My daughters are half filipino and my 7-year-old does not look like me at all. I often get stares when we are out and I have been asked by more than one stranger what the nationality of her father is. When she was six weeks old and I was in a shop the owner asked me where I got my baby from. I was so shocked that anyone would ask that question.
Although I did give birth to her, to me it doesn’t matter. She is my daughter because I choose to be her parent everyday. I get up and make her breakfast and get her to school. I made sure she has a healthy lunch and warm clothes. I listen to her concerns and funny jokes and pay attention to what matters to her. I make sure she feels loved everyday. I invest everything I can in making sure she is happy and healthy and THAT is what makes me her mum. Not whether she looks like me. Not whether I gave birth to her.
” I did not give birth to my child. I did not get to feel him growing within me, or hold him against my skin when he was born. Perhaps by your definition, my child is not a part of me — he does not resemble me or my wife. Let me tell you what being a parent is to me. I didn’t labor for hours for this child, I labored for YEARS. I waited for years to be told that we had been chosen, that we were finally going to be allowed to be parents. I didn’t feel labor pains. I felt the incredible pain of emptiness in my heart and home as my wife and I yearned to begin our family through adoption. I didn’t get to wake up in the middle of the night and nurse my sweet child. I did, though, spend many nights lying awake and praying to whomever might be listening to let us be next. Asking myself why we hadn’t been chosen yet. Pouring over adoption profiles and sending endless e-mail inquiries on children available for adoption and being told no, no, no over and over again. And like you said, ‘you can’t possibly understand that feeling.’ I feel certain you have absolutely no idea. A child lives to depend on me — you’re right. My child has been let down by everyone else in his life. You think I am not losing sleep? He may not wake me up to feed him every couple hours, but he screams out in his sleep — no doubt reliving past traumas from the life he led before being adopted. Not every experience is your experience. Not every mother is a mother because she gave birth. Not every child is yours or a ‘part of you’ because you grew it inside of you. My child will always be a part of me, because we’re fighting for this life together. TLDR: Fuck you. I’m a mom.”
A perfect response to a hurtful and insensitive comment. We choose to be parents everyday. You do not become a mother by giving birth, you become a mother when you choose to dedicate your life to a child and be the person they can rely on. When you dedicate your life to a child in this way, DNA does not matter, love does.
How do you define motherhood?