When you think of the term ďmother,Ē what comes to mind? For me, mother is the person who took care of me, encouraged me and inspired me. She helped when I was hurt or sick and cheered for my accomplishments. She is the one person I could always count on no matter what. Not everyone has the same experiences, so mother can mean different things to different people. But the one thing all moms have in common is love and a deep connection to their children, no matter what their circumstances.
Our daughterís birth mom chose to place her baby for adoption. She was at a point in her life where raising a child would be very difficult. She would be unable to provide the type of life she envisioned for her child, so she did what she believed was best. Many people donít understand this choice or mistakenly believe that children placed for adoption were unwanted or unloved. This couldnít be further from the truth. A woman chooses adoption because of love, not in spite of it. Seeing our daughterís birth mom holding her newborn baby and then handing her to me filled me gratitude and broke my heart at the same time. The love was always there and always will be. Choosing not to parent never means that someone is not a mother. In fact, the sacrifice she made was a perfect example of what mothers do all the time: they put their children first.
Another misconception is that adoptive parents are not ďrealĒ mothers or are lacking in some way. Some people believe that itís harder to love a child who isnít biologically related. Again, this couldnít be further from the truth. I know firsthand that just because a child isnít born to you, doesnít mean you are any less of a mother or that your love isnít deep. The love, the compassionate, the worries, the fears, the feeling you would do anything to protect your child ó they are all very powerful and very real.
Mothers also come in the form of step parents, foster parents, grandparents, etc. Basically, anyone who takes on the role of mothering should be considered a mother. So next time you think of motherhood, donít automatically equate it with a person who gives birth and raises that child. Remember that women who come to motherhood by untraditional means, those who arenít raising their children, or those who are caring for a child not born to them are all mothers. Letís give them the credit and respect they deserve.