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AIBU to think giving birth does not make you a mum

46 replies

Changedtoprotect · 03/10/2018 08:34

Just a bit fed up with the you only get one mum comments and mum knows best
My birth mother left home when I was a child and had little to do with me after
My amazing step mum who has been in my life since I was 9 recently and unexpectedly passed away. My world is broken as she bought me up, was the person who helped with my wedding and who made my dad happy.
Even at this point when I'm so very sad and upset not a word from my birth mother. Nothing.
So giving birth does not make you mum, loving and caring for a child does. Being a positive influence in a life does.

OP posts:
NameChangeCuddleBums · 03/10/2018 08:36

I am so sorry you have lost your Mum and that your birth Mum is so uninvolved. For what it’s worth I think you are right. Flowers for you and your Dad.

Livinglavidal0ca · 03/10/2018 08:36

I think those that give birth to stillborns are definitely mother's. But then they experience that immence love for a child even though they're gone. I understand what you're saying completely and someone who hasn't birthed a child can also feel that immence love. I have a feeling you'll get flamed for this. Sorry for your loss Flowers

SharedLife · 03/10/2018 08:37

I agree.
So sorry for your loss. Flowers

People have said this about fathers for a long time, I think the same applies to mothers.

elQuintoConyo · 03/10/2018 08:38

No flaming from me Flowers
So sorry for your loss x

MoaningSickness · 03/10/2018 08:40

Why does not hearing from your birth mum upset you so much if it's not because she's your mum?

Not all mum's are good - for many reasons, not always their fault.

It's great that you had a stepmum who truly was a fantastic mum to you. I'm so sorry for your loss.

But yes, I'd still say someone who gave birth was a mum, regardless of what happens afterwards.

Red2017 · 03/10/2018 08:42

I completely agree .. my birth mother hasn't been in my life from aged 2... I was raised by my father and from the age of 6 I had a she mum .. she has been in my life ever since and she is my mother

I'm sorry for your loss Flowers

Red2017 · 03/10/2018 08:42


Hidillyho · 03/10/2018 08:45

The person who raises you, who is there for you throughout and loves you unconditionally is your mum. It’s the same for fathers. A lot of the time this will be your birth parents, but not always.

I’m sorry for your loss Flowers

SuchAToDo · 03/10/2018 08:46

Op i agree, motherhood can come in many ways, like you and your step mother, or ladies who become mother's via fostering, or ladies who become mother's through adoption...

And then there are women who can't physically carry a child and become mother's through the selfless generosity of a surrogate

Yes giving birth technically makes you a mother....but as you found out op, it's love that turns a woman into a mum (like your dear step mum)..

Treasure her memory op, she was your mum, she loved you and raised youFlowers

stellabird · 03/10/2018 08:46

I'd agree from my own experience. Two of my grandchildren have a mother who gave birth to them, but has never had any care for them at all. She handed them over to their father ( my son) because , in her words, they would cramp her style.

In their lives she has seen them for one day each fortnight , unless she has something else to do. When she does have them, they either go shopping to watch her buy things for herself, or sit and watch her get her nails / hair / spray tan done. She has never been to their school, or watched them in a competition or concert. She appears to have no feeling for them at all.

I just don't think some people are born with the "parenting gene". This particular person certainly wasn't. I guess she can't help it, but at least she could have made an effort.

Babdoc · 03/10/2018 08:48

If one gives birth, one is automatically a mother, by the dictionary definition. But the continuing act of caring for and loving a child - which is “mothering” - can sometimes be sadly lacking in birth mothers and better performed by adoptive, foster or stepmothers. Or indeed fathers.
My own mother was a toxic narcissist who loved nobody but herself. I was seven years old when I finally realised she didn’t love me, despite my best efforts. It took me decades before managing to go no contact with her, but it was a great relief. My DH’s elderly maiden aunt was my “surrogate” mother, and hugely kind and supportive. I cried when she died- I didn’t for my mother.
I’m so sorry for your loss, OP. You have lost the real, meaningful, mother figure in your life. But you still have years of loving memories, and the blessing of having known her. Grief gets a bit easier to bear as time passes, but love is forever. God bless.

diamondofdoom · 03/10/2018 08:50

I'm so sorry that you had to go through that Thanks I cannot imagine the pain you must feel.

I do agree, giving birth makes you a mother, not a mum. Just as helping to make a child makes someone a father, but not a dad.

iliketomoveitmoveitMOVEIT · 03/10/2018 08:52

For me personally, it should read: “giving birth is not the only way to make you a mum.” There are many wonderful adoptive and step parents who are just as much mums as if they’d given birth.

For your AIBU, of course not. Your mother might have given birth to you, and that’s always going to come with its share of complex feelings if you don’t see her, but your stepmum was your mum and you are just as entitled to grieve as anyone who loses a loved parent Flowers

PositivelyPERF · 03/10/2018 08:57

I agree, 100% OP. Ignore those that have no understanding of the damage it does to a child to have a selfish parent. They’re looking at it from a perspective of ignorance. It takes a lot more than genetics to be a mother. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think the loss of someone who has stepped into the role of a mother and been a loving one, at that, brings up an extra complication of grief. You’v lost the mother that raised you and this has brought home feelings of loss of the woman who ‘should’ have raised you. 💐

CherryPavlova · 03/10/2018 08:57

My niece’s mother is most definitely my sister in law. She hasn’t met her birth mother since a few hours after she was born. My SIL is no less a mother than me.

greendale17 · 03/10/2018 08:58

But is mum just another word for mother? I use mother instead of mum

Chocolatecookiesandmilk2 · 03/10/2018 09:00

@moaningsickness because when something like this happens and the one who birthed you and should love you unconditionally doesn't show any love, it reminds you and it hurts.

People will happily believe you if you tell them your father's a dickhead but so many see mothers as saints for some reason.

Sorry for your loss OPFlowers

AnElderlyLadyOfMediumHeight · 03/10/2018 09:06

Babdoc is spot on about the difference between being a mother and mothering. The act of mothering can make one a mother, in a different way from the act of giving birth.

As an aside, please could we stop referring to stillborn babies as 'stillborns'? I've begun to see it a lot on here and it's quite derogatory and upsetting.

JacquesHammer · 03/10/2018 09:09

If you have given birth you are a mother.

That doesn't mean that you are a good mother - being a good mother is more than simply the act of giving birth.

I'm so sorry you've lost someone so close to you. It sounds like your stepmother was most definitely a wonderful mother to you.

LittleMissedTheSunshine · 03/10/2018 09:14

Being a mum is a whole lot more than just giving birth.

I guess by the dictionary definition of 'mother' thought it would include those that just give birth and do not bring up the child whether through choice or circumstance.

QuizzlyBear · 03/10/2018 09:17

OP, I couldn't agree with you more and I'm so sorry for your loss - though I'm really happy for you that you had someone so special in your life to be your mum. Thanks

My own stepmum took over the job when I was 11 and raised me and my brothers without a thought for herself. I adore her, respect her and 30 years later, she's still one of my very best friends who I meet up with every week - I dread the day when I'll lose her.

I spent years thinking that there was something missing in me for my biological mother not to care or make any effort to see me. It's only having had children myself and knowing that I'd crawl over broken glass to see them that I realised that the 'fault' wasn't with me...

NorthernRunner · 03/10/2018 09:19

It takes so much more than birthing a child to be a good mom.
I’m so sorry for your loss OP Flowers the loss of a parent is so tough. I can recommend the bereavement thread, the folks on there helped me immensely x


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Italiangreyhound · 03/10/2018 09:28

So sorry for your loss. Thanks

Tinty · 03/10/2018 09:30

It sounds like you had a wonderful Mum OP. She was your real mum, and loved you like a Mum should. I'm sorry that you have lost her. Flowers for you and your dad.

eyycarumba · 03/10/2018 09:33

I agree. It really irritates me when people say 'you only have one mom'. My 'mother' was merely a temporary unit for me.
Sorry for your loss.

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