I asked readers to e-mail me and forum members to reply with their experiences of being a birth mother and the emotions and actions surrounding their child’s biological father and Father’s Day. I got some great responses of varied experience. For this I am glad! We need more voices, more stories being told so that others might catch a glimpse.
A group that I accidentally and largely neglected to address in my previous post spoke up in large number: birth mothers who married their child’s biological father. To be fair, I may have subconsciously left them out of the post as I have a go-to birth mother in this situation whom I always glean a comment off of but, looking back, that doesn’t serve the public well (my lack of public address) and so I won’t do that in the future! But though these women and mothers share a similar experience, their stories were all different.
A similar running theme through some (not all) of these mothers that took the time to contact me was that their husbands were rather silent about their emotions regarding the relinquishment. One mother spoke of it well.
I am saddened for him regarding the lack of involvement. I think he has similar feelings but he is not the kind to talk about that very often. I try to be there for him when he does talk and be non-judgmental. After all, no one is perfect… we all make mistakes.
Our two children we raised and I work very hard to make him feel special on father’s day. We let him shape his day and throw in a few surprises for him. He is a wonderful person who is full of love and devotion for his family. He deserves nothing but the same in return.
I am sure that it is uniquely difficult to find that balance between acknowledging your relinquished child(ren) and celebrating with your parented children in these situations. Families such as these are to be commended for even attempting to handle something that others would find too negative to address on a celebratory day.
Other mothers stepped into what I will call, without judgment of my own, the stereotypical role that the general public might expect of birth mothers regarding this subject. They spoke with anger or disinterest, the hurt from their past evident in their words. And really? Who can blame them? These mothers felt abandoned and, in some cases, they were physically abandoned and almost always emotionally abandoned. Their words made me want to reach out and hug them tightly.
Today he doesn’t acknowledge me or my daughter so I have a hard time being the bigger person and acknowledging him…
I’ve never thought about my son’s bdad on Father’s day. I guess I always thought of him barely involved in the conception, not involved in the pregnancy at all and begrudgingly involved in the relinquishment so I’ve never really thought of him as a ‘father’.
These answers don’t surprise me. Though they break my heart not just for the birth mother and not just for the birth father but for the child in the end. But as this is about biological fathers right now, I can’t help but wonder, being my reform-minded self… would these fathers have stepped up to the plate in a more noticeable way had agencies (or anyone) treated them as equals? Would the counseling that I push so hard for expectant parents to receive have helped these individuals? Would it have thus erased or eased some of the hard feelings that these birth mothers are left with years later? While we’ll never know in these cases, as you can’t rewrite history, I’m sure it could make a difference in future cases. If only agencies agreed.
Then there was another group that spoke as well. They spoke of changed relationships and emotions but a quiet respect. One mother spoke up about it.
I have no resentment towards B at all, but our friendship changed with the birth of M 12 years ago…I’d love to be able to wish him a happy day.
I, too, fall into this category. My anger has dissipated over the years. While my daughter’s biological father did and said some not-so-awesome things during my pregnancy, I honestly believe that those things were said and done out of pure fear. I was scared, too! My heart feels a bit sad for him on Father’s Day as I know he got an even shorter end of the stick than I did with regards to unethical adoption and so on. I also feel kind of guilty in a strange way. I’m here, parenting two amazing children. I have a relationship with our shared daughter. And while he tried the latter, he has neither of those things to help on days like Father’s Day.
Of course, I only hit on a few as I have limited space. And, of course, there are many, many other birth mothers who did not speak up. Whatever the case, our experiences and emotions vary in many ways. There’s no right or wrong way to approach the day (as long as you’re not verbally or physically abusing the other party, I guess!). I hope that birth mothers and biological fathers alike are able to find some semblance of peace this year on Father’s Day.
Tomorrow I’ll hit on how adoptive parents view their child’s biological father on Father’s Day.
For more on holidays, read these posts.