Mother’s Day Can Be Messy

Mother’s Day Can Be Messy

Written by Rachel Shifaraw, Adult Adoptee, C.A.S.E. Emerging Leader & Creative Content Specialist
Published on: Apr 14, 2022
Category Parenting

An adoptee’s perspective on the complexities of loving & losing multiple moms 

As a child growing up, Mother’s Day was a big deal in our home. My mom hosted an annual brunch. Dozens & dozens of her friends & family would come through our ‘open house’ style celebration, noshing on the deli trays & delicious catered foods from our favorite kosher delis.

I remember my mother dressing me for the occasionu2026tights, floral patterned dresses with matching bows in my hair. The perfect little girl to celebrate her special day.

I loved celebrating with my mom. She raised me with so much love & compassion in a world that often felt unsafe & unstable to me. She raised me for herself but also for the woman who couldn’t, my biological motheru2026& somehow, she managed to love me for both of them.

However, all that love never felt like enough. I always felt like something was missing & every year after our Mother’s Day masquerade, I’d sit in my roomu2026aloneu2026& I’d cry. I’d cry for the mother that was missing. The mother that I had no chance to know. The mother whom I felt guilty for ‘mourning’ on a day when I was expected to just smile & celebrate. I wanted to celebrate THAT mom too. I missed her.

How does one celebrate, mourn, or miss a mother they do not know? I knew nothing of her. I had no name to call her. I had no outlet to open up to. I had asked questions for years that had always gone unanswered. Mother’s Day quickly became a day I struggled to celebrate & a day I struggled to mourn. It became a day of numbness.

The ‘holiday’ continued as a progressive nightmareu2026getting worse & worse each year until it came to a screeching halt on Mother’s Day in 2002. I was 18 years old & set to be a mother myself. However, my choice to parent as a teenager resulted in my mother telling me she’d be discontinuing our relationship as we sat outside after her annual brunch. Was my love for my unborn son & my own journey to motherhood stronger than the love for the woman who had loved me my whole life? Was being a mom myself more important to me than the mom who took me in when my first mother ‘gave me up’?!?

I quickly wrestled with these questions & ultimately walked away from my mom’s home that Mother’s Day & I set out on my own journey of motherhood. One no longer dependent on my two mothers but one focused on my adventure as a mother myself.

20 years have passed. I went on to have three additional children, making me a proud mom of four beautiful humans. Mothering my babies has given me a better understanding of the complexities of motherhood. I know we all do our best, but we are also human, making errors along the way.

When asked what I want to do for Mother’s Day each yearu2026I respond to my children with a simple, ‘nothingu2026I just want to be in my bed.’ However, my story isn’t one of sadness. It’s merely a snapshot of my reality in dealing with my adoption. An adventure of learning to love & lose two mothersu2026a journey of healing & repair in order to reconnect, reunite & regain those relationshipsu2026& a journey of learning to take care of myself. I felt so many years of turbulence trying to decipher the proper way ‘to do’ Mother’s Day but now, I get to make Mother’s Day my own.

No matter where you are this Mother’s Dayu2026whether it be celebrating, mourning, or being stuck somewhere in between, know that Mother’s Day CAN be messy. But where there are messes, there is room for clean up. Fresh starts & new beginnings are beautiful things.

Written by Rachel Shifaraw, Adult Adoptee, C.A.S.E. Emerging Leader & Creative Content Specialist and Contributor to Beneath the Mask: For Teen Adoptees: Teens and Young Adults Share Their Stories

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