Sunday, May 8, 2011

Random Thoughts From a Non-Mothering Mother on Mother's Day

Why do people celebrate Mother's Day? For the act of giving birth? For all the sacrifices a mom makes for her children? For the daily love and care she gives to her family? Just some of the things I have been wondering about today. Not that I'm doubting the validity of celebrating Mother's Day, moms are certainly a great thing to celebrate! But what about me? Do I have a right to celebrate mother's day? Am I a "mother?"

Last night, as I was searching the internet for something that related birthmoms to Mother's Day, I found out that many adoption circles celebrate the Saturday before Mother's Day as Birthmom's Day. I've been thinking all day about that. Should I have a different day to celebrate giving birth to Reed? Should I not share the same day as Maura, who is the one actually parenting him and being his mother?

Mother's Day is somewhat of an anniversary for me. It was on Mother's day in 2009 that I was sitting in a hotel room in Thailand, watching a documentary about mother animals in the wild, and I was thinking, "Oh God, I'm a mother." The next day I took the pregnancy test, which, with the time difference, was Mother's Day in the US. I knew it would be a special day for me for the rest of my life.

Last week I received an email from saying that a friend of mine here in Singapore had just bought me a gift card for Mother's Day. This morning I woke up to find a message on facebook from an old friend of mine from highschool wishing me a Happy Mother's Day, with some very heartfelt words about her respect for birthmothers. It was very sweet and touching, and just what I needed. I worked, as I always do on Sundays, until 5pm, and during my lunch break one of my co-workers treated me to a Mother's Day waffle. This is not just any waffle, this is an extra buttery, extra delicious, extra fresh waffle made from this little waffle stand in the neighbooring mall. It's very fattening, very delicious, and today was very appreciated. After work, I knew I wanted to mark the occasion in some way, so after going home and changing into some cooler clothes (it's been hot, hot, hot here!), I made my way into the heart of town to treat myself to dinner. I found a nice tapas restaurant where I had never been and indulged in 3 courses, dessert, and wine. When I got home tonight I had two more wall posts on facebook from my sister and another friend here in Singapore, also wishing me a happy Mother's Day.

No, contrary to what the above paragraph may have indicated, celebration of today is NOT just about me undoing all the hard work I've put into loosing my baby belly!

(My Mother's Day celebration dinner, compliments of ME!)

As I thought about today and read comments about who people were celebrating and honoring, it became evident that there are many different types of mothers; biological, adoptive, even 'community mothers,' women among a community who have shared their hearts, homes, gifts, wisdom and love to others all around them. Being a mother is a multifaceted role, one that more than just one woman can fulfil in the course of someone's life. For me, the obvious role I play in Reed's life is giving birth to him. Loving him, encouraging him, talking and singing to him as I was building him, choosing to carry him, and then choosing to give him a family; this is not an honor I'm willing to dismiss for myself because he is not with me every day. As Reed grows older, I hope to continue to have a special role in his life, still loving him, encouraging him and talking to him (he may get a bit annoyed if I kept singing to him, so I'll replace that with listening to him).

I identify with being a mother. It's always uncomfortable for me when people I don't know ask me if I have any kids and I say no. I have a son, he is my son, he'll always be my son, just as much as he was when I gave birth to him. And though he will never actually call me 'Mother,' I will always be his mother. I may not have the big hoopla of people taking me out or cooking dinner for me or make sure I don't do any housework or get me special gifts, but I will still celebrate Mother's Day because I am a mother.

*****And not as a side note but just as important as everything I have just written above,
Happy Mother's Day to Maura!!! She is not only a great mom to Reed, but she has been a great person for me to share this day with. I'm so blessed to have her in my life as Reed's mom, and of course Reed is too. She sent me an email with a short update (they're visiting family in NYC, so a longer update will come soon) and pictures. I love that she actually wishes me a Happy Mother's Day instead of just thanking me for making her a mother (which she did as well).

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