive guilt as you will find anywhere. --lorraine
How Birth Mothers Survive 'Mother's Day'
Why I'm not celebrating "Birth Mother's Day"
Mother's Day: The Holiday from Hell, Part 2
What’s Wrong with Birthmother Events on Mother’s Day? Just about EVERYTHING
B. J Lifton's Mother's Day card
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories
"Educator, writer, and adoptive mother Wadia-Ells has put together an enthralling set of essays from birth mothers, adopted mothers, and adopted daughters. Each story reveals a different facet of the adoption process and of family life in general. Stories of adoptions of all sorts--closed, international, private, and state-sanctioned--are included here, as are stories of a variety of women and from times throughout the last half of this century. Some adoptions were good for all parties involved, and some were not. Either way, the autobiographical compositions in this reader are consistently fascinating and poignant, and the broad spectrum of the writers' experience makes the book particularly worthwhile."--From Library Journal
Full disclosure: A piece by moi called "Family Reunions" opens the book.