Birth Mother’s Day occurs on the Saturday before Mother’s Day (second Sunday of May) and this year it falls on May 11. It’s a mindful tribute to recognize birth mothers who chose to place their children for adoption. This day also celebrates birth moms who were victimized and coerced into placing their children for adoption as they deserve just as much recognition and support. It takes a special kind of strength to grow a human being inside you, bring them out into the world safely, only to place them into the care of another. So it’s a day not just for adoptees to remember their biological mothers, but for adoptive families to appreciate the women from whom they received their child. If you want to make the day extra special then check out our gift guide.
History of Birth Mother’s Day
Birth Mother’s Day was first founded and celebrated in Seattle, Washington, in 1990, by Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh and a group of other women like her who had to place their child for adoption. They chose to commemorate it on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, which fell on May 12 that year, as a way of showing solidarity and support for each other at a time when society was revving up to celebrate the women who were parenting children.
This is symbolic in itself because it brought to the forefront women who have largely been ignored by general society, despite their enormous sacrifice. Thus, the primary purpose behind this day is to honor those women who may normally go through life forgotten — without the special recognition that the world gives to officially recognized ‘mothers’.
Over the years, National Birth Mother’s Day developed into a means to educate others about adoption and the implications it can have on all stakeholders involved. Especially in the case of families with open adoptions, observing this day can help them acknowledge and appropriately express their appreciation for the birth mother of their child. It can also help bring birth mothers together through their shared experiences, fostering a sense of community and belongingness.
At the end of the day, birth mothers play a crucial role in any kind of adoption, hence it is important for these women to have a day to be honored for their courageous decision, regardless of the context in which they made it. However, this day can also be slightly controversial, because it may hit a sensitive spot when it comes to the relationship (or lack thereof) between adopted children and their birth mothers. It must therefore be navigated carefully, and always with the consent of those involved, especially adopted children.
Birth Mother’s Day timeline
Closed adoptions disallow contact between adoptees and birth mothers.
The benefits of open adoption become apparent to all parties.
A bold group of women decides not to be forgotten.
The formation of support groups and forums for birth mothers is on the increase.
Birth Mother’s Day FAQs
Who is Birth Mother’s Day designed for?
Anyone really! You do not necessarily have to be a birth mother who made an adoption plan or an adopted child in order to celebrate this day. All it takes is an empathetic frame of mind and a willingness to reach out, in whatever way feels appropriate.
How do birth mothers feel about Birth Mother’s Day?
While some birth mothers appreciate the gratitude and acknowledgment that this day can bring, there are others for whom this day may be a painful reminder as not all mothers relinquish their parental rights out of choice — some are coerced into doing this. Hence it varies according to different sensitivities of birth mothers everywhere. It should be noted, though, that it is a misconception to assume that all birth moms come from broken pasts and therefore do not want to be reminded of those times. Each mother’s experience is deeply personal.
Should adoptees be celebrating both Mother’s Days?
The choice is theirs entirely. It is important that adopted children understand, though, that their birth mothers allowed them to be adopted out of love — often in order for their child to lead a better life!
What is the difference between Birth Mother’s Day and National Baby Mama’s Day?
A ‘baby mama’ is a slang term for an unmarried woman with a child. Therefore some celebrate National Baby Mama’s Day (February 10) to celebrate women who have chosen to single-parent their child. National Birth Mother’s Day refers specifically to women (either single or partnered) who have chosen to form adoption plans for their children.
How to Observe Birth Mother’s Day
Spread the love
If you know of anyone who has made an adoption plan or had to relinquish their parental rights, or any support groups, reach out to them and let them know you care. Organize a get-together like a night of slam poetry and music, just to honor these women. Use social media to spread the love too, using #NationalBirthMothersDay.
Send a picture and a note of gratitude
In the case of open adoptions, let your child’s birth mother know how you feel about their sacrifice. Show them how their hopes for their child are being realized through a picture and a kind word.
Grow a long-term reminder
Life is all about renewal and growth. So why not do something good for Mother Earth as well by planting a tree or plant of your choice, as a way of remembering and honoring these women who nurtured life in their own wombs.
5 Lesser Known Facts About Open Adoption
It strengthens family relationships
Children understand family dynamics from an earlier age and are not as unaware of it as you’d think.
Knowing is better
A majority of adoptees would rather have knowledge of their birth mother/parents.
Birth mothers benefit, too
Research shows that open adoption birth moms experience less grief over the decision.
Adoption stories are normalized
In open adoptions, children know their origin stories and are able to handle them better.
Birth moms have agency
From choosing the family to setting their own terms, birth moms are empowered by having a say.
Why Birth Mother’s Day is Important
It ensures visibility
While to some it may seem like a bittersweet time of remembrance, this day brings an often marginalized group of women into the limelight and honors them for their courage and strength in making such a difficult decision.
It strengthens family bonds
Let’s face it — families in any context are messy. When it comes to adoption, it may seem like a whole other level of messy. However, research shows that transparency between adoptive families and birth mothers leads to a more holistic parent-child bond.
It spreads an adoption-positive message
By celebrating birth mothers there is also a simultaneous spread of awareness about adoption and adoption processes. This presents the idea of open adoptions in a positive light and can help educate and empower those who have yet to make a choice.
Birth Mother’s Day dates