We have recently received word, here at Motherhood Deleted, that the people at Concerned Unitd Birthparents who claimed credit for coining the derogatory and coercive "birth(?)mother" title have now admitted that they were not very original at all. The term had already been used by the author and adopter, Pearl S. Buck, and later by a facilitator, adopter. No, as it was "clarified" to someone most recently, the term was MODIFIED, to read as one word..."birthmother" rather than "birth mother" to allow a flow of first letters that gave them the acronym "CUB" rather than the somewhat awkward "CUBM". That means that quite a few of the arguments by proponents of that hideous misnomer are just a wee tad invalidated.
Why all the hubbub, you ask? Well, from this reporter's vantage spot, it looked like there was a bit of resistance to moving ahead and finally allowing the Mother of Adoption Loss to choose what she would be called. Call me picky, but I don't want anyone, not Pearl Buck, Lee Campbell, Marietta Spencer, the "sweet folks" at the CUB forum...ANYONE...deciding what I am to my children and how that relationship should be described. African Americans refuted the titles, "Negro" and "colored" and worse, that designated and denigrated them, as they moved towards more equality. They knew the power of language and they decided it was time to move past the old labels. THEY decided what they would be called as a race.
I was on the CUB forum mailing list for a while until I got booted for not complying with the moderator's demand for my biography (another Mom I know, just to show this person the depth of their foolishness, even included her bra size in her "bio). I read and observed, first hand, the battle of egos and status-quo, the derision with which those who wanted to move forward (including those who wanted an end to the "birth" prefix) were treated. I read long, ego-inundated, pseudo intellectual rants that really put a bad taste in my mouth where CUB, the organization, was concerned. Their forum is part of their voice, and I am NOT impressed.
As the African-American community progressed, so it is time for us to move on as well. We can sit and spin our wheels in the shadow-world of the "poor birthmother," we can continue to cater to the sensitivites of the adoption industry, adopters and angry adoptees, or we can become empowered as Mothers who lost children to adoption. It's not a matter, at all, of invalidating the steps taken by those that started the wheels turning that began opening of the eyes of this country to the problems of adoption. CUB does have some moments of which they can be justifiably proud. And, we all have to start somewhere. But nothing is gained by remaining stuck in a rut of sameness and what we are called IS important. It has become more important now that the word is being, in the here and now, used to effectively coerce mothers-to-be by naming them "birthmothers" before their child is even born or surrender documents are signed.
So now we know and now we can be sure that we Mothers of Adoption Loss did not put the onus of being a "birth-thing," a breeder, a walking uterus, upon ourselves. It's a step forward just knowing this.