At our Annual Birth Mother Brunch in May 2023, we asked a variety of members of the adoption constellation to write an Open Letter to Birth Moms Everywhere. These were letters written to all birth moms that share what the writer appreciates about the birth mom in his or her life as well as birth moms in general. We will be sharing each letter as part of a series over the next few months. We hope these letters communicate just how much birth mothers mean to those who are walking alongside them on the adoption journey.
This message is written with love for my daughter, Apryl, who is a birth mother and for birth mothers everywhere.
Dear Birth Mother,
Today is “Birth Mother’s Day”. It is a day to celebrate and recognize those of you who gave birth to a child and for whatever reasons you are not parenting that child. Let’s acknowledge that right now. THANK YOU, birth mothers! You are incredible human beings!
I briefly surveyed a handful of people including three adoptive mothers and another birth grandmother in addition to myself. I asked for 5-10 words they would use to describe a birth mother. I would like to share that list with you and then emphasize a few of the words. Here are the words from my “survey”: loving, scared, sacrificial, mourning, hopeful, brave, courageous, rare, selfless, grieving, loving, hidden, pure, unselfish, brave, kind, faithful to her heart, most caring of all people, brave, strong, strong, courageous, tender, beloved, selfless, chosen. You heard a couple of those repeated – intentionally.
That’s quite a list! It obviously is not an all-encompassing list but at the same time, it is rich and meaningful. None of us can imagine your journey as a birth mother. What I believe to be true is that the journey does not begin, nor does it end with adoption day.
None of us can imagine your journey as a birth mother. What I believe to be true is that the journey does not begin, nor does it end with adoption day.
“Loving” is a descriptive word for you. You loved your child so much (and still do!) that you wanted him/her to live a life different than you may have been able to offer at the time of your pregnancy. That love extended to yourself as well. You loved yourself second only to your child. That is truly remarkable and comes from a place of being loved. To this day, may you know how much you are loved. “We loved because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
“Selfless” is another word that stands out and comes up often. Oxford dictionary defines selfless as “concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish”. In my mind, there is not another act more selfless than making an adoption plan for your child.
“Courageous” means “not deterred by danger or pain”. Could there be any better example of courageous than being a birth mother? You choose perspective adoptive families from profiles and make a plan, but you truly do not know the outcome. There is a lot of pain to you personally in saying goodbye to daily life with your child but somehow you move through it, being brave and courageous.
You, birth mother, are the one who moves through each and every day with loss, reminders of how things might have been or “what ifs”; you, birth mother, are the only one who knows how hard your journey is on a daily basis and when outsiders don’t understand and yet are so very judgmental (even family!); and you, birth mother, are the one grieving in a profound and unique manner, as your child has not passed away, yet is “gone” from your daily life.
Could there be any better example of courageous than being a birth mother?… there is a lot of pain to you personally in saying goodbye to daily life with your child but somehow you move through it, being brave and courageous.
“Hidden” is a word that seems to fit because outside of support groups and gatherings, being a “birth mother” is not generally a topic of conversation – it may not even be mentioned in many of your OWN conversations. One definition of “hidden” according to the Oxford dictionary is “concealed”. People can only see and know that which is revealed. You, birth mother, are traveling along in your journey at your pace, in your manner, and however works best for you. Please know, birth mother, there are others who are walking a journey and you are not alone. And there is an abundance of love waiting for you to receive. You are NOT hidden. We know you, we see you, and we are here to honor and love you.
Please know, birth mother, there are others who are walking a journey and you are not alone.
“Tender” means loving and kind. I realize that some of you may not want to be known for “tender” as that may sound like some kind of weakness to you. It is not. And even when you are brave and courageous, even superheroes have tender moments. I want to encourage you, birth mother, to be tender – loving and kind – to yourself. You are deserving of love and “good things”. Please be open to the “tender” in your journey.
And finally, birth mother, you are “chosen”. Chosen to give birth and honor that life to bless another couple in parenting a child. Chosen to be loved. Chosen and loved as you are. Birth Mother is a special title you have, unlike any other. It does not define who you are, but rather is a contributing part to who you are becoming and your life story.
To My Daughter
To my daughter Apryl: you were a young woman when you made your adoption plan and I have witnessed you walk your journey forward with such dignity and confidence in your decision. I have the utmost respect for you and always, an oozing amount of love for you, too! And to all birth mothers, may you know you are loved, respected, blessed, and overall, may you know you are such a blessing to this world. May you receive love and honor as we celebrate you and your journey this Birth Mother’s Day.
And to all birth mothers, may you know you are loved, respected, blessed, and overall, may you know you are such a blessing to this world.