Mother’s Day: A day when hardworking moms get breakfast in bed, flowers and gifts, and a day full of what they want to do. But, for thousands of families across the U.S., Mother’s Day is a bit complicated — because there’s no mother to celebrate.
Male fathers who have used surrogacy know that their child having a mother is in no way more important than having two loving, doting parents who happen to be men. But, when schools and society make such a big deal about Mother’s Day, it’s normal to not know how to approach this topic with their kid.
In most cases, children of two gay dads don’t overthink this holiday as much as their parents do. They accept the roles their fathers play in their lives and don’t feel left out on Mother’s Day.
However, if you’re a gay father concerned about how to address this subject with your child, find some guidance below.
Addressing the Role of an Egg Donor in Your Child’s Life
It makes sense for you to consider your child’s egg donor — their biological mother — when the second weekend of May comes around. After all, this woman is your child’s “mother” in a certain sense, even if she is not involved in their life in the way that a live-in mother would be.
If your child approaches you about celebrating his or her biological mom on Mother’s Day, don’t take it as a sign that you and your partner (if applicable) are not enough for him or her. All children are curious about their biological parents, whether they are born through an egg donation or they have a birth mother through adoption. Mother’s Day can be a great opportunity to open up a conversation about your child’s egg donor that may not have been there before.
You’ll want to always have your child’s egg donor be an open topic of conversation but especially on Mother’s Day, when your child may question why they don’t have a mother of their own to celebrate. If your egg donor is known, suggest that your child write her a card on this holiday — not so much a “Mother’s Day” card as an “Egg Donor’s Day” card. That way, your child can feel included in the holiday even if he or she doesn’t have a mother to celebrate.
To Involve or Not to Involve The Surrogate?
Similarly, many gay male couples use Mother’s Day as a way to celebrate their child’s surrogate. Some even decide to make it “Surrogate’s Day” instead.
However, when doing this, you will want to clarify that your child’s surrogate is no way their mother. Explain that, yes, other children may be brought into the world by their mother, but just because a surrogate gave birth to them does not create the same relationship. If you have properly explained your child’s surrogacy story, this will come as no surprise to them — but don’t be surprised if they ask more questions around Mother’s Day, especially if they are younger.
This can also be a great opportunity for your child to develop a relationship with their surrogate, if both parties are comfortable doing so. You might consider visiting your surrogate on Mother’s Day, or help your child create a card or letter for her, expressing their appreciation and how much her decision means to your family.
You also have the right to not involve your surrogate as you feel comfortable. However, even if you don’t make Mother’s Day completely about your surrogate, teaching your child empathy and appreciation by acknowledging her on this day is important.
How to Involve Your Child in Mother’s Day Celebrations
Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal in a household with two fathers. The amount to which these kinds of families celebrate this day varies greatly; some deem this day another Father’s Day, while some don’t acknowledge it at all.
However, whatever you choose for your own household, recognize that your child will likely complete Mother’s Day activities at school and at other activities. It can be awkward for them to not be involved in these arts and crafts, so make sure to inform your child’s teachers about their situation prior to these activities and suggest alternatives for your child.
One of the most popular paths gay fathers take? Using Mother’s Day to celebrate the women in their child’s life who play an important maternal role.
Instead of ignoring Mother’s Day, use it as an opportunity to appreciate women like your child’s grandmother, aunts, close family friends and more. Suggest that your child create cards and put together small gifts for these women instead of focusing on the “mother” aspect of the day. Consider taking any childless women who play a role in your child’s life out to a nice meal or spend some quality time with them. They will appreciate it, and your child won’t feel left out of the Mother’s Day activities.
More than anything else, don’t stress about Mother’s Day if you are a gay dad. It can be tempting to overthink a holiday that has such significance in society today, but know that the lack of a mother has not been proven to harm a child. With proper foresight and preparation, you can create a Mother’s Day for your child that is meaningful and that works best for your family.