Once more, we in AdoptionLand are accosted by Mother’s Day. What does it mean? Who is it about? Bastardette even wonders: why bother?–but then she’s mean-spirited and hateful. And since she is not a mother of any sort (praise be to Kali!) she does not feel qualified to discuss the qualities of motherhood in general.
The term “mother” and all of its associated emotions, however, is a flashpoint in adoption. Just what and who is a mother?
What is the correct terminology for women who gave birth and, willing or unwilling, “relinquish” their children for adoption. Birthmother? Natural mother? First mother? Biological mother? Real mother? Mother?
And for women who have adopted the children of these women, what is the correct term? Adoptive mother? Adopter? Real mother? Or the ever-grating “adoptress? which almost rhymes with adultress.
For what it’s worth, nobody ever hardly asks adopted people what they think about this schezoid naming ritual, which is probably for the best.
Many birthmothers (and I’m using that term strictly as a generic accepted term within the adoption industry) feel disenfranchised by Mother’s Day. Thus, a few years ago a new “holiday” was created just for them: “Birthmother’s Day complete with special ceremonies and sappy cards and angel pins. Wouldn’t a bmom just feel so special getting this one from “her”adoptive parent(s) and knowing that she and her mis-conceived child are part of God’s plan:
Because of you and your gracious heart
and your self-less act of love,
we thank you and God on high
for our miracle from above.
Who writes this stuff? Shirley Dobson?
This year, as every year, of course, the battle over Birthmother’s Day v Mother’s Day pitches on in adoption-related Internet mailing lists, news groups, and chat rooms. While Bastardette suspects that most bmoms either don’t know or don’t care about Birthmother’s Day, as in every culture war, there are distinct minority groups within the cohort who do care and that rally ’round the flag. Some bmoms embrace the new “holiday” reporting it therapeutic and cathartic–or at least nice. Others, such as the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers loathe the very idea. Interestingly, some very politically active bmoms of our acquaintance rather enjoy the day; others with no political axe hate it. Bastardette, being a Libra, sees both sides and has no desire to touch this hot poker, preferring to suggest that the “celebration” is simply a personal matter. In the spirit of personal autonomy, then, she recommends Jan Baker’s essay “Birthmother’s Day or Mother’s Day?” which supports an affirmative view of the motherhood of both mothers.
A personal note from Bastardette: Happy Mother’s Day, Dottie and Jane! You never met, but you were two peas in a pod. I’m sure you’re both watching from your celestial home in the Great Unnamed, and wondering just what in the world Bastardette is up to and why she turned out so bad after everything you both did for her. She used to be “such nice girl.” (cluck cluck)