In case Mother’s Day was hard for you…


Boof gets it. He let me have a quiet introspective (post-5k) Mother’s Day by myself before dinner at his parent’s house. I had been grumpy for a few days, and it wasn’t until we got home Mother’s Day evening that he said, “well, and I bet it’s harder for you, that today isn’t just a happy day. I wanted to tell my mom that, so she could understand.”

Because, Mother’s Day, as an adoptee, is hard. I said to him, “yeah, it’s hard…I have two moms and no moms at the same time.”

His response was, “yeah, that is hard. And I had hoped that the fact that you’re being a really good mom to Potamus would make up for it, but it doesn’t, does it?”

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to the outside world, when I say that Mother’s Day is hard for me…but I came across this blog post that summed up my feelings well:

In Case Mother’s Day is Hard for You

Let’s be real. Mother’s Day can completely blow sometimes.

You want to be cheerful. You want to be with the program. But some years there are all these little points of pain that will not go away.

The baby you never had. The one you gave up. The kid you lost to something bigger than you. The child that slipped away before you ever held her. The one that was never born. The one you worry you’re failing. The one that failed you.

The mother who’s so close and yet so far. The one you loved so much who couldn’t love you back. The one you could never love because it hurt too much. The one you lost too soon. The one who is slipping away. The one you can never please. The one you wish you could live up to.

There are no cards to honor these children or these mothers. There are no holidays to contain all the parts of you that fall outside the lines of generally understood sorrow or celebration.

But there is this moment, this incredible moment, where you can feel it all. Where for once you can’t stuff it down or forget it. Where you have to be with it, because it is not going away.

And here, my friends, is where something important happens. This is where we connect, where we understand we are frail, where we are human. Where we see in new ways what life means. Where we are issued a compelling and persistent invitation to mother ourselves. To cut ourselves the breaks we didn’t get. To ask for the help we always needed. To let tears come and say, This is how it is. I’ll ask in this one tiny moment, for the courage I need to let everything just be.

No matter what your point of pain or challenge today, I want you to know that you are not the only one. Somewhere over a silly Mother’s Day breakfast, there is a woman faking a smile who feels just like you do. Somewhere in a very silent house with no one to call, there is a woman who is tending the ache of her loss, just like you. Somewhere standing in a shower there is a woman who is feeling it all and letting the tears come, just like you.

As you go about this day, know that over here, Ria and I have candles lit for all these unspoken things, and that we are holding the space and thinking of you. You — the faraway, soulful you — will be in our meditation and in our warmest thoughts. We are sending you light and love and the deep wish that you would know today of all days, nothing is wasted and we are together in ways we cannot always see but are just as true. That the night can never last. That even in our darkest moments, there will be someday, the surprise of a laugh, a comfort, a dawn.

With so much love, hope and light, Jen


I’m thankful for such a wonderful partner who let me feel crappy and grumpy and tired yesterday and didn’t make me explain myself…he just knew…and I’m always surprised when he pulls out that level of intuition and empathy for something that I can’t even verbalize half the time.

Why I need to stop looking at #birthmom on Instagram

The only picture I have of my birth mom and I before I was an adult. I got this when I was 26.

The only picture I have of my birth mom and I before I was an adult. I got this when I was 26.

I don’t like to admit it, but I am a pretty emotional person. While I don’t cry all that often, I feel things deeply…both my own shit and the shit of others. This skill is helpful in working as a therapist, especially since I’ve learned how to have boundaries professionally, but when it comes to the blurred lines in my personal life…I’m less than able to do so.

Most of the time I’m just tra la laing through the interwebz, and then BAM I come across something, that, for whatever reason, slams headlong into my gut (which, I feel, is where most of my emotions lie, anyway). Sometimes it happens in real life, but mostly, due to an online presence, I find myself sucked into a vortex of feeling and can’t quite get myself out of it.

Like, for example, yesterday, when I was trolling around on my adoptive sister’s Instagram page and saw a picture of her with her birthmom. With the hashtag birthmom, I thought to myself “hmm, I wonder who’s posting under that hashtag.” And there I see them…bellies upon bellies. These young women are posting to something called ‘birthmom,” when they haven’t given birth, haven’t relinquished their children yet, and are documenting their whole ordeal for the world to see and I felt this WAVE of sadness.

These girls aren’t birthmoms. They are moms. Their children are their children, nobody else’s. They don’t have to relinquish. They won’t know what they’re going to feel until after the birth…or months…or years later.

And so, unlike other times where I’ve taken a deep breath and walked away, I posted to one woman’s page, something about making sure she was 100% sure, because the adoptive parent’s had already named HER daughter something else, without consulting her. Those are red flags in my opinion. But she got mad at me, and I felt sad…for her…for her baby…for a country that is focused on the million dollar industry of separating children from their parents because of conventional rules on things like age or education level of a parent (I’m not talking about kids taken because of abuse or neglact, ya know).

I know that I should just walk away from situations like that, but there’s the piece inside of me that thinks, “maybe nobody’s told her she could be a mom,” or “maybe nobody’s told her that it’s her child still, that she can make the choices,” or that I can somehow save just one. It’s like that cliche idea from The Catcher in the Rye, where he wants to stand at the edge of the cliff to catch the children from falling over and losing their innocence. And I’m seeing it happening, the falling, and can do nothing about it. And I feel so sad for those little babies, those little mes, who will grow up in adoption-land without needing to.