Birth Mother’s Day is held the 2nd Saturday in May, the day right before Mother’s Day. Birth Mother’s Day was created in 1990 by a group of birth mothers in Seattle, who recognized that Mothers Day was one of the hardest days of the year for women who placed their children for adoption. Not acknowledged as mothers, and often not remembered or acknowledge by the adoptive parents, birthmothers are invisible in our society. Even with the shift from closed to open adoptions, birth mothers are rarely given much of a passing thought.
Is a woman who gives birth to a child a mother, or is the woman who stays up all night with the sick child, takes them to their first day of school and is there for all the bumps, bruises, happy and sad times the mother? Shouldn’t the real question be why do we as a society feel we have to choose? Why aren’t both of these women considered mothers?
Birth Mother’s Day gives us the chance to change this thinking. To acknowledge that adopted children have two mothers and the child is their shared link. Since Birth Mother’s day is held on the Saturday before Mother’s day it is not meant to detract from the importance of Mother’s Day for adoptive mothers but to make Mother’s Day an inclusive observance; with one day being for the birth mothers and the other for adoptive mothers. Birth Mother’s Day can provide families of adopted children the opportunity to talk openly about birth families. It also is a way to give thanks to those mothers who selflessly placed their children for adoption.
Mother’s Day was originally founded by Julia Ward Howe, as a day for peace, in which the mothers of the world would commit themselves to peace by not allowing their children to kill another mother’s child in war. This commitment was based on the shared understanding of a mother’s love and the terrible grief of losing a child. In recognizing the love and the sorrow of birthmothers, Birth Mother’s Day can be seen as an act of peace- making and healing. We encourage families to use this day to acknowledge and put a face on these brave women who were instrumental in creating adoptive families.