Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What are We Called?

When I talk about my story with others, I say, "Hi, my name is Elsa, and I'm a birthmother."

Sometimes they don't know what that word means.  And I calmly explain that it means I had a child and placed that child for adoption rather than parent the child myself.  At that point, they get it.

I have a group on Facebook that I call the Birthparent Support Group.  I go to meetings that are called Birthmother Support Group meetings.  I also attend meetings with another group that includes birthparents, adoptive parents, and adoptees, which are called Three Strand meetings.  The vast majority of people who are there are birthmoms and we are called that.  No one has ever really raised an objection to it.

It wasn't until I got more into the birthmother community that I realized that some people have negative feelings towards the word "birthmother."  From what I can tell, this negative connotation happened more often in the past when placing a child for adoption was a hidden and shameful thing.  Some still don't like the name.

As a result, I've seen several alternative names come up: first mother, natural mother, and the ever adorable tummy mommy.

I don't mind the term birthmother or birthmom.  It seems to me to be an accurate description of myself.  But I can see how others might take it negatively or remember the negative connotations around it.  And I started wondering, is there another name that you like to use?  Is there something that fits you?

I want to make this clear: I do not believe there is a right or wrong opinion in this situation.  I believe you should choose the term you feel most comfortable with.  But the question came up in my mind and I wanted to know, which name do you prefer?

I hope you all are having a great weekend and hope to hear from you soon!

1 comment:

  1. I've wondered the same thing. It's an awkward thing to call yourself, especially since that title is often used in conjunction when describing a situation where a child is in foster care due to the mother's inability to care for the child. It automatically makes people think you had your kid taken away from you or you were an unfit parent. That's the jist I got, anyway.
    I don't volunteer that info very easily, though. If someone asks if I have kids, I normally say no unless it's someone from my past or a person with whom I'm striking up a friendship with and the need to explain arises.