I wonder if this is a pattern. Postpartum, I rethink adoption, I dwell on adoption, I move to a new place with adoption, and yes, I heal a little bit.
I have been thinking about the term "birthmother". I've always been uneasy with it. Like Cookie says, "it sounds too much like some kind of a mysterious entity, not a mother of any kind, but, a "babymaker". " I use it more for clarity's sake, it's a word that most people know (I don't think anyone outside of the adoption world knows what a "lifemother" is). I sit with it because there don't seem to be any clear, simple alternatives to distinguish what kind of mother I am. "Birthmother" doesn't make me feel like a mother. It makes me feel like a throwaway.
"Birthmother" is further disabled by internet acronyms. There's the unfortunate "BM" (as if we need another reminder that we are worth shit). People don't use this much, except for the uninformed. "Bmom" was often used at the forum I used to lurk in, which would have been fine if it didn't subconciously put us on a lower plane than the "Amom". Another unfortunate quirk of language, not at all intentional, I know. But it always bothered me, as it cemented the notion that I belong on a lower rung, I am fundamentally unimportant.
"Lifemother" bothers me for different reasons. It means basically the same thing as birthmother, without the cultural baggage of having been used, in an often derogatory way, for years. In much the same way as "birthmother", it whittles my purpose down to one act, I gave E. life. A mother only for birth, only for giving life. It implies I have no other, ongoing purpose. It's a naive attempt to reduce the stigma without an understanding of the central problem, cleaning up the exterior while leaving the broken interior untouched.
"First Mother" is a term I can begin to like. It's literal and clean. I am E.'s first. mother. I came before her second mother. I am her mother, her first mother. It acknowleges that E. has more than one mother. "First mother" will never fly, however. I think most adoptive mothers would chafe at the notion that they are "second" to their kids, the same way that I chafe at my "b" status.
The same goes for "natural mother". The implication that adoptive mothers are "unnatural" I think is unfair. I am not about to imply that Marta or Dawn is an unnatural mother. Sure, their kids didn't come to them via nature, but "unnatural" has too negative a connotation.
Why can't there be a term for each mother that doesn't cancel out or degrade the contributions of the "other" side?
*Responses to a comment*
I don't even know what to think of myself as. I default to "birthmother" even though I don't like the way it fits. Society will probably always call me a birthmother. E. will probably always refer to me as her "birthmom" or "birthmother".
The point of my post is that I don't have the answers. I can't tell you what to call me and others like me that won't "make you out to be a bad person", because, clearly, it's different for everyone.
"Good intentions" are nice, but they don't go quite far enough in something as emotional and complex as adoption. E. parents have always had "the best intentions". You need education to back it up.
Language fails to capture what I am. I'm sorry my thinking about this "irritated" you.