Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother

What makes a mother a mom?  I can honestly say that it really has nothing to do with biology.  Some people may disagree but let me explain where I come from with this opinion.

When I was a kid, I had a vision of adopting kids and having a big family.  Somehow I knew that I would not be able to do this all on my own.  That feeling proved to be true as I got older.

At the tender age of 18 I gave birth to a beautiful son whom I planned from the beginning.  It seemed so story book and perfect until that moment when I realized that I was going to be a mother at midnight when he was crying, I would be a mother when he filled his diaper and brand new outfit,  I would be a mother when I was exhausted and needed a nap.

“Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.”  ~ Erma Bombeck

Being a mother was exhausting work and the reality soon set in that I was going to be in this for the long haul.  I loved him with all of my heart and gave him the best that a young, inexperienced mother could give.  He was the guinea pig.  Luckily kids are resilient and seem to have a few guardian angels always looking out for them.  I spent ten wonderful years being a mom to my son when the opportunity to be a mother came to me again.  This time it was different.  The beautiful little girl joining my family would come through adoption.  The very young mother could not provide a stable home for the little girl that she was bringing into the world so she courageously and lovingly chose to give her to a family that could provide love and stability.  I will always be thankful for that young mother because she gave me the most precious gift.

Time went on and I doted on my two wonderful children.  A son and a daughter.  However, a long time ago I had asked for a family full of kids.  I had forgotten this as time went on.  Life started to get complicated and my world began to fall apart.  The awakening was beginning as my marriage was falling apart.  It was a long process and I’ll save you details.  What is most important is that my children were the highlight of my life and they gave me a reason to get up every morning and face the world.  I continued to move forward (even though there were times I felt I was moving backwards).  I questioned my mothering credentials as I dragged them through some very perilous times.  I felt like a complete failure at times but I always loved my children.

My oldest joined the Army and then it was just me and my little girl.  Life became more settled.  I made peace with the fact that I would never give birth to another child and that having a large family was just not in cards for me.

Then it happened.  I met a man who had custody of his children…two children!  Before I knew it we were married and raising three children together.  I just received the gift of two more children!  They didn’t come from my loins but my heart opened wide and I became the Mama Bear and they were (and still are) my cubs.  The blending of our families has been a journey in itself.  It has been a most interesting and deeply gratifying journey.  Looking back, my imagination could never begin to create the steps that I would have to take in life to get my big family.  Yet every step I have taken have led me to something more wonderful in life.  Now I can say that I Am a mom who has given birth, who has adopted, who has become the Extra Mom.  With each child I have a unique relationship.  With some children I share the role of parenting with a father and another mom, with another I keep a journal so that one day the birth mother can read about the memories of a child I hold so dear to my heart.  With one child I share the experience of giving birth, yet they are all my babies.

I know that I Am a better mother now than I was at 18…sorry Brandon.  My intentions have always been to be the best mom that I can be and honestly I can say that even with all my imperfections, I have done my personal best.

3 Comments on “Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother

  1. Pingback: Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother | Kids say :

  2. I would add another category of mother – the one that is not biological but loves you just like you were there own. Maybe that is what you were describing as the Extra Mom. I have had such a woman come into my life in my adult years. And it has been such a blessing. She has helped me with my own children and my marriage. I hope I can extend my heart to others as she has to me.
    I have 2 children of my own and can also relate to the trial and error process with the first child. One of the areas I screwed up in was his dental health. Sounds trivial I know, but I just hate that he might have cavities. He’s 4 and has yet to go to the dentist. I also have a 9 week old and have learned from this Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth ( that I should have been wiping my oldest son’s gums after feedings. This guide is going to be a great resource this 2nd time around…


    • Extra Mom, Adoptive Mom and Birth Mom…I am all of these things. It is such a balance sometimes to be respectful of the other parents in their lives, yet have the closeness and bonding that I love. Thank you for sharing the positive relationship with the special woman who is in your life.

      p.s. Don’t sweat the small stuff 😉


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