My Act of Motherhood: I kiss you good-bye. And then I cry.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’ve never celebrated Mother’s Day as a mother. However, this weekend I will take the stage in St. Louis, Missouri, and tell my story of being a mother. I will begin by talking about the yellow outfit I dressed my baby boy in for his trip home from the hospital. I will talk about how the social worker came to the hospital to take him home—to a foster home, with a foster mom. Recalling that day, I say to my son,

“I kiss you good-bye. And then I cry.”

I was 19 years old, a college student, and unmarried. The year was 1982—the era of Reagan’s attack upon the Welfare Queen. This was long before the days of “Murphy Brown” and Miranda of “Sex and the City.” Being a single mother in 1982 was neither a popular option nor a lifestyle choice likely to garner much support.

Still, I loved my son more than I ever thought possible. And more than anything else in life, I wanted to be his mother. After a very heartbreaking struggle to try to keep him, I finally gave him up for adoption. Another woman raised him as her own. As he was growing up, when he celebrated Mother’s Day, it was this woman—faceless and nameless to me—who received his hugs, kisses and cards on this special day.

Thirty-two years have passed. While there is so much more to this story of me and my son, for now I just want to write about this particular Mother’s Day, when I will claim my motherhood to an audience that will span from the auditorium at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri to the global audience of You Tube. I titled my story, “Mothering You, My Son” because I believe that giving him up for adoption was an act of motherhood. And I thank the courageous and creative women of “Listen to Your Mother” for also recognizing it as an act of motherhood, and inviting me to be a part of their show.*

These 32 years have given me the luxury of perspective. It has also allowed the story to unfold. My son is now 31, married and a father. On this Mother’s Day, I will send his wife a card wishing her a day full of hugs and kisses and Mimosas. And my heart will sing with happiness as I think of their little girl, my granddaughter. I will also feel deep gratitude as I think of his adoptive mother—a generous-hearted woman whose own act of motherhood enabled him to become the very fine person he is, and enabled me to continue to mature from the girl I was into the woman I am today: a birthmother who can get up on stage and tell her story of motherhood.


*Special thanks to the Co-Directors and Co-Producers of Listen to Your Mother – St. Louis:

Naomi Francis

Ellie S. Grossman

Laura Edwards Ray







About AnnB

On the precipice of turning 50 and then some.
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15 Responses to My Act of Motherhood: I kiss you good-bye. And then I cry.

  1. Arch Mama says:

    I did some adoption work as a hospital social worker prior to hitting the pause button on my career after my first child’s birth. It was my experience that my patients–whether they made their adoption plan before admission or during–made their plans with introspection, care and love. All that to say that I deeply agree with you that an adoption plan is an act of motherhood. Oh, yes, very, very much.

    Your story is so beautifully articulated, Ann, and I am moved every time I hear your words. I am honored to share the stage with you this weekend.

    • AnnB says:

      Your words are so very comforting and validating. Thank you. I deeply appreciate how the Listen to Your Mother Show creates a stage for such a diverse array of motherhood stories.

      And I carry the same feelings about your story. (And now that I know about your work background I appreciate your sense of “privilege” all the more!) I, too, am honored to be sharing the stage with you. Saturday promises to be one of those days we’ll remember for a very long time.

      And an aside: Thanks for the inspiration to return to blogging! Your own blog is full of beautiful, poignant stories, and I can’t wait to read more!

  2. lauraray1 says:

    Ann, You truly are an amazing person. Elllie, Naomi, and I were truly blown away by your story, your courage, and your love. I feel like you are my new BFF, and am so damn proud that you are a part of Listen to Your Mother-St. Louis FOREVER! Can’t wait for Saturday!!!!!!

    • AnnB says:

      Dear Laura, Your words make me SO happy! You and Ellie and Naomi have been such a beautiful example of courage, support and collaboration. You truly empower all of us. Thank you!!!

  3. This was a beautiful blog about your journey from writing your story to reading it on stage this Saturday. Your story of motherhood is also a beautiful story that needs to be shared. I’m so proud to have met you and share this experience of Listen To Your Mother with you!

    • AnnB says:

      Dear Naomi, Thank you so very much for your kind words. You, Ellie and Laura have been a huge inspiration to me. Looking forward to Saturday’s performance!!

  4. Lindy says:

    I am so excited for you. I too am a birthmom and just launched a kickstarter project to create a book documenting the voices of other birthmoms. I’m very excited about it. I’d love to send you the link if you would like to see it. Good luck Saturday and have a blast. Yours, Lindy

    • AnnB says:

      Dear Lindy, Wow… thank you so much for your comment. Yes, please send the link. For far too long birthmothers have been the silent part of the adoption triad. It’s important that our stories be told. Are you familiar with Ann Fessler’s book, The Girls Who Went Away? You have my utmost respect.

      • Lindy says:

        Yup, I’ve read a lot of stuff to get ready for this. Pretty amazing. I’ve also heard from a lot of women who have participated in books and movies.
        So your performance on Sat. is a reading of your writing or a play?

      • AnnB says:

        It’s a reading. I attempt to capture the story from birth to the present, in 8 minutes! It will be recorded and then posted on You Tube.

  5. Lindy says:

    it’s not letting me send you the link so if you go to and search Lindy Whiton you will see the video. Can I have an e mail address or are you on fb?

  6. Sioux says:

    Ann–Of course you are a mother. You made a selfless decision–one that broke your heart–but now you and your biological son are lucky enough to be able to get to know each other. He is a fortunate guy to have had you give him his start in life.

    After the show today, a woman who is an adoptee came and spoke to me. She has found her birth mother and birth father–they were high school sweethearts–but neither one will say it aloud or admit it. (They each have families, and I guess they are worried about them.) However, the father shared his “girlfriend’s” health history.

    I told the woman it is her birth parents’ loss.

    Each of the women who shared their story today are fierce. Each spoke of their courage. Christy was brave facing the possible death of her baby daughter. Stacey was brave for going after her dream, even though she knew she’d be doing it alone. Deb channeled fierceness when she was telling off Shane’s church after he came out. You are no exception, Ann.

  7. Sioux says:

    Ann–I did a guest post at The Muffin. It’s about something that happened after the LTYM show. Here is the link:

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