You May Have Given Birth, But I Have Also Earned The Right To Be Called Mom!

I’m sure almost all Mom’s would nod their head’s in agreement with this picture. I get it I really do. Most Mom’s bodies are wonder works that housed the most incredible miracle. So I totally get that this picture would be doing the rounds on social media and that 99.9% of women would agree with it.
But it bothers me. It bothers me that this is yet another example of how society see’s motherhood. It bothers me that so much emphasis is placed on pregnancy as part of motherhood.  Sure, pregnancy is part of the journey to motherhood for a large % of mothers, but pregnancy is not what makes a mom.
I’ve really struggled with whether or not to post this post, because I don’t want to be seen as being a whiny cry baby. But, I also call myself an adoption champion and part of the reason why I write this blog is to educate people about adoption and about adoptive mothers and what its like to be on an alternative path, to be travelling down a fork on the road less travelled and so in order to be true to that, I have to express my feelings and views on this matter.
This picture is beautiful and it depicts the miracle of pregnancy and not motherhood.  For me, this picture, as a fellow adoptive mom so rightly pointed out to me, depicts motherhood:
Mothers Day
Society really does need to take a long look at what the definition of a mom is. We only have to turn to the news to find the most appalling examples of mothers, women who once carried their miracle within their womb, who’s bodies once housed 4 hands, 4 feet etc, but who have turned into the most appalling women, not worthy of being called Mom. Women who abuse and neglect their children, women who never put the well being of their children before their own. Women who expose their children to all kinds of horrors. They get to call themselves mom, because they got to experience a miracle within their own bodies.
I never experienced the divine miracle of pregnancy, not to full term anyway. But I am far more a Mom than the women I’ve described above. I put my child’s well being above my own, I would never willingly place her in harms way, I would never abuse or neglect her, I would lay down my life to save her. I am a Mom.
I have always believed that what makes someone a Mom is the experience of motherhood and not pregnancy, I really wish that society would embrace motherhood that way more, so that those of us who are mothers without pregnancy wouldn’t feel so marginalized.
I really struggle with my sense of worth as a mother and this is largely in part my own fault, because I take on board too much of what society considers the norm when the norm does not fit me.
What do you think makes someone a Mom?



  • Margot

    November 21, 2012 at 11:36 am

    You make that distinction between pregnancy and motherhood very well.
    I think there’s always going to be schmalz circulating out there that applies to 80/90/99% of people. In a way my own child is educating me about being part of the 20/10/1%. You hear assumpions or cliches and there is sometimes a little pull of sadness that it doesn’t apply to you. When I get emails from baby websites telling me that many children start to potty train at around this age, I think.. well, not mine. If I tought about the “pitter patter of little feet”, until recently, I thought, not my youngest.
    Being part of the minority is just different, it is hurtful sometimes but it is what it is. That’s kinda how I deal with it, you know?

  • Denise

    November 21, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Sharon, I look at this slightly differently. To me it is praising the female body and the wonder thereof. Mine has failed me and it isn’t what is mentioned above at all.

    To me it wasn’t offensive or trying to say that only if you had been through that you were a mom.

    The miracle in my life wasn’t creating the child but rather becoming the mom.

    • Sharon

      November 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

      I’m with Juanita, the picture is beautiful, but it could have done without the last line because being pregnant does not qualify one as a mom.

    • Sharon

      November 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Thanks Juanita! That is exactly how I feel too, that picture is beautiful and the miracle of life should be celebrated but it could have been done without adding the last line!

  • Beth

    November 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Aw Sharon, I hate that you have to write this post, I hate that life is so filled with stereotypes and societal expectations. Most of all I really hate that you have a part of yourself that is insecure and feels judged because you are a mom through adoption.

    You are a great mom. Your family is beatiful. Your family is unique.

    From one mom who doesn’t fit the mould (for different reasons) to another; tell that little voice that makes you feel insecure to feck off because you are 100% mom by any standards.

  • Another adoptive Mom

    November 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    As an adoptive mom, who is struggling to conceive, this picture does not bother me at all. You cannot separate pregnancy from motherhood. Yes, motherhood is far more than pregnancy. I consider myself as much as a mom to my precious daughter as my friends who conceived, carried & birthed their babies. The picture does not bother me at all. Pregnancy is very much a part of what makes most people (as you stated) a mom. If someone hadn’t been pregnant, I would not have the privilege of being my daughter’s mom.

    I love this site & what you do to promote adoption as normal, because it is normal and amazing. Thank you for this website. It really is wonderful & I am learning so much from you about motherhood.

  • Laura

    November 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    What makes someone a mom? Through my sleep deprived eyes I am going to say it is someone who is willing to put the needs of their child above their own – simple as that.

    I don’t mean someone who sacrifices everything and who they are – that’s not healthy but a person who when their baby didn’t sleep still gets up to sort breakfast out for the other kids, someone who bribes people if need be to make sure they are at their kids first concert. Does that make sense?

    MMMM I may try and blog about this as well.

  • Robyn

    November 22, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Shaz – that pic of you and Ava says it all – you are so right – that is what being a mom is all about. That little cuddle, that little smile – makes you forget all the sleepeless nights. Excellent post. xxx

  • Mash

    November 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I’ve become more aware recently of all the mysticism that still surrounds pregnancy. Like if you say to someone “I had a car accident and now I’m crippled” you won’t get the response that you should just relax and suddenly you will be able to walk again. But with infertility, everyone is waiting for the miracle, it’s almost like superstition. People base their self worth on the fact that sperm met egg and implanted. I was in that number for a while, when I was still so hooked on making it happen in my body. The realisation that life is imperfect, and not all of us will get the pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding experience was huge for me – it actually set me free in so many areas of my life. I suddenly realise that I no longer need to conform to many of the other stereotypical life plan situations I had set myself up for. So I’m going to be an older mom. Doesn’t mean I have to be aged. So I can’t get pregnant. Doesn’t mean I can’t be a mother. So we are not as wealthy as I had hoped to be by now. Doesn’t mean we can’t live an awesome life.

    So everyone around me is still clinging to their stereotypes and superstitions like their lives depend on it. Doesn’t mean I have to participate!


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