If you’re having a hard time celebrating Birthmother’s Day or Mother’s Day (or motherhood or the lack of it), don’t force it.

Feel what you feel. Know that you’re not alone.

At this point, here in America, many of us are struggling to define the whole concept of motherhood lately, especially if it’s forced. Infertility is a forced (involuntary) medical condition that imposes enormous stress, and unwanted pregnancy is yet another. Knowing how emotionally-loaded this weekend is for many women, particularly those who whom motherhood is synonymous with trauma or loss, our hearts go out to all forced to worry or wait amidst either diagnosis.

For birthmothers: don’t force it.

Making the choice to place a child for adoption can be one of the hardest decisions any mom ever has to face. Living with the reality of being a mother who opted not to parent can be an enduring challenge in American culture. (Even if they do make up a holiday to validate your selflessness.)

In Abrazo’s private Facebook group, there’s been a lot of talk about Birthmother’s Day (in the adoption world, not even that lacks controversy.) Some birthmoms treasure the idea that “their” special day precedes that dedicated to mothers who are like all others. Other birthmothers, however, prefer to share the same day that honors all moms without qualification.

To all the mamas we know who struggle to reconcile a relinquishment decision they made in the past: don’t force it. It isn’t disloyal if you feel differently about adoption now. Much as your child, their parents or your adoption agency may want you to be at peace with it, you’re always entitled to your own thoughts and feelings, and those can always be subject to change.

Whichever day a first mom opts to claim, whatever title she chooses to go by, we hope that every mother who has placed a child for adoption (here or elsewhere) still feels appreciated and included and honored by her child/ren and their family.

For adoptive moms: don’t force it

This weekend, we must also pay tribute to the thousands of hopeful moms, expectant mothers, foster moms and adoptive moms we’ve gotten to know over the past 28 years.

We honor all the Karens and Marjories and Monicas and Fabis and Susans and Claudias and Melissas and Patricias and more who, unable to bear children of their own, found the capacity to love and nurture children (and birthparents) not related to them. That’s a lifetime commitment and we celebrate all who take it on and embrace it wholeheartedly.

Being a mom in the world of adoption is never easy nor simple. It isn’t uncommon for birthmothers and adoptive moms to struggle with sharing the same job title (and the love of the same children,) yet those who do it best come to realize there’s room for each of them in the hearts of the children they share.

And for those others: remember this

That being said, though, no female should ever feel forced to adopt (nor to place)… nor to become mothers against their will. The rumor that the SCOTUS is about to overturn the law of the land regarding abortion to endorse forced birth has many feeling great apprehension, and rightly so.

However fervently we all value life and treasure adoptions done the right way and for the right reasons, we do not want to see anyone’s daughter’s health endangered by involuntary pregnancy, dangerous termination procedures or forced births.

Adoption has the potential to transform lives, but it’s not a all-purpose solution, and it isn’t any female’s duty to supply this country with healthy adoptable newborns for all the people waiting to obtain one. In America, it is illegal to coerce anyone into choosing adoption against their will, which in short means “don’t force it.”

That just might be wise advice for even the Supreme Court to heed, at this crucial juncture.

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