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What Do You Call Your Child’s Birth Mom?

What Do You Call Your Child’s Birth Mom?

Jessica Butler
What Do You Call Your Child's Birth Mom, Raise Magazine

From Belly Mommy to Auntie, adoptees and adoptive moms share the names their families use.

When Levon was a baby, we referred to his birth mom as Mama {First Name}. We used the term Birth Mama when talking to him about her, but the concept of adoption was too abstract for him to understand. When he was four, we began noticing pregnant women and asking me if he grew inside my tummy. That’s when we began using the term Tummy Mommy. It was a name that helped him understand his connection to his biological mother and something he immediately attached to. As he grows and better understands the concept of adoption, our terms will undoubtedly change. But for now, he proudly explains to anyone who will listen that he hates bananas because his Tummy Mommy hates them too.

We asked five other women to share the names they and their children use, and we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment with the name your family uses for the birth moms and dads in your life.

  • “We use whatever my son feels like at the time. If it’s not obvious he’ll say, my First Mom, but if the context is obviously about her (and not me) he just says Mom. He calls me Mama. Just as important, he does the same with his dad.”
  • “My baby is nine months old, and her birth mom has asked to be called Auntie. I suggested Mama {First Name}, but she insisted that I am Mama and that we are sisters now.”
  • “We call my daughter’s birth parents just that, emphasizing to her, now that she’s 6, that she has four parents. I sometimes say Tummy Mommy. I say Birth Parents to create a distinction but also as a cohesive whole in terms of four people who love her deeply.”
  • “We use ‘first mother’ because I feel like I share the mother role with her in a lot of ways. He will always be my child, but he’s not just mine. His personhood is a result of all of us working together. She gave him what I could not and I give him what she could not. Without her, I could not be his mother.From Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet: ‘Your children are not your children. / They are the sons and the daughters of life’s longing for itself. / They come through you but they are not from you.’

    He came through her as much as he comes through me. More, in a lot of ways. So I just decided she needed a more reverent name than ‘birth mother.'”

  • “My own adoption is open. I grew up knowing about it, and it’s such a beautiful thing. As a child, I referred to my biological mom as my Belly Mom and to my adoptive mom as my Heart Mom. When I talk to people about my family now I use Bio/Real Mom and Adoptive Mom. I call them both Mom and introduce them the same way.”
  • “From the day she was born, we’ve called our daughter’s birth mom Momma {First Name}. We asked for her input, and we all agree that until our daughter can choose for herself, that is how we will address her. Other birth family members — grandparents, aunts, uncles — are simply called as such. We have just begun developing a relationship with her first father, and will navigate titles with his preferences as our connection continues to develop. Ultimately, we don’t feel that we (as adoption parents) should be dictating titles. We want to let our child lead when she is able, and we want to encourage the honoring of her first family in every way possible.”
  • “We refer to her as his ‘birth mother.’ In our son’s case, there is no contact and he has only once, two years ago, asked me questions about his adoption. His birth mother’s lawyer was also an adoptive father and gave us excellent advice regarding questions. He said, ‘Answer truthfully, but only say what you absolutely know to be true, and only include in your answer what he has asked. I found that it be very helpful as I saw there could be the tendency to say more than what I know to be true. After all, these are people that gave me the greatest gift of my life. However, they may not be able to live up to how I could paint their picture, based as it is on my gratitude.”
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