By Suzannah Weiss. Photos: Stocksy.
There are now more ways than ever to start a family, no matter who you are, who your partner is, or how you choose to have kids. Yet somehow, some people still believe you must give birth to be a "real mom." After receiving that very comment over Facebook, one adoptive mother known as vietnamazinggg on Reddit described exactly why she and her wife's experience absolutely counts as motherhood.
"Let me tell you what being a parent is to me," she wrote. "I didn't labor for hours for this child. I labored for YEARS. I waited for years to be told that we had been chosen, that we were finally going to be allowed to be parents. I didn't feel labor pains. I felt the incredible pain of emptiness in my heart and home as my wife and I yearned to begin our family through adoption. I didn't get to wake up in the middle of the night and nurse my sweet child. I did, though, spend many nights lying awake and praying to whomever might be listening to let us be next."
In response to her Facebook critic's claim that she "can't possibly understand that feeling" of maternal love because she started her family through adoption, she pointed out that most moms probably don't understand what she's gone through either. "Not every mother is a mother because she gave birth. Not every child is yours or a 'part of you' because you grew it inside of you," she went on. "My child will always be a part of me, because we're fighting for this life together. TLDR: F*ck you. I'm a mom."
Commenters shared how they respond to remarks invalidating their motherhood. One stepmom wrote that she says, "I parent my child with my brain and my heart. I feed her, provide for her, advise her, love her, and I'm the one there to talk when she is upset. I wasn't aware that my vagina was an important part of our relationship."
Unfortunately, it's not just adoptive moms and stepmoms who get comments like these. One photographer actually refused to shoot a woman's c-section on the grounds that it was "not birth" and she wasn't willing to "give motherhood a go." Of course, as moms like vietnamazinggg prove, whether or how you gave birth has nothing at all to do with how good a parent you are.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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