What is the Difference between an Expectant Mother/Pregnant Woman and Birth Mother?

There are a lot of new and confusing terms that can be brought up in conversations about adoption and your adoption plan. You may hear or read the terms birth mother and expectant mother often. Though the two are related, they aren’t interchangeable. 

So, what is the difference between expectant mother/pregnant woman and birth mother? That’s a great question! Adoption Choices of New York is here to provide the answer for you. To put it simply, in terms of adoption, it’s the step of the adoption process that you’re in. Now let’s dive into what that actually looks like.

What Does it Mean to be a Birth Mother?

“Birth mother” is a term used for women who are in the adoption process. This could mean she has already placed her baby with the adoptive parents or she has begun the process of adoption. Referring to women who are placing their child up for adoption as “birth mother” keeps the connection between child and mother. After all, just because a woman has chosen to place her child does not make her any less of a mother. Placing a child up for adoption is an incredibly selfless act. Birth mothers are just as loving, caring and dedicated as any other mother out there. 

What is an Expectant Mother/Pregnant Woman in terms of the Adoption Process?

Expectant mothers are women who are pregnant and considering placing the child for adoption. This term is for women who have yet to start the process of adoption, but are looking into it. Choosing adoption can be hard, and there’s nothing wrong with getting all the information you can before making this decision. 

Why do the Terms Change in the Adoption Process?

Birth mothers have already decided they are placing their child, but their importance in the adoption process and their child’s life is not over. Keeping the relationship and word “mother” in the title honors the love and dedication birth mothers have for their child. Even if a birth mother chooses a closed adoption, the relationship still lasts a lifetime in her heart.

The adoption process is a multifaceted journey in which the birth mother is in charge of all aspects. She is making the tough, but necessary, decisions in order to do what is best for her child’s future. That is exactly what a mother is supposed to do. The title, “birth mother,” also differentiates between the adoptive parents and the biological mother. It allows both parties to be seen as equal parents in the child’s life, but acknowledges that each party plays different roles. 

Will the Term “Birth Mother” Confuse the Child Later On?

The relationship a birth mother has between her child and the adoptive parents is going to differ from case to case. It is up to the birth mother to decide what type of adoption and communication she wants to have with the child, if any. Using the term, “birth mother,” during communication from either the birth mother or adoptive family should not confuse the child, if explained in a way he or she can understand. Open or semi-open adoptions can allow the birth mother to share her story and the adoption story with their child, and can refer to herself as the birth mother without dismantling the adoptive parents’ role. 

Why Keep the Terms Separate with Adoption?

Expectant mothers and pregnant women have not fully decided on adoption yet. The information given to them, or for them, should be different than what is out there to help birth mothers. Making the choice to give a child up for adoption looks different for everyone, and it’s important to distinguish the two roles as they are different but imperative moments in a pregnant woman’s life. Both equally important, but the mindset is different. We want to ensure pregnant women feel seen and heard too, not just birth mothers! Support is what is needed the most through all steps of the pregnancy and adoption journey — from consideration to adoption and beyond. 

When do You Become a Birth Mother in the Adoption Process?

The core answer to, what is the difference between an expectant mother/pregnant woman and birth mother? is where you’re at in the adoption process. The moment you decide it is in your child’s best interest to be placed, you are a birth mother. Of course, you’re still a pregnant woman too! These are the terms that are used when speaking about the adoption process during and after placement. 

Being a birth mother is a beautiful badge of honor. You’re bringing a new little life into the world and choosing what is best for him or her. Adoption is not the absence of love or care. It is the physical action of putting your child first to ensure they have a wonderful life. 

Adoption Choices of New York is available to assist with your adoption plan. Call us, text us, email us; we are here for you!
Contact Us 24/7: 800-505-8592 (Phone) | 518-478-8420 | Click to Email

Meet the Author: Amanda Rodgers is an experienced, versatile writer, well-versed in blog posts, SEO and keywords. She is also a self-motivated freelance professional with experience in writing a myriad of subjects, such as women’s rights and LGBT issues. In everything she does, she brings her client’s ideas to fruition while not only keeping their individual voice intact, but also adhering to their values and overall mission. 

Amanda creates a lasting impression with audiences through creative writing to ensure that her message — and the vision of her clients — is clearly conveyed and felt. 


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