Am I a Bitter Birthmother? What Labels Reveal about the Labeler

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Recently, I was told by someone who has read my writings here that I appeared to be a “bitter birthmother.”

Bitter? I had never thought of myself as bitter, per se. Questioning? Yes. Willing to look deeply at all sides of the adoption equation, as unhappy, unpleasant, and painful as they might be? Yes. Deeply regretful of  my decisions as a 19-year old woman who had the full force of my community, church, and family bearing down on me to make the “only loving decision”? Yes. Angry? Sometimes, but mostly at myself for having been duped into believing the carefully crafted lies.

But bitter? No.

Over the years, I have learned when someone labels me without taking the time to know me or my heart, it reveals more about them than it does about me. Their label of “bitter birthmother” reveals a frightening level of deep-seated hostility and animosity in their soul towards the most vulnerable of all in the human family: a new mother and her infant child.

Casting me in the role of a “bitter birthmother” seemingly alleviates that person of their personal and societal responsibility in the matter. It is easier to call me “bitter” than it is to face their culpability in the ongoing practice of adoption as it exists today.  It is easier to make me the scapegoat than it is for them to face the woundedness that adoption leaves behind for both a natural mother and her child. It is easier to tell me that I “deserve this” and to ask me questions like, “What else did you expect to happen when you got pregnant?” than it is to admit their role in the dissolution of a family.

So, for the most part, I shrug it off because I realize that illuminating the Truth sometimes makes other people very, very, very angry and arrogant with me.  It makes them say things that reveal more about who they are than what I am.

Now back to writing my dissertation proposal, because like millions of other first mothers, I have a life outside of adoption. And in fact, that life is pretty dang successful…not because I relinquished you for adoption, but in spite of it.

Much love,


8 thoughts on “Am I a Bitter Birthmother? What Labels Reveal about the Labeler

  1. I agree. I hate it when “bitter” is thrown about in an attempt to discredit the speaker. It’s heinous and manipulative.

    It really, really sucks.

    I am working on being more like Linda and telling people to go f-themselves.

    • Me too, Kara! I want to have the courage that Linda has…maybe she can hold some online training courses for us?


      PS Thanks for stopping by my blog – I have been over reading yours and have already gone through a box of kleenex.

      • Thank you for reading it! It has been hugely cathartic to get it all out of me. When I think about what happened, it still feels surreal sometimes. I ask myself, “Why does this always happen to me?” But there’s not much I can do except move ahead as best I can.

        I really enjoy your blog, too, and you’re clearly one of the first moms I really love!

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