|Yes, I got this one. Not my favorite.|
And it can't be ignored. Ads are everywhere--in the newspaper, on television, in magazines, on the internet, on Facebook. Send flowers! Buy a bracelet! Perfume! A day at the spa! Even Women for Women, a charity I support, is sending me emails urging me to give a woman in some far-away country a sewing machine or money to start a garden and give my mother a card saying it was done in her name. Personally I find that kind of "gift," unless requested by the recipient, specious and not a gift at all. But back to our dilemma:
Will a card come in the mail? Will my daughter call? Just as adoptees wonder if their first mother thinks about them on
their birthdays, we first mothers wonder if our lost children remember us on this day.
|Jane and Lorraine in a happy time many years after reunion.|
Try as I might, I was never zen about Mother's Day when my daughter was alive. Before I found her, she filled my thoughts, though I did my best to keep busy that day. My mother was still alive, but mostly I was not in the same city as her, so flowers sent and a phone call had to do. But I never acquired the knack of banishing all thoughts of my lost daughter--what she was doing, how she was, where she was. After I found her at 15, I couldn't stop hoping she would call, send a card, do something to acknowledge that I'm her mother too.
Of course I imagined that flowers, dinners, et cetera were going on back home to assure her adoptive mother she was appreciated and loved. In my mind, they were better than any Hallmark Mother's Day scene. I never actually found out if all this did happen because I wouldn't ask and certainly my daughter wouldn't have shared anyway. But knowing my daughter's need to prove to her adoptive mother Ann that Jane, our daughter, was indeed a good daughter, and that Ann was the only mother who really counted--well, I imagined something quite grand. Then I could really feel sorry for myself, a poor wretch who often didn't rate any acknowledgment at all.
|The best card!|
Then there was the really bad idea that being a "birth mother" ought to be celebrated with its own special day. Apparently Saturday, May 9, is still recognized in a quasi way as Birth Mother's Day if you search for it on the internet, but here is what popped up today in the first position:
"If ever there was a controversial holiday, this is it. The day was established by birth mothers to educate, to remember, and to cope. But, many mothers who gave up their children have feelings of remorse, and often guilt. Many don’t want a special day.
Hallelujah! Since we have been railing against this idiotic day since we began blogging in 2008, perhaps we have been part of the push back against this insanity--that supposedly was the brainchild of first mothers in Seattle in 1990. Let me add if that is really true--and it did not spring from some adoption agency with the cooperation of first mothers--what were they thinking?
And, of those mothers who want to be remembered, they don’t necessarily want a special day, aside from Mother’s Day. They feel they should remember, and be remembered, on Mother’s Day.
...and the gray in your hair..it says inside. Also preferred!
From the child’s perspective, adopted children understandably have a high level of anxiety over this topic. A fair number of them don’t want a relationship with their birth mother, adding more controversy to this day.
If you do celebrate this day, we suggest you use it to promote education of the issues, and to show compassion and understanding to birth mothers."
|For "mothering" acquaintances and special people. Cool.|
THOSE SPECIAL CARDS
Cards for "birth mothers" as above are apparently still in vogue. I even found a site where you can special order such a card. And there are apparently cards that thank the "birth mother" for "giving us the world" et cetera. They are designed to make us feel as if we are participating in some warm and fuzzy event, rather than the violent rupture between natural mother and child as they are set adrift. This business of "thanking" the mother is wrong every way you look at it, and can only make the mother miserable. Acknowledge our pain, but do not thank us, or try to tell us that we have given a great "gift."
I went to three stores in my area that sell cards yesterday, and found none that had any sort of birth mother cards, though others report they are still out there, especially at card shops (whose numbers are dwindling) that have rows and rows of cards. The joy that Jane's homemade card (above) gave me was boundless. The amusing cards also were much appreciated, and only once did she go with gushy sentimental, which is really not my style. Being remembered at all is what mattered.
But for those in a good relationship, please DON'T remind us that we are only birth/first mothers with a card announcing that. Do the folks at Hallmark realize how much we mothers in reunion hate BIRTH MOTHER cards? How demeaning they are? If you are an adoptee and reading this, and don't quite understand why we are so worked up, imagine giving your adoptive mother a Happy Adoptive Mother's Day card on Adoptive Mother's Day, which appropriately would fall on the day after Mother's Day. It's doubtful she will appreciate the precision of your greeting.
YET. Mothers who have not heard from their sons and daughters in years are likely to have a different reaction to getting a birth mother's greeting in the mail, and that is understandable, for any recognition from a child found and lost again is welcome. If this has been on your mind, this day is a good time to open that door again.
And to those who won't be acknowledged by your lost daughter or son, don't focus on the day. If you have other children, you are probably going to remember the lost one, but do focus on who you have. For those who do not, instead of waiting for the phone call that may not come, plan for yourself a treat: a comedy, shopping therapy, an afternoon yourself or with another woman at a spa. Avoid teary movies! Since my own mother died, I avoid restaurants because they are jammed and you will see...all those mothers being honored. I'm hoping for good weather so we can garden.
We may be depressed on this day, but remember, it's only one day. Tomorrow will be another day. Come Monday, and it will not be Mother's Day. Or Birth Mother's Day. It will be Monday. All day.--lorraine
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories
"This compilation of essays--beginning with birth mothers, then adoptive mothers, and finally the adopted daughters--goes above and beyond the usual "magazine style" articles on the quirks or perils of the adoption process. Lesbian women, multi-racial families, and a variety of socio-economic backgrounds all lend to this book a wealth of perspectives. The contributors are thoughtful, often in emotional pain, honest about their experiences, and each one is a talented writer.
"... the overall tone that adoption was an incredibly painful thing for all parties involved. The more positive essays were from the adoptive moms - birth moms and adopted daughters were obviously struggling to make sense out of their experiences.... I do not regret for a moment reading this wonderful collection, but at the same time I seriously wonder whether adoption is something I'm able to emotionally tackle after experiencing Wadia-Ells' book."--Amazon review