Thursday, December 15, 2011

What NOT To Say To A Birthmom

I was so excited for our newest What Not To Say (part IV!) simply because it was an opportunity to bring to light some common questions/ comments people might make to birthmoms that, even though they're well intentioned, end up hurting. In preparation (and since I'm not a birthmom and don't feel equipped to come up with this list myself), I posted last week and asked birthmoms to send me their list of hurtful comments and questions that they have received.... I was NOT prepared for how many amazing women I would hear from!

You ladies are simply wonderful! Birthmoms? Yes. Beautiful women who are compassionate, successful, and honest? YES! The title 'birthmom' is not what defines you yet so often society does just that.... and I'm so sorry :-( None of us want to be defined by the choices we make; good or bad.

I LOVE this list! For those of us who have a woman in their life who chose adoption for her child, please read carefully. I tend to be very cautious when speaking to someone about something I haven't experienced but I think I am guilty of saying one or two of these things  :-(.... maybe you are, too?

** Keep in mind that this is a judgment-free zone; these woman have all come from very different backgrounds.. I LOVE comments and sincerely hope some of you choose to respond to this post... either to me or to these moms (they'll be reading this, too ;-)) but as always, please be sensitive! **

Some of these were obviously said with very good intentions behind them... and some of them are just mean; you'll know which one's are mean ;-)

Here we go...

What NOT To Say To A Birthmom; by birthmoms!

1. Do you honestly think that someone else can love your child more than you?
~ Thanks R!

2. What a selfless act of love!
** I have said this before and never considered what birthmom 'K' wrote to me; "Does the fact that I'm 'selfless' make adoptive couples 'selfish'? I'm not comfortable with that implication." WOW! I love this one!**
~ Thanks K!

3. You threw your child away, like trash. You don't deserve to have more kids!
** :-( **
~ Thanks K!

4. You got pregnant with her so she/he was meant to be with you! How could you do that?!
** K said it best; "As much as I'd love to be a mom and a dad to this baby, no one can  be 2 people." **
~ Thanks K & S!

5. You made the right decision; You made someone else's dream come true and now they have a family.
** I'm sure this was said out of compassion but when you think about it, you're implying that this mom doesn't have a family. Hannah's birthmom is an EXTENSION of our family and it would not be the same without her! **
~ Thanks L!

6. She's not your daughter anymore... why do you keep calling her that??
~ Thanks K!

7. One day you'll forget about her and life will go on.
~ Thanks K, R & T!

8. I’m so glad you had the strength to do what was best for you.
** Placing a baby in someone else's arms is NEVER what is best for you, but sometimes it is what's best for that baby... these women are strong enough to know what's best and what's not; a strength I think many parents don't have.**
~ Thanks L!

9. There will be other children in your life someday and you will get your chance to be a mom then.
** What L said next, I could not say better; "While I certainly hope I have more children someday, my sweet babies cannot be replaced.  I’m already a mom, even if I am just their birthmom." **
*** My note to any birthmom... you will NEVER be JUST a birthmom! You are their First Mom; the first person in the entire world who loved that baby... no one can take that away from you.***

10. Why didn't you want your baby?
~ Thanks L!

11. I know how you must feel.
** This was spoken by someone who is NOT a birthmom **
~ Thanks L!

12. I really hope he/she doesn't grow up to resent you!
** That's all up to US adoptive parents... WE are responsible for instilling respect and love in our children for their birthparents. It's NEVER too soon or too late to start!**
~ Thanks L & M!

13. I'd never be able to give my baby away!
** I think about this all the time; someone GAVE our baby to us... chose us and placed her in our arms for us to raise as our own. Even knowing this, I have considered what a special, unique kind of love you have to possess in order to do what birthparents do. We love our girl with all our hearts, with everything we have.... but even THAT is not the same kind of love a birthparent has for his/her child. **
~ Thanks L & S!

14. You're so lucky you get to have a relationship with your child without having to change diapers and stay up all night with a fussy baby!
** Again, what L said next cannot be said better; A new mom said this to me. I know that she didn't mean to upset me, but I'd give anything to be in a place where I could stay up all night with my baby and change a million diapers! She doesn't know how fortunate she is to get to do those things every day. **
~ Thanks L!

15. Why didn't you just let your mom and dad raise your baby? That way, he/she could at least stay in the family.
~ Thanks S!

17. Since you don't want her, can I have her?
** S said it best; "WANTING her was never the issue; I always knew that she deserved much much more than I could give her, at this time."**
~ Thanks S!

18. Stop complaining! You're the one who got yourself in this situation!
~ Thanks S!

** Did we miss any? Leave a comment and we'll add it to our list :-) **


The majority of these moms mentioned at some point in their email to me that a hug, an "I'm thinking of you" card, and the offer to listen if she needs it are all they need/needed to feel loved and supported.... every one of us longs for approval from those who are close to us and a simple "I'm proud of you" can instill a lasting peace in someone.


Do you love this list as much as I do? Don't walk away feeling as if you can't be honest or ask questions of a birthmom... sometimes it's just the way it's said that stings.

Moms~ Thank you for your help! I am honored to be someone  you trust with one of the most personal and difficult experiences I can imagine. I know that this list will impact many... it impacted me and the things I will and won't say from here on out :-)

** A very sweet friend, Sarah, sent me an email the other day with a suggestion for our next What Not To Say.... What Not To Say To An Adult Adoptee! I LOVE it! If you're an adult adoptee, would you start thinking about YOUR list?


  1. Oh my goodness, people can be so ridiculous sometimes. I can't believe that birthmoms have to hear some of these. :( As an adoptive mom, THANK YOU to the birthmoms who shared this, and I'm so sorry you had to ever hear any of it. This is one of many reasons that talking/writing/blogging about open adoption is such a wonderful thing! The more people who get educated, the better!

  2. Why are people so ignorant? There are people who are going through un-imaginable pain and don't hide the fact that they ned support; not probing and judgement.

    Thanks for listing these and thanks to the moms who opened up and cared enough to educate us!

    (I love your blog!)


  3. I have heard all of these already, just this week...via a phone call, at walmart, someone's supposedly well-meaning text message.. Each comment is like a stab in the gut... I have another one to add to the list:
    "How could you give up your own flesh and blood; I could never do that."

    Oh and somebody else said, just this afternoon via a phone call "Time will heal all wounds, you'll be able to have more babies in the future" Fact is babygirl and I almost died during labor. My OB said it was a miracle we both lived and I may not be able to have any more children in the future.

    Someone from a church said, "Just find a God-approved man and make more babies, after your married this time." Ouch!!!

  4. It's so tough to know what to say to someone in a tough situation! I'm glad there were a few suggestions. Most people have good hearts... their heads and mouths just get in the way.


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