In Rebuttal of 'They Owe Me Nothing'

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I respectfully disagree with Rebecca Gold's position in her recent article entitled "Celebrating Motherhood", which promoted Birthmother's Day. In my opinion, Birthmother's Day does not celebrate motherhood, it celebrates the marginalization of natural mothers and it serves to reinforce the adoptive mother's contention that she is the adoptee's only "real" parent.

Birthmother's Day has been created ostensibly to make natural mothers feel special. We don't want to feel "special" that way. Would you? In order to try and picture how it feels to be relegated to a separate celebration, imagine how adoptive mothers would feel if the rest of the adoption triad were to create Adoptive Mother's Day as a tribute to their specialness. What an outraged outcry that would create, isn't that so? Wouldn't that make them feel "less than"? Why should we natural mothers accept that kind of treatment?

Natural mothers of earlier decades represent a diversity of individuals, a few of whom were given real choice to raise or not to raise their babies, but the vast majority of whom were either not presented with real options or were offered untenable alternatives. More recently, true choice has become a more frequent component of adoptions. However, whether or not there was 'choice' in the adoption of their children, the pain and grief all natural mothers suffer as a result of this loss is often the dominant expression of their experience. This is not something to celebrate.

The detrimental effects on natural mothers of losing their children increases with time; it does not diminish. This is nothing to celebrate.

Birthmother's Day perpetuates the marginalization and dehumanization of natural mothers. It magnifies their diminished status as 'mother' and continues to deny their right to motherhood. Birthmother's Day is an appointed celebration of natural mothers' trauma, grief and loss.

They endure not only the loss of their children and the loss of their right to raise their children but also, in the majority of cases, the loss of knowledge of, contact with, and accountability for what has become of their children.

The fact is that the person who was adopted has two mothers, both equally real. As such, both natural mothers and adoptive mothers are equally entitled to claim the real Mother's Day as their own. That day does not belong more rightfully adoptive mothers, in fact quite the opposite if one insists on creating separate categories of mothers. Without us, they would have no child at all to parent.

- Josee Larose
Montreal, Canada
Reunited natural mother (not "birthmother", as I am my daughter's lifelong mother, not an incubator whose role ended at birth).
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