The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers

November 2002

The Executive has discussed changing the name of our organization for more than a year. We have decided to change the name to the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers (CCNM). The name in French will be Conseil canadien des mères naturelles (CCMN).

 

Canadian Council of Natural Mothers

 

Here is a summary of the reasons for our decision::
  1. This organization was formed to be a voice for mothers who lost their children to adoption. We believe that, for far too long, our voice has been stifled and co-opted by others who have spoken for us and claimed knowledge of our experience. A very big part of this appropriation of our voice has been naming us as "birth mothers". It's time, long past time, to take charge of defining who we are, describing our experience and naming ourselves. Defining who we are and how we wish to be addressed will empower us and increase our voice.

  2. The term "natural mother" most closely encompasses our collective feeling about ourselves, regardless of how others would prefer to see us defined. It includes those mothers who are searching, those who aren't and those who have reunited with their children.

  3. We recognize that we have been called many things by those who have used language to keep us from our own power. We have been called "fallen women", "unwed mothers", "birth mothers" and more. The law has always used these names since the law reflects and entrenches social attitudes about us, but we have never ever been consulted on how we define ourselves. Social workers, lawyers and legislators have always defined us in their own terms.

  4. All names used in the past, including "birth mother", because they were applied to us without consulting with us, have served to keep us in our place - the place where the social work and legal professions, and the legislators, would have us be.

  5. For years and years the absorption of these legally and socially constructed names have harmed natural mothers. The definitions by others have reinforced our already damaged self-esteem and prevented us from, in many cases, searching for our children and accepting our full motherhood of our lost children.

  6. Many people may object to the terminology which we choose to use. We believe that only we have the moral right to name ourselves. In naming this organization, using "natural mothers", we have not disregarded the feelings of others. We simply cannot be responsible for the insecurities of others involved in adoption. We are not claiming that other mothers are "unnatural"; if they believe that we had intended that conclusion as a corollary to our act in naming ourselves, they are mistaken. In taking the name "natural mother" we are simply assuming our own definition, despite any terminology or adjectives which any other group would impose on us.

© The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers. November 2002, written by Karen Lynn.