The Other Mom

Mother's Day is such a LOADED holiday.

For me, anyway.

As a person who became a parent solely through adoption, sometimes I fight the urge to dismiss myself as an "unworthy" recipient of this holiday--after all, I managed to bypass the entire becoming-a-mom process; I've never carried a child in my body and then experienced the... um... magical...ordeal of delivering myself of said child.

So, sometimes I don't feel like I've quite earned my stripes as a mom like so many others have.

And then I remember the last four years.

Years absolutely bursting with learning, struggling, striving, messing up and trying again, and growing and growing and growing and then growing some more. (I'm speaking of myself here.)

And I choose to accept myself, just the way I am: yes, I am definitely a mom.

But days like today also lead me to think a lot about my boys' other mom--their first mom.

I wonder how this day feels for her.

I bet it's not easy.

I bet she has a lot of unanswered questions.

I bet she feels all kinds of BIG feelings on this day. (Thank you to the lovely people who coined this know who you are.)

I bet I have no idea what it feels like to be her. I only know what it feels like to be me, thinking about her.

Recently (as of about 3-4 weeks ago), my boys have been expressing some interest in being in contact with her. It's a conversation I have been waiting for for the last four years and yet for which I was still totally unprepared. The conversation went something like this:

Eldest child, playing with legos nearby: Mom?
Me: Yes?
Child: What are you doing?
Me: Sending some pictures to your birth mom. Your dad & I do this a couple of times a year.
Child: Oh. (Pause.) Can I talk to her?
Me: (Swallowing lump.) Yes...
Child: Okay. (Resumes playing.)

And that's all there was to it.

For that day.

The next day, he asked again. And we talked about it a little more. And the next day a little more. We did some role-playing with a stuffed animal, to start getting ourselves used to what kinds of questions we might want to ask. It started with some pretty surface questions, and it ended with some very BIG feelings. For both of us.

And then...nothing else...until last week, when both boys asked to see some pictures we have of their birth parents. So we did that.

And then...nothing again. For now.

I think we're all processing our feelings on the subject. I am so proud of my kids--that's not easy stuff to work through, and they are so very brave for even dipping their toes into the water. It's stuff that is just not fair, no matter how it's sliced. For anyone. And yet, this is our reality. This is our family. This is our stuff.

And that's okay. Even when it's not. I've been learning to just breathe. And then to breathe again. And more time. And again after that...and I think you get the picture.

Happy Mother's all of us.


  1. Thanks for being the kind of parents that your boys can always talk to ~ you will journey this path just fine as you work through it together! God bless!


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