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"Why BIRTHMOTHER Means BREEDER" by Diane Turski
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dear birthmother letters


{BOTTOMLE

Note: The terms

"unwed" mother, "birthmothers", "birthmom", "birthmoms", "birthparent", "birthparents", "birthfather" "dear birthmother" "dear birthparent", "biological"

make a parent appear to be less than the mother or father they are. These terms dehumanize and limit the parent's role to that of an incubator.

Using the honest terms "mother", "single mother" or "natural mother" help the public to understand that real family members are being separated to obtain babies for adoption.

FT}

I Am NOT A Birthmother!
By Robin Westbrook


The term "birthmother" is being reexamined by many of us who surrendered children for adoption. The reason we are giving this term another look is the feeling we get from being called a "birth" mother. This term, along with "biological" or "bio" Mom relegates us to a role similar to that of the Loggerhead sea turtle who struggles ashore, deposits her eggs and goes back into the sea to swim away, leaving her babies to fend for themselves. 

Or, perhaps the salmon is more to the liking of those who adopt. We swim upstream, spawn and die. Either way, it effectively bars any respect for our role in our children's lives and puts us in the fog of the unseen and unknown and, if the adopters are truthful, unwanted. 

Those who adopt and those who facilitate adoption also have a nasty habit of referring to us as "BM's" which calls up visions of (delicately put) waste elimination. From those who are feeling extremely hostile, we get the diminutive, "Birther." Altogether derogatory and disrespectful. 
 

No wonder then, that many of us are adopting new terms to describe our unique situation. First Moms, Original Moms and Natural Moms all speak to the fact that, along with the function of giving birth, came the other criteria of love, concern and the ability to deeply grieve and regret our loss. Though many of us have been separated by the horrible gulf of secret adoption, the love for our own offspring never left us and neither did our concern for that child's welfare.  That is why we search. That is why we cry on birthdays. That is why we often turn to emotionally debilitating behaviors to try to fill that painful void. That is why we don't want it to happen to others. 

For those of us who have been reunited with our adult children, the hard lesson of not having the power to change the past has been learned. We have fought the battle for acceptance of our loss and our motherhood in the eyes of our children. But, neither our children, their adopters, the adoption industry nor the popular American myth of adoption can take that motherhood out of our hearts. It will be with us until we die. 

Our babies are coveted and highly desired but we, ourselves are disrespected, misunderstood and judged by our lowest common denominator. I belong to several online groups for the support of natural Mothers and adoption reform. These lists are full of intelligent, responsible, articulate women who are mad as hell and getting madder by the minute. 

We are not a population of drug abusers, baby-dumpers and welfare baby machines. We are human beings who found ourselves in a situation that was scary, problematical and frustrating. We wanted our children and we also wanted the best for them. At the time, we were convinced and in many cases, coerced into believing, that surrender was the only alternative. Some of us know better now. 

We are banding together and sharing our experiences and, with the sharing, we are growing stronger in our resolve. When our side of the adoption story is portrayed with demeaning stereotypes, we will protest. We will write our letters and emails and make our calls until we are heard. It is past time for the media to start taking the high road and treating the natural Mother with the respect she deserves. 

I am NOT a "birthmother." I am a Mother. 

Robin Westbrook 
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