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Birth Mother

  • By: Myrl Coulter
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term birth mother simultaneously acknowledges maternity and denies motherhood. A birth mother is a woman who gives birth to a child she then gives up for adoption. Although she is the biological mother, she will not be the child's mother. In societies that engage in collective mothering and regard raising children as the responsibility of a whole community, a phrase like birth mother may not be necessary. In societies that regard raising children as primarily the responsibility of the biological parents, the term birth mother points to what is widely considered an atypical family situation, although it is more common than popular perception recognizes.

Adoptions

In adoption discourse, the phrase birth mother is relatively new, appearing as the rigid secrecy of the older, closed adoption system ...

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