An army of unseen mothers at Mothers Day

by Rod Smith

Mothers who have chosen adoption for their babies are often ignored on Mothers Day.

How their hearts must ache.

This weekend an unseen army of brave women will quietly witness families rightfully celebrating Mothers Day – and find no place at the tables with the children whom they generously offered to families eager to rear their babies.

I admit, my awareness of birth mothers is acute.

These women, women who are often shamed, labeled as irresponsible, hard, or uncaring, have radically shifted my life. Each of my boys’ mothers fought untold difficulties while carrying her child to full term, in full knowledge that other options existed.

Despite abandonment, derision from family members, financial difficulties, and who knows what other social pressures, each delivered a beautiful baby and made the hard choice to forever enrich my life by allowing me, a single man, to adopt her infant son.

I know you are not forgotten – not on Mothers Day weekend or any other day.

You are so deeply etched into their individual psyches and into our family experience that you are regularly part of our awareness and conversation.

So deep is their desire for you, so deep is the urge for a mother that my boys call me “mom” sometimes.

I have never stopped them.

I let it go because I think I know what it’s about. It’s a primal urge. It expresses a heartfelt longing.

To stop them, when each was first learning to talk, seemed unwise, as if I were stopping something deep, powerful within each.

I knew each boy was boy looking for the mother he had never known.

Of course it has gotten us a few strange glances at times. A five-year-old yelling, “Mom, zip me up,” at the urinal in an international airport can turn heads when it’s (of course) the men’s room. When my older boy, now 13, expresses his frustration while standing at his locker at school over something we’ve both mislaid, his loud, “But Mom, it must be here,” addressed at me can get some quizzical stares from his peers.

“Mama” or “mom” and even “mother” seemed to come as easily as rolling over, as cooing, as first steps, and as all those things that come with early development – and so I let it go.

It seemed as if “mother” and all forms of Her names were buried within to emerge and be attached to the nearest, warmest person no matter what his or her gender.

Yes, the woman waiting your table at your Mothers Day lunch, the teacher whom your child adores, the woman co-worker who goes silent for no identifiable reason or who appears to be sometimes lost in another world when the conversation turns to babies or showers or Mother’s Day, just may be a member of that unseen army of birth-mothers.

She may be one of the gracious, brave women who have made Mother’s Day complete for countless women around the world and given a man like me the unique pleasure of sometimes being called “mom.”

2 Comments to “An army of unseen mothers at Mothers Day”

  1. This tugs at my heartstrings – and I’m not a mom.
    I don’t regret not having children but miss having grandchildren, so my neighbours’ kids are close-by to love and give to, and my great-nieces have my heart in their hands, in their own way. To watch and enjoy a child’s growth and emerging personality is such a privilege and a great wonder (and funny and frustrating too). They’re unconditional, unsuspicious and uncomplicated, ask questions no adult would ask, and expect straight honest answers. No wonder Jesus said we’re to have these qualities.

  2. Beautiful, Rod. N

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