Below is another beautiful article written by a CPO birth mother, Angela McLaughlin. It is meant to be informative about our upcoming Birth Mother’s Day celebration at CPO, but it is also insightful, as she shares her thoughts about the important day.
I’m going to be frank. I kind of dread Mother’s Day. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but in case it does, I’ll tell you why. We’re talking about a holiday that celebrates the joys of motherhood. For a birth mom, it can feel like a public reminder of the pain caused by placing her child for adoption. Those feelings are also conflicting, as many birth moms are very close to the adoptive parents, and your feelings can feel like a distraction from their joy.
These reasons, and the overwhelming love that she feels for birth moms, are why Cheryl Bauman, Executive Director and founder of CPO, decided to start celebrating Birth Mother’s Day. As she says, “Birth Mother’s Day is my favorite celebration! It is a time set aside to honor the women who have made Adoption Plans for their Birth Children. It is a time to acknowledge the courage that it took for Birth Mothers to make these loving plans. Historically, Mother’s Day has been one of the hardest days for Birth Mothers. At church, when the pastor would ask for all of the Mothers to stand up, they weren’t sure if they should stand up or stay seated. I am so grateful to a group of Birth Moms in the Pacific Northwest who decided to honor Birth Moms by having a day that is just for them. Birth Mothers are our heroes!”
For some, this is a day when they can celebrate their motherhood, even without parenting. It’s a unique opportunity to be recognized as a birth mom for your part in bringing life and love into the world. As birth mom Amanda told me, “The meaning of the day is so special, because it’s the day I’m celebrated for my part in [my birth daughter] Milly’s life. I’m a mother to my 6 year old son, Shaun, and we celebrate Mother’s Day, and I can tell you that this is very different.”
For some who are struggling with the grief of placement, this day is an opportunity to reflect on the joys of their adoption plan, especially their birth children. My first Birth Mother’s Day is an especially fond memory. I was asked to speak at the celebration, and I chose to read the following selection from poet e.e. cummings:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
This poem reflected the way that I, and so many birth families, feel after placement. As birth mom Dakota explained to me, “It’s hard to deal with a lot of the emotions that come from being separated from my baby. I don’t even really call him my baby because I feel like he’s [adoptive mom] Summer’s now.”
There’s a space where your child was, and it’s a constant struggle to fill that space with love. Speaking and sharing fellowship with other birth moms is a way to do just that.
And this year’s Birth Mother’s Day is going to be more celebratory than ever! After realizing that things sometimes felt a little too “heavy,” CPO has changed things up a little! As event coordinator Rhonda Fisher told me, “Previously, Birth Mother’s Day was a very somber ceremony. There were speakers including adopted kids, birth mothers, and adoptive families. There was worship music and a candle lighting ceremony. There were many tears. It was a day to remember the birth mothers and it was very respectful of them. But we heard from quite a few that they would like something a little more upbeat. So this year things will be radically different.”
This year’s event will feature “Steaks and Cakes,” with adoptive dads manning the grills. There will also be a special birth mom pampering area, with mini-manicures and pedicures, facials, and massages. And, the best part (in my opinion) are the mini-photography sessions. It’s difficult to look at all the adorable family photos of your adoptive family sometimes. It’s another, albeit tiny, reminder. But thanks to CPO, birth moms will have an opportunity to take photos with their adoptive families or birth children, or both! It’s an opportunity to take home a fabulous memento, as well as relax and be pampered.
Below you’ll find the birth mother version of the invitation for the celebration. We urge all CPO birth mothers and CPO adoptive families to keep an eye on their mailbox as their personal invitations should arrive any day now.