Mother’s Day for a birth mom

The sun beat me home tonight. As I trudged up the subway stairs and saw the sunrise, I knew it was much too late of a night. Especially with church in the morning. A lady neighbor of mine and her sister, holding a cake, were also walking into my building. She said, “Happy Mother’s Day, if you’re a mom!” And I said, “Thank you. I appreciate that.”

The smallest interaction, even from a stranger, can mean more than you realize. Mother’s Day is always a tricky one for me. As I imagine it is for any birth mom without children of her own. I always feel like I’m half of a mother. Like I almost don’t deserve this holiday.

I know raising a child involves much sacrifice; I haven’t done that. I’ve never sang him a lullaby, rocked him to sleep, nursed a skinned knee, helped with homework or attended a baseball game. I’ve never cleaned up his messy high chair or even changed his diaper. This is the sacrifice I have made. I’m not his mama or his mommy. I never, ever, will be. I sacrificed that privilege to another woman. She now and forever will carry that responsibility for my baby boy.

It’s a bittersweet day. I celebrate his life, and my monumental part in his existence, his health and happiness. I also mourn the relationship with him I’ll never have. And can never get back. His childhood that I am missing out on, and loving him from afar. At least he knows who I am and I’m able to send gifts and visit.

I’ll never regret the decision I made. No matter how painful, and how many people disagree or don’t understand. It was, and still is, what’s best for my son and for me. And being his mother is still the most important job I’ve ever had; his life is such a blessing.

Because of this, Mother’s Day is a tricky one for me. If you know a woman who has placed her child for adoption or suffered the loss of a child, please try to remember her today. It means more than you think. We are not half of a mother, we are mothers, just facing a different kind of sacrifice.

— Written by Laura Durham