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Celebrating National Birth Mother’s Day 2023 as a Birth Mother

Birth mothers worldwide are celebrated for National Birth Mother’s Day this Saturday, May 13, 2023, the day before Mother’s Day. This holiday started in the US, but it applies to  birth mothers all over the globe.

As a birth mother myself, I hold National Birth Mother’s Day in gratitude, as I am loved and celebrated, knowing I’m not alone and acknowledging the selfless gift I offered my child when I choose adoption for my baby.

The Origin of Birth Mother’s Day

National Birth Mother’s Day was first celebrated on Saturday, May 12, 1990 by a group of birth mothers from Seattle, Washington. Leading the cause was Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh, a birth mother who spoke up to break the silence of her loneliness.

These forward-thinking birth mothers were determined to come together as a community and embrace each other in their shared choice to choose adoption for their babies. They had faced feeling alone for long enough as birth mothers, and so they turned their despair into joy by creating a holiday that is now not only recognized by the United States, but by the entire world.

Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh desired to share her guidance on ceremonially celebrating her newly established holiday with other birth mothers in her book, “A Birth Mother’s Day Planner.” In it, she writes::

“Birth Mother’s Day and the Birth Mother’s Day Planner grew out of my own journey after losing my infant daughter in a closed adoption in 1978. It grew out of the experience of finding myself alone on a journey through a wilderness of grief.  I was a mother, yet was not seen as a mother by those around me or those who were parenting my daughter.  For many years I grieved in secret and felt myself to be invisible.

Yet even then, through tears, I remembered the great joy I had felt at my daughter’s birth.  It was an experience of triumph, transcendence, and ecstasy that became my personal yardstick of joy.  And so it was, I always observed her birthday as a day of celebration for both of us-of birth and birth-giving-even in the years of all day grief.”

National Birth Mother’s Day origins are credited to Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh and that band of birth mothers who celebrated each other in their own way in 1990. The world now has the privilege of recognizing Birth Mother’s Day every year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

My Self-Reflection on Birth Mother’s Day

As a birth mother, I commemorate National Birth Mother’s Day in gratitude. For me, it is a day to reflect on how strong, courageous, brave, and bold my decision to place my baby for adoption really was. I sacrificed much to give my baby a better life through different parents.

Some of the losses I’ve endured include being abandoned and disowned by friends and family who didn’t approve of my decision, giving up the future with my child as a legal and custodial mother raising my baby, and the acknowledgement that I could not provide the life for my child that I knew he deserved.

I still experience the wounds of my sacrifice every day, but it was made from pure, unconditional love. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son, but I have no regrets knowing that he is safe, loved, and secure by the amazing parents I chose for him. His parents are truly a blessing to both of us.

National Birth Mother’s Day, to me, is a day to celebrate that selfless and loving adoption sacrifice I made way back then, and continue to remember daily.

Celebrating YOUR Special Day

There is no right or wrong way to acknowledge National Birth Mother’s Day. This holiday can be a different experience for every individual birth mother. Some ideas for you to celebrate include:

  • Sharing your story proudly as a birth mother on social media with the hashtag #NationalBirthMothersDay. You might use your post to empower and educate others on the beauty and the option of choosing adoption. You might write a post chronicling some of your experience, strength, and hope from your adoption story. You might create a video testimony to encourage other birth mothers who may feel alone on this day.
  • Planting a flower or a tree in honor of your decision to selflessly place your baby for adoption to different parents who could and can provide a better life to your child. It takes a lot of courage to admit our weaknesses. The choice for adoption shows a level of humility and strength as a woman, no matter what your situation was at the time of adoption. A growing seed can be a metaphor for you as you grow on your own journey of healing post-placement.
  • Creating a safe gathering space to celebrate with other birth mothers. Perhaps you know other women who have chosen adoption for their babies. If so, you can celebrate this day with them by planning a picnic, meeting in a group video chat, or reaching out with a simple phone call or text as a reminder that we celebrate Birth Mother’s Day as a community.

Happy National Birth Mother’s Day to all my fellow birth mothers! I know I am not alone, and neither are you. While being a birth mother has not been an easy journey, we can all choose to make the trek with gratitude in our hearts, smiles on our lips after the tears pass, and a song of hope for the future for ourselves and our child.

May your Saturday, May 13, 2023, be filled with self-care, self-love and encouragement that you are a brave woman for the decision you made to place your baby for adoption!

-Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Arielle is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption more than a decade ago. Over the years, Lindsay has chronicled her post-placement healing walk via her writing to share her experience, strength and hope with other birth mothers on their own paths of healing. Lindsay’s blogs boldly reflect that, “Healing is a journey, not a destination.”