Yesterday was Birthmother's Day. Since 1990 it's celebrated the Saturday before Mother's Day, although I just learned about the holiday last year. I love the holiday and think it's very fitting because of course, before my children had a mother, they had a birthmother. And in order to become a mother, I needed a birthmother to grant me that blessing and privelege. So it makes perfect sense that before we celebrate Mother's Day we celebrate Birthmother's Day.
So to honor birthmothers yesterday, our boys mailed their birthmoms adorable cards. Buddy wrote his birthmom a note for the first time, giving extra care to think hard before writing it. He drew pictures of different flowers and hearts on one side of the paper and on the other side wrote a note saying, "I like you. I am thankful for you. Happy Birthmother's Day." (I should have made a copy of it before mailing it because it was precious to say the least.)
We also celebrated with a get-together with other adoptive couples at our house. We put together 24 gift baskets of pampering items to give to birthmothers attending the agency's support group. My entire dining room is full of gifts -- it's an amazing sight to see!
Nowadays Mother's Day is a fabulous day for me. I love relaxing and getting notes and gifts from the kids. I love not lifting a finger and hugging and kissing the boys as often as I want. If they pull away, I just remind them it's my special day and I get to love on them as often as I want. Buddy especially is super sensitive and tries so hard to please me on this special day. G spoke in church today and I loved hearing his tribute to his mother, his wonderfully amazing wife, and our boys' birthmoms. I love thinking about my journey to motherhood and I love the security of knowing I'm finally a bonafide mother doing all the things "real" mothers do.
Talking about Eve, Patricia Holland said:
It would appear that her motherhood preceded her maternity,
just as surely as the perfection of the Garden preceded the struggles of mortality. I believe mother is one of those very carefully chosen words, one of those rich words--with meaning after meaning after meaning. We must not, at all costs, let that word divide us.
I believe with all my heart that it is first and foremost a statement about our nature, not a head count of our children.
I absolutely love this quote and know it to be true. I have learned and now wholeheartedly believe that a "real" mom doesn't have to carry or raise children. I believe a real mother is any woman who:
- honors her womanhood
- seeks out opportunities to nurture others, especially children
- and is selfless
Gosh, believing that, however, is sure is a lot easier now that I'm a mother -- in every sense of the word.
Two years ago after a particularly stressful Mother's Day I made a commitment to simply enjoy the day. That year we had all sorts of family in town for Sambo's sealing and blessing. His adoption had been finalized in record time (in just over 4 months) and we were leaving for a family vacation to Hawaii in a few days. I should have been on top of the world. However, I was a frazzled mess. That Mother's Day, we were going to bless Sambo at church, then have a family party and dinner at our house. Sambo had RSV, the house was a disaster, and I had just arrived home from being in Utah for 10 days. I was getting called and sustained as primary president that day and Sambo's birthmom was coming to church with us to celebrate the blessing and Mother's Day with us. Things were a bit rocky with her and so there was a lot of pressure for all of us to make that moment special for her. I was worried how her grief would flare up watching me hold her perfect little baby all dressed in white. I worried how she'd react when the young men passed out the token gift to all the "mothers" in attendance at church that day. Plus it was "Mother's Day" and I hadn't yet resolved my issues with the holiday. It was all too much pressure and I felt stressed to the absolute max and could not for the life of me enjoy or embrace my role as mother. Finally I was a mother, yet I couldn't enjoy it.
After that day I promised myself I would never let guilt or jealousy or comparing or judging or being too busy get in the way of my special day. And so that's why Mother's Day is now the very best day of the year for me.
I hope all women -- no matter how many children you have -- enjoy this day to celebrate womanhood and our potential as nurturers. Happy Mother's Day!
What is your definition of Mother?