Recognizing Loss on Birth Mothers’ Day
by Beth Kozan
In the late 1980s (so the legend goes), a group of birth mothers who had been meeting for support regularly in Seattle declared a holiday for birth mothers (a woman who has placed a child for adoption) on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. It has become known as Birth Mother’s Day.
In metro Phoenix, birth mothers will gather at 10 a.m. at The Refuge Café on Saturday, May 13. If you have a poem or letter or some other item that helps you get through the years, bring it to share at 10 a.m. in the meeting room at 4727 N. 7th Avenue, in Phoenix. No one understands the happy/sad feelings of a birth mother like someone who is a birth mother.
I first attended a Birth Mothers’ Day event after an adoption conference in Colorado Springs, CO. The year might have been 1997. All conference attendees were invited to stay another day, to join in and perhaps take the idea back to their community by offering a Birth Mothers Day event. There were several options presented:
- There was a sage ceremony, addressing all four directions and asking ancestral spirits for protection.
- There were readings of poems, and different people spoke of their experiences.
- Finally, there was a tree planting ceremony afterward.
It was a birth mothers’ day event that brought Laura Orsini into my life. Laura ‘cold called’ me at Catholic Charities and asked if I knew of people who might attend a poetry reading at a coffee shop to honor birth mothers. She was used to attending one in New York State, and wanted to continue the tradition here. Our pregnancy counselors, Becky VanWagenen and Jeanelle Bernier, invited their clients, and I invited several birth mothers I knew. We ate at a restaurant near the coffee shop and then moved to the coffee shop, poems and letters in hand.
If you know a birthmother who might be interested, please share this information with her.
Beth Kozan is the author of the bookAdoption: More Than by Chance and the forthcoming Helping the Birth Mother You Know. Beth worked in adoption for 35 years and retired to write. She has many more books than these titles to write and will emphasize and explore the concept of community in her additional books. “Growing up in a close agriculture-based, rural community in Texas, I felt the comfort and bonds of caring for others which is often missing in our busy lives today. Exploring and building communities for today is my writer’s goal.” Follow Beth on Facebook or visit her website, where she reviews books and films featuring adoption.