I just had one of my favorite discussions about adoption. It's the one that usually starts something like, "What about the... mother?"
I smile sweetly and say, "I am the mother. Are you asking about the birth mother?"
And inevitably they are. Inevitably they're asking, "What's her story? How can she give her baby away? Why doesn't she want it? Is she on drugs? If she didn't want a child why did she let herself get pregnant? What's wrong with her?"
I don't mind those questions. Well, I've gotten used to them, anyway, and I believe that most people ask out of concern... concern for the baby, concern for my family, concern driven by the media's sensationalized presentation of the occasional adoption-gone-wrong.
But still, I'm working for the day when "What about the (birth) mother?" means "How is she doing? Did she have any medical complications? Is she with her family or the birth father? Does she have a post-adoption support system in place? Is she at peace with her decision? Is she OK?"
That would be awesome. Because birth mothers are as much mothers as any other women who have delivered children. Birth mothers get pregnant and share their bodies to give life the same way other women do.
Some birth mothers smoke during pregnancy and some don't.
Some do drugs and some don't.
Some have multiple partners and some don't.
Some use contraception and some don't.
Some receive regular pre-natal care and some don't.
Some text while driving and some don't.
Some get heartburn and hemorrhoids and morning sickness and gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and migraines and some don't.
But all birth mothers love their babies.
All birth mothers love the life within them enough to publicly admit their own shortcomings.
All birth mothers risk shame, judgement, grief, loss, misunderstanding, and physical pain to carry a child for someone else.
All birth mothers deserve respect for choosing to give life when it is clearly not the easy choice.
I sometimes wonder what I would have done if I had gotten pregnant as a teen or unmarried young woman. I wasn't ready to be a mother, and I like to think I would have had the courage and selflessness to make an adoption plan for my baby, but I'm not sure. I'm not at all sure.
So, what about "the mother"? I've jumped right back into the routine of parenting an infant. I'm high on the blessings of two fantastic kids, and with my husband's help (he's fantastic, too) I'm slowly catching up on my sleep.
As for the birth mother, she's healthy, certain, and loved by her family and friends. She's moving forward, and she's very OK.
Thanks for asking.