Happy “Biological Mom’s” Mother’s Day!

Via Jessica Durivage
on May 5, 2011
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To My Biological Mom on Mother’s Day: Thank You For Carrying Me To Term & Giving Me These Great Parents!

You’re the Best!

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we are all about the business of honoring MOM.  And not just Mom, but Grandma, New Mom, Sister who is a Mom, Daughter who is a Mom, Mum, Mommy, Mama, Mother In-Law, Step-Mom, that “Special” Aunt, God Mother, Great Grand Mother and so on and so on.

There are another group of moms that are almost always forgotten in the mix.  We almost forget ourselves that at times we fall into this category.  Every few years my mother or my brother will send me an e-card, or call to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.  It takes me a moment to steady my emotions as I say “thank you,” my eye gaze going soft, senses turning inward as I stare at a wall for the next 30 minutes.

This type of Mom is also referred to as “Biological Mom,” defined as  a mammal such as a human, a pregnant woman gestates a fertilized ovum. A fetus develops from the viable fertilized ovum or “embryo.” Gestation occurs in the woman’s uterusfromconception until the fetus (assuming it is carried to term) is sufficiently developed to be born. The woman experiences labor and gives birth. Usually, once the baby is born, the mother produces milk via the lactation process.

We are the ones who chose to live in constant wonder of “what if….”

We are the ones who chose to give up our child for adoption.

Photo Cred: www.annegeddes.com

This is not a ploy to get someone to feel sorry for me.  I take full responsibility  for my choices and my actions, and at 19 years old that was an extremely difficult yet valuable lesson to learn.  The reality is I went into the hospital to have my daughter on a cold evening in November and went home on Thanksgiving Day with nothing but my choice.  And that is a choice I have learned to live with day in and day out.

I want you to know that I miss my daughter, that I love her and can’t wait to reunite with her someday… soon.   I feel as though during the birthing process I was Divinely Graced with all of those Motherly Gifts; Empathy, Compassion, Intuition, Patience and Unconditional Love.  I carried these around with me like badges of honor/shame (depending on the day) for years.

“Hi, my name is Jessica and before we go any further in this relationship I need to tell you that I gave my child up for adoption.  I was 19. I had a scholarship to college.  I was a good kid who made some not so good choices.  Please don’t mind my fits of rage and unbounded moments of bliss and love, as I feel things in a new and strange way.  I may try to love you in a way a mother loves her child, which you will really like… at first. And it will comfort me as well.  I will feel your pain for you and wipe away your tears.  Then when I have lost myself in attempting to care for you and fill up the hole in my heart that is leaking… you will probably be ready to pack your bags.”

As my hormones peaked and swirled around, milk coming in, baby crying, heart exploding, red and pink swelled eyelids from crying, crushed grape ice from the nurses who were concerned I was making the right choice, 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes, holding tight to every memory of those few days with this amazing gift from God, and the final moment on white paper with pen to sign the black inked hole that no one told me would be in my heart for the rest of my life.

These are the women I want to honor.

If there were a Hallmark Card for a Biological Mom on Mother’s Day, what would it say?

To My Biological Mom.

Thank you for carrying my fetus in your womb to term and then giving me these great parents.  You are the best!

How can we honor this group of amazing women, without it feeling….weird for all involved?

I read a book a few years ago called The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler.  The book shares the stories of dozens of women who gave their child up for adoption before Roe vs. Wade.  These are the girls whose parents social status was more important than the mental and emotional health of their children (well, I am going to make an assumption that in many cases not much has changed there);  they went through their pregnancy without education.  They lived their lives in fear and guilt and no one ever gave them an opportunity to share or process what they went through.  I spent a lot of time with my therapist after I read this book, reliving my own experience, but also grateful for being loved by my family through all of it, and never feeling like I could not share my experience with someone who was open to listening.


But still, for the majority of us, there was no “What to Expect When You are Expecting”, no baby shower, no painting the baby’s room,  no organizing the closet of clothes for the first year based on month and no hand-me-downs.  All of these external acts society does to celebrate this important rite of passage in a woman’s life.  No.  But, internally – the process is the same.  You feel the baby kicking inside you, not sure if you should get excited about it; you pass by the newborn section in the department store and just stop to look at the onesies because you are 6 months pregnant and showing and maybe you might feel some sort of normalcy standing there amongst breast pumps and Pampers.  You start to understand the word “numb” as you flip through the book of smiling couples and pick the good looking Christian ones who already have another adopted daughter and who will be moving to Spain soon after they receive their new bundle of joy because the husband accepted a job there.  Maybe she will speak Spanish when we are reunited in 18 years.

18 years?  I am only 19 years old.

As I leave the hospital in a wheelchair and have to be drug into the front seat of the car because, well… I changed my mind – the idea of waiting and not being in the presence of this luminous, beautiful, perfect being has all but suffocated my senses.  All I could do was smell her.  All I could see, though a waterfall of disbelief, was her sleeping face.  All I could taste was the milk I would never have the opportunity to test to see if it was going to be too hot for her.  All I could feel was this horrifying emptiness filled with pain and longing.


How do we honor these women?  How can we remember that there are a group of mothers out there who are silent? They probably won’t receive a card this Mother’s Day, no homemade card, no sweet phone call, no butterfly kisses, no flowers and no pancake breakfast in bed.  We can remember that they chose this, just as I did.  Maybe all we can do is remember to remember.  I don’t know, maybe a line of greeting cards for biological moms would go over really well!

I am happy to share that 13 years later I have made contact with my daughter through handwritten letters with bubbly penmanship, dotting i’s with hearts and using the word “like” a whole lot.  Her favorite color is Tiffany blue and she is #1 on her swim team.  I haven’t received a letter in a while, but it is all about her, her timing and when she is ready.  When I think about this whole crazy karmic ride we are on together (my daughter and I), I know that she holds the key to so many questions I have about myself and the light that will fill my heart.  I have been graced with patience beyond my wildest dreams to wait…  for another letter, a phone call, a time when I can embrace her in the flesh once again, as I was the first one to hold her in my arms when she came into this world. My eyes keep filling up as I write this and I turn away from the page because I know that living with any expectation is much too hard.

I would like to honor her parents, although this story is not about honoring adoptive parents, I feel that this article would not be complete without recognizing these two amazing people that I am connected too in some crazy cosmic way.  I so look forward to the day when we are all sitting in a room together figuring out what life will be like now that we are together, again.

As I was searching for articles on Ele that might relate to this one, I only found one.  It was written from an adoptive mothers point of view. The Last Word I Wanted to Hear by Lynn Hasselberger.   Putting these two stories side by side humbles me to know just how much love my daughter and her son have received and the sacrifices that were made on both sides to truly do what is best for these bright souls, brought into our lives to teach us so much.

Happy Mother’s Day to a Mother of any color or name, and most especially to those who have made the choice to carry their motherhood with them like a silent cloak, always wishing, wondering and waiting.

I honor the Mother in you, as I honor it in myself.


About Jessica Durivage

Whether in a business suit, on a yoga mat or a meditation cushion, Jessica will follow her Dharma to the ends of the earth and work to bridge the gap with the world and the light that dwells within each being.  Grateful for the wealth of experiences, teachers and mentors who have guided her along her path as a yogi, a business woman, a non-profiteer and an improv comedian; she cultivates mindful, savvy and innovative approaches to make the world a better place each day and lead with compassion, from the heart (and trying not to take herself too seriously). / Jessica is the founder and owner of Where is My Guru - an ever evolving work of life that encompasses writing, art, community, leadership, consulting and a weekly radio show where you can find her contemplating Purusha, Prakriti, the Yoga Sutras and why all Yogis are crazy mo fo's. Check in with the Where is My Guru Blog and the radio show on Fridays at 11am EST - www.whereismygurunow.com


33 Responses to “Happy “Biological Mom’s” Mother’s Day!”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    Jesus Jessica, this, and you, are beautiful. May your courage inspire many more…
    With love! Ben

  2. Penny says:

    Blessings to you! I was put up for adoption in the pre-Roe v. Wade days, and know next to nothing about my birth parents. Like anniegirl1138, I have no plans to try to find them. I'm okay with it all. Bless you for your choice and your spirit.

  3. Thank you so much, Annie. I appreciate your honesty and such a powerful perspective for me to hear. I can only speak from my own experience, but what I do know is that she thinks about you every, single day. I am sure knowing you feel that she made the right choice brings peace to her heart.

    Much love to you.

  4. Much love to you, Penny. These responses are so powerful – and I am so grateful that you feel moved to share. Thank you so much!

  5. Kate,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is really powerful and strange to have the replies to this post be women who were also given up for adoption. I am so grateful for all of you reaching out to share, and also to let me know that you are so grateful for the decisions your biological mothers made. Sending much love to you.

  6. Diane says:

    You never cease to amaze me.

  7. […] it’s time to reclaim Mother’s Day and get back to a broader, more healing concept of mothering and what we can honor about how we […]

  8. sharon says:

    Beautifully written. My husband and I are on a waitlist to adopt our baby; your perspective and experience are precious to me.
    Thank you, thank you.

  9. tulaajewelry says:

    Wow Jess, as I told you earlier today…you are brave! Thank you for sharing, it really did bring tears to my eyes as well. Being a mother of two and loving them more than I could have ever imagined really makes me wonder what it must have taken for you to give your daughter a life you knew you weren't ready to give her. This was really powerful and thank yoiu again for sharing. Keep rocking it here on Ele!

  10. Jessica. I continue to be astounded by the sheer depth and quality of the writing on Elephant. This article is among the most astounding. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  11. Tali says:

    Oh Jessica, what a moving piece.You are so beautifully authentic.

  12. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  13. Wow, Jessica! Beautifully written + moving. So important to remember those who chose to give their gift of life. As an adoptive mom, I am so grateful to the young woman who made this difficult decision. Without her and the amazing baby she so lovingly handed to me + my husband 10 years ago, our hearts would feel empty. Thank you! xo

  14. you are an extremely brave and courageous woman. sharing the choice you made and the complexities in your heart, gives inspiration and strength to other women who have made and will make difficult choices, whatever they may be. living life and being true to your own path takes a lot of courage and a lot of resilience and we are all strengthened by the examples of others. thank you so much for sharing this!

  15. Kris Miner says:

    I also read the book Jessica shared, the Girls who went away, and it changed my point of view. I sought out my birthmom after just a month before having my own child. My daughter was unplanned, I was single, in college and I kept her. My birthmom decided not to meet me, or communicate with me to this day. My daughter is 19. It's a deep wound that I have felt as abandonment and rejection. I've let it over define me at times. I work hard to remember my worth despite my bio-mom dynamic. I appreciate your post. The bio-mom card you relate is a perspective I can have, despite her actions of silence now. Thank you, and best of luck to everyone with mother-daughter bonds.

  16. krista o. says:

    Thank you Jessica for writing this piece. You've exposed such a deeply private and vulnerable part of yourself. Bless you. As an adoptee I still find people's reactions varied and emotional. I honor you, my birth mom, and all the other women who have released their babies to the care of others. Om Shanti.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for your courage to speak what is so authentic and deep in your heart. I am weeping imagining and feeling the pain and love that you must have felt then and still feel now. May you continue to find grace and blessings xx

  18. Sheri says:

    As an adoptee, I would like to wish you a glorious Mother's Day. I turned 30yo this year and am married with a complete family of four girls (1 step-daughter and 3 daughters). I feel like I am finally at a point where I know who I am well enough to seek out my biological mother. Possibly being rejected now won't be as damaging as the 18yo me would have been. There are so many things that I want to share with her, but I mostly want to thank her for allowing me to have the life that I have lived. It was such a selfless and brave act that I am have so much respect for just as I do any mother this choice. Thank you for sharing your story. It really just helps me to understand the other side of it better and have more compassion.

  19. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  20. […] My mother is my best friend, my psychologist and my biggest fan. Like many others, I feel moms should be appreciated everyday but the brunch, gifts and special day give moms a calendar day to be appreciated. I love you mom! […]

  21. […] To My Biological Mom on Mother’s Day: Thank You For Carrying Me To Term & Giving Me These Grea… […]

  22. Dear Jack,
    Thank you for your reply. I hear the love in your heart for your daughter and the ache you feel for the pain she will indeed suffer. One thing you could do is start a tradition with your daughter where you honor her choice, together. Holding space for her to seek out ways to process is also, I believe, extremely important.
    Most of all, do just what you are doing – loving, respecting and supporting her – even when she is having her darkest day.

    Sending you and your daughter all of the love and light I have. What an amazingly brave woman she is.

  23. Dear Friends,
    I was and still am extremely overwhelmed by all of the responses to this article. This was my "coming out" you might say, about this experience. I have been carrying this story around for a long time, and it was ready to come out.

    I have to be honest and share that Mothers Day this year was harder that it has been in a long time, and I have come to recognize these times as "moments of movement and release." I am so grateful for the support you showed in your comments. It is crazy for me to think that at 33 years (young), I have a 13 year old daughter. I still feel like a kid myself.

    May you see everything, everyone and every experience as a teacher.

  24. Thank you so much, Sheri.

  25. I'd love to talk more to you too, Jessica. Let's chat on facebook when you get a chance. I'm usually online, but if I don't answer right away it's because I'm on a call or something. Cheers!

  26. […] next to at Thanksgiving dinner, sidling right up against their heartbreak, hilarity, poignancy, and truth, including those who love meat in their mouths, and those who’d like to punch meat eaters in […]

  27. […] next to at Thanksgiving dinner, sidling right up against their heartbreak, hilarity, poignancy, and truth, including those who love meat in their mouths, and those who’d like to punch meat eaters in the […]

  28. Annie says:

    Oh Sweet Jessica, what beautiful weeping tears you have brought to me tonight. I am a 45 year old Mother of three. My oldest is….13 Magnolia, then there is Rose, she’s 10, and then my baby, Forest he is 8.

    All came from God, two through another woman’s womb. I can hardly type this as the tears of overwhelming love and deep gratitude for you and their biological Mothers is so huge and emotional.

    Rosie calls her birth Mother her Earth Mother. So that’s we we call birth Moms, Earth Mothers. I love it.

    There’s so much to say here, so many stories to share. But in short, Thank You. Thank you to all woman who carry their children to term.

    Although my peeps Earth Moms had a very different story & reasons for not keeping their babies, (it was a pretty rough ride for my little ones in utero) I give these two woman so much bright light.

    I don’t know how to explain the love I have for my children, the joy they bring me, and the love and connection we share with eachother. It’s magical and divine.

    Rosie and I have had the most interesting conversations about her Earth Mother. She wants to meet her some day. And I honor that. Forest has never asked about his Earth Mother. I find it odd that Rose never asks about the Father.

    Anyway Jessica, blessings on your beautiful heart and all that you’ve done to make the world a better place. I can feel your love energy shooting out all over. Thanks for sharing your soul here. I needed a good cry.

    Peace, LOVE, & Veggies, Annie

  29. Lisa Hatlestad says:

    Dear Jessica, I was doing a Bing for “Mother’s Day for Biological Mothers” and this is the first “feasible” entry I found.
    I am an adopted person. I didn’t learn I was adopted until I was 10, and that was six years after my adoptive mom died suddenly from an aneurism. My adoptive dad had remarried by then and he and my step mom kept the secret of my adoption and my brother’s adoption to themselves. So it was shocking and hurtful to learn the people I thought were my parents, weren’t. Anyway, two years ago, at the age of 42, I took the plunge and paid kinsolving to find my biological mom after many many years of being afraid to search. I thought she’d be horrified if I re-entered her life. But yet I wondered and wondered about her. I won’t get into details, but I did find her and she is in my life and I love her dearly. It’s like being given back an entire chunk of my life that was ‘taken away’ so to speak. I think it’s been more of an emotional rollercoaster for her than for me. She was told, at 17, to never tell anyone, no matter what, that she had had a baby girl and given her up. She would have taken that secret to her grave had I not contacted her. Instead, through God’s grace, or whatever you’d like to call it, instead of denial and turning away from the potential of emotional pain, she chose to embrace my new presence in her life. It’s hard for her sometimes; she has a very well-constructed shell around her emotions. But I’m well-versed in hurt and living with memories and regret, and I have been understanding to and patient with her, and she to me. Together we’re making this work. When I go to visit her, she introduces me to folks – even the grocery store clerks – with great pride as her daughter. And yet she would not let me honor Mother’s Day while I last visited her – I guessed maybe she felt she’d forfeited forever the title of mother? I don’t know. And yet for me to be able to call her Mom and honor Mother’s day would be such a great pleasure and fulfilment of a dream. Maybe it’s because my adoptive mom died when I was only four and I never bonded with my step mom…I don’t know. But it seems like my life since birth has been tailored by the stars for my biological mom- my mother – to re-enter my life and be loved. I do hope she’ll find it within herself to allow that.
    I guess what I’m saying with my rambling is this – the feelings that come from adoption are complex and rich and sometimes painful – as your post points out so beautifully- but there is always room for love, acceptance and whatever redemption is needed between birth-mother and her child. Keep the faith – I wish for a wonderful relationship between you and your daughter.Thank you for sharing your story, so brave.

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  31. Janie says:

    I too stumbled upon this wonderful openness (through Google) – such nice humbling and amazing words you all have shared. I'll be back to write more – I have just been reunited with my birth mom – and she called me for the first time ever on my 54th bday a couple wks ago. I feel very lucky that so far she seems very receptive to our communicating and meeting some time. She seems pretty happy about it all. She lives on the west coast and me – the east coast. We will meet one day soon, I think. Anyway – more later,
    Thanks Jessica and best best best to you all!

  32. Sunni says:

    You are brave but I call that being a mom. I to gave my son at birth 21 years ago tomorrow. I just got to meet him a few months ago we spent a week togeather it was wonderful. I know the day I was wheeled out I could not breath but I felt like I could not tell anyone. I love him from the second I knew I was pregnant and the seconded I heard him I feel head over hills in love with and I finly got to tell him. Thanks for standing up for B moms. Because people don’t get it we suffer in silince every Mother’s Day, birthday and meny more. Thanks again for sharing