We're still mothers even though we aren't raising our child.
Almost two years ago I gave birth to a daughter. I wasn't ready to raise her and I wanted her to have a better life than I could have provided, so I placed her for adoption.
I'm a birth mom. Birth moms are an interesting group of people. They're a small subcategory of moms that other "real" moms don't really know how to interact with because they aren't raising a child. But really, they're both moms just the same.
People are afraid of offending or causing emotional harm to a birth mom by talking about their child. That likely isn't going to happen if you're careful with what you say, and think before you speak. If she is the one to open the door to the topic, then she wants to share this incredibly difficult and personal part of her life with you.
Please be kind to her and don't jump to conclusions about birth moms based on what you've seen in movies or TV shows; instead, take some time to get to know her and let her be the one to guide you through the conversation. She'll appreciate you acknowledging that she's a mom even though she doesn't have her child with her. Here are nine additional things she wants you to know:
1. We're still mothers even though we aren't raising our child.
Just because I'm not seen with a child every day doesn't mean I'm not a mother. Would you tell a woman who lost her baby at a few years old to cancer that she's not a mother? No, of course you wouldn't. The same goes for me. I carried a child to term and delivered her. That right there makes me a mother.
2. We can be sensitive to the topic of new babies.
Because we carried a child but didn't take them home with us can cause us to be emotional when we're around new babies. It reminds us of the baby we no longer have.
3. But there are times when we want nothing more than to be around new babies.
Sometimes, even though it can sound a little crazy, being around new babies can be almost therapeutic. We can release a little of that maternal instinct we have but have no other use for.
4. Being around children the same age as the child we had can be emotionally draining.
The same applies here as the above point. Even if we have contact with the child's adoptive parents, we will always wonder what our child is like as a person.
5. If we know about our child, we want to share it with those who support us.
Being in contact with the child's adoptive parents and getting updates is an amazing thing. But we don't want to keep that to ourselves — we want those who are supportive of what we did to see how our child is growing.
6. There are days when we miss our child so much that it hurts.
There are things that trigger a memory of our child and we'll struggle emotionally. But we know that our child is in a better place, and that can help us move on with the day.
7. Seeing our children as they grow up is a beautifully painful experience.
As difficult as it is to see our precious child growing up without us, the few moments we do get to see them are wonderful, even if it takes several days to emotionally recover.
8. We don't really get over "losing" our child, just like people don't really get over losing a loved one.
9. Not all birth moms are the same.
This is the most important thing to remember. What one birth mom may be able to handle may differ from another birth mom. Be cautious and respectful in conversations with every new one that you meet.