What do you think of when the term “birth mother” comes to mind? Do you think positive thoughts about a woman who sacrificed herself for her baby? Or do you think of the young girl who wasn’t mature enough to parent?
There are so many stereotypes surrounding what makes a woman a true birth mother — but there is no exact image of a birth mother, because every mother is different. Likewise, there are a variety of circumstances in which a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy might find herself before making a decision to put her baby up for adoption.
It is never our place to judge such decisions or circumstances, as we never know how hard a mother’s path really is. Birth mothers come in all demographics, with different levels of support, different types of post-placement agreements, and more.
Here are just five of the different types of birth mothers that I have met since I have begun my own walk as a birth mother:
1. The Single Birth Mother
I happened to have been a single mother when I found out I was pregnant. It was a very scary time for me. I was dating someone I barely knew who was the father of this child that I was going to be responsible for. I choose adoption because it was the best choice for myself and my baby.
This is just one example of a situation a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy may find herself in. There are so many myths that need to be debunked surrounding women who face unplanned pregnancies when they are single. The only way to dispel such myths is to educate your sphere of influence, starting with yourself.
2. The Married Birth Mother
Yes, it is possible for married woman who are pregnant to choose adoption. Sometimes birth fathers are supportive, while in other cases they are not. I have met women who were married at the time of choosing adoption, and they have wonderful open adoption with their children and their spouse.
3. The Teen Birth Mother
Here we have society’s favorite stereotype of birth mothers: the girl who got pregnant too young who “should have known better.” While this may at times be the case, I cannot say that I agree this is always a teenage birth mother’s situation. Many young women I have met who faced unplanned pregnancies were at least making an effort to avoid pregnancy, and a few of them are even with their partners a decade later.
While adoption is a decision that should always belong to a prospective birth mother, that is not always the case with younger birth mothers. If you are a minor, make sure you are familiar with your state’s consent laws when it comes to choosing adoption for your baby.
4. The Woman Who Couldn’t Keep Her Baby
I hate to say that this has been the case many times when it comes to women choosing adoption. I met a young woman who shared her story with me of how her parents ripped her baby from her when she was 14-years-old. I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes or her parents’ shoes for one second.
It’s important to know that not every adoption is “voluntary.” These situations are heartbreaking, but the truth is — they happen.
5. The Woman Who Has a Relationship with Her Child
After choosing adoption, many women these days opt for an open adoption with their baby. In an open adoption, a birth mother has direct contact with her children after placement while he or she is growing up. It’s an amazing experience for any woman to have.
There are so many types of birth mothers, so what should we think of when we think of “birth mother”? Whatever you do, don’t make any assumptions about how a birth mother feels about her adoption. Let her be the one to tell you how she feels and allow her to express those feelings freely and without judgement.
When you speak of birth mothers in general to others, do not make assumptions and fall back on societal stereotypes. No matter what our circumstances are, birth mothers have one thing in common that we can all claim to be true: we love the child we choose adoption for.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption seven years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.