Last week we started looking at myths about the “typical” birth mother…
A myth, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a story that is usually of unknown origin and at least partially traditional, that ostensibly relates historical events usually of such character as to serve to explain some practice, belief, institution, or natural phenomenon.” Myths develop because not enough is known about a person or situation. Myths about birth mothers are no different. They have developed from a variety of sources, and society has come to develop them into a stereotype birth mother.
We’ve already discussed the first three myths, that birth mothers are teenagers, choosing adoption because they don’t their child, and are poor. Let’s move on to three more myths about the typical birth mother…
Myth 4: Birth mothers are never married.
Some are not married. Some are married. Marital status has little to do with whether or not a woman should consider adoption. A woman should never decide to parent a baby simply because they are married.
Married couples often are surprised with an unplanned pregnancy. For a struggling family, decisions such as this can be heart-wrenching and difficult, especially for a couple who cannot afford another child or whose relationship is strained to a near-breaking point already.
Myth 5: Birth mothers have no education and no job skills.
Birth mothers can have college degrees, can be going to school, or have a prominent position. Most all have completed high school and have held jobs. Many are currently parenting other children which can be a full-time job! Some may have learning disabilities that make it difficult for them in a school setting.
Myth 6: Birth mothers want ongoing contact in case they change their minds.
Open adoption does not mean that the birth mother wants a co-parent. With open adoption, the birth mother gets to know the people who are adopting her child. Adoptive parents let the birth mother get to know the child as he or she grows up. All parenting decisions are made by the adoptive parents. Through this process, the birth mother knows her child and has the piece of mind that she has made the right decision.
A birth mother has a certain time period in which she can revoke consent of the adoption, usually no more than 30 days. After that, she can no longer change her mind.
So then what’s a typical birth mother like?
A typical birth mother is in her 20’s, parenting other children, and wants a better life for her child than she can provide. She may have a man in her life, but likely not one that is currently taking the role of an active dad to her kids. She realizes that adoption is a difficult decision but she knows it is the best choice for this child. She also knows that while ongoing contact may be painful sometimes, she needs the reassurance that her child is growing up happy, healthy, and with the family that she chose for him or her.
Never make assumptions about a woman who contacts you about adoption. Learn about her personally, because truly, women choose adoption from all walks of life, rich or poor, married or single, with or without support. Leave all your expectations at the door and get to know the woman considering you for her child for who she is.