Sunday, September 03, 2006

Why Do I Object? (more on the "b" word)

"I prefer using birth mother as two words. It describes the specific type of mother, just as adoptive mother does. First mother, natural mother - if that is what other women choose to use, fine."

"Cookie" posted this and I had to speak to this point. I don't choose to use any term other than just "Mother," because that is what I am. It is not necessary or imperative for me to validate the assumed motherhood of adopters by qualifying and categorizing myself. I sometimes use the term "natural" when it seems to be useful, but any prefix is a qualifier and I am done with having my motherhood deleted or qualified to suit the needs of others, including adopters who are the ones that really like the "B" word. I choose NOT to use the term "mother" at all when referring to adopters. I figure when they stop calling us "Birth (non)"Mothers," I'll stop calling them adoptresses.

The fact of the matter is this. Whether you use all one word or separate the two, "birth mother" is still a title that was given to us by others to "keep us in our place." WE didn't choose it. If you want to understand why the term is demeaning and a use of language to keep us in a mode that puts us outside the realm of motherhood and the lives of our children, please read "Why 'Birthmother' Means 'Breeder'," by Diane Turski. Here is the link.

Rejecting the "B" term is not just a matter of attempts to be "persnickety" (as my Grandmother used to say) or to cause devisiveness, but to cut through the smoke screen of language and get to the heart of the truth. Just like those involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's, we have learned that language is powerful and important. What you call yourself is how you see yourself and how others see you.

So Cookie, you call yourself whatever you choose to call yourself, but let your sisters do the same for themselves. Just please remember that you didn't choose that was chosen and first used by an adopter. And for Heaven's sake, don't think we are afraid of the term. It doesn't scare pisses me off..BIG TIME, if someone tries to use it on me. 44 years ago, I was "deleted" from my children's lives and from the sure knowledge of my own heart. It won't happen again, by God. If it means taking a stand on the language I use to describe myself and my sister moms, then so be it.

Robin Westbrook
True Mother of Four
Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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