Birth Mother Stereotypes
Stereotypes about birth mothers abound. It is unfortunate, but also true. A Catholic family that chooses adoption may find themselves the subject of unwanted advice that warns them against the false dangers of the birth mother. A birth mother may find herself targeted by those who make assumptions about her motives or her character.
Catholic adoptions are not immune to these stereotypes. Luckily, there is a silver lining. When faced with false assumptions, view that moment as a teaching opportunity. You can enlighten individuals by providing them with facts rather than fiction.
Fiction: Birth mothers are teenagers or high school students. They are too young to be parents.
Fact: Some birth mothers are teenagers. Others are young adults. Some are even middle-aged. The majority of birth mothers are in their early twenties. The average age for a biological mom who is pursuing Catholic open adoption is about 24.
Fiction: Money is the primary factor in the adoption decision.
Fact: A lack of sufficient money can be one of the reasons a birth mother chooses adoption. It is rarely the sole reason. There are also cases in which the birth mother is financially able to care for a child but other factors caused her to choose Catholic adoption.
Fiction: Birth mothers do not take care of themselves while they are pregnant.
Fact: An open adoption generally allows the adoptive parents to remain up-to-date on any and all doctor’s visits. They can assure that the birth mother attends all of her prenatal screenings, takes prenatal vitamins and does not partake of alcohol or drugs. Birth moms care a great deal about the health of the baby, even if they won’t be the one raising him or her. Indeed, it is a very rare situation in which a birth mom uses drugs or alcohol or otherwise doesn’t take care of herself and the unborn child.
Fiction: A birth mother became pregnant because she is promiscuous.
Fact: It is not uncommon for a birth mother to be seen as promiscuous, simply because she is with child. This is both very sad and rarely true. Many birth parents are in committed relationships. Some are even married. One cannot know what type of a person a birth mother is simply by looking at her.
It is vital to remember that there is not one single type of birth mother. There are those who are too young to take care of a child. Some birth mothers have no partner and no support system to help them through the difficulties of raising a child. There are those who would prefer to focus on their careers. There are also those who already have children but do not have the means to care for a new child. The only thing that all of these women have in common is the harrowing, but also extremely loving, process of deciding to place their child for adoption.