Anyone else a little bugged by the use of "bio-mom" in this forum? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've always thought of the terms "birth mom" and "bio-mom" in terms of a woman who places her child with an adoptive family and relinquishes all her legal rights to that child.

Everytime I read a thread in this forum it bugs me that mothers of children, whether custodial or not, whether liked or disliked, are referred to with this title. If my dd's father ever marries a woman, I would hope that she would respect my place enough to not refer to me in this way. Some might say its for clarity in an online discussion, but if you're a step parent referring to your step children's mother, mom or mother or similiar should be clear. Why the need to label mothers this way? It seems sometimes an attempt to negate or diminish the importance of your step children's mother(s). I am not my child's bio-mom, birth mom or BM (which I've alwyas known as an abbreviation for bowel movement.) I'm her momma, mommy, mom, etc.. Would you ever introduce yourselves as your children's bio-mom?
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#2 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 03:53 PM
 
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I use it, because that is what I choose to use.

I am a birthmother to a child placed for adoption, so, yeah, maybe I feel like I have more of an 'okay' in my own head to use the word for anyone.

But MANY people have told me, ANY woman who has given birth is in actuality a 'birthmother' or 'biomom' (etc), and that it shouldn't be solely used for women who place.

What gets me is, if we're okay with using that term in our home, why should it offend others?

ETA: No, I don't introduce myself as dd's 'bio-mom', but I also don't introduce myself as dss's 'step-mom'. I'm just Jenni
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#3 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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I also want to add, I don't really think I'd be bugged if my ex remarried and they considered me dd's bio-mom. That's their choice, and it's not a lie, or derogatory IMO.

I *AM* her biomom, as well as much more. I mother her daily. (Then again, I generally see the word 'mother' as a verb, not simply an adjective)
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#4 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When you said you use the term in your home, are you referring to this forum as your home or your home with your family? Do you refer to your stepson's mother as his birth mom in front of him? I hope not. It bugs me because I feel that it relegates the mother to a different status than what she actually is.
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#5 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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My SO and I refer to her as 'B' (her first name), just as they refer to me by my first name. As in 'home', I mean when talking to friends, or my family who do not know her etc. He knows his mom's name, and will even refer to his father by his first name when talking to some people. This is something we feel okay with, as again, this is our home.

I'm sorry if you feel it negates anything, but we aren't as uptight about the uise of the word. Again, maybe because I am a birthmother to another child, the word seems much more usable to us... *shrugs* We all seem to understand that the term 'birthmother' isn't rude, mean, or derogatory here...
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#6 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Who's all of us? Because I don't understand it at all. And considering that a whole lot of the discussion about "bio-moms" is negative, its hard to not associate it with being somewhat, well, negative. I'm not really discussing what you do in your home or with your IRL friends. The title of this thread specifically asks about the use of the terms in this forum.

I understand your perspective on it. Mine is different. Its okay that we don't agree.
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#7 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:20 PM
 
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Shonahsmom, what else would you suggest we use?
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#8 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
I understand your perspective on it. Mine is different. Its okay that we don't agree.
And I agree. I totally understand that you believe it's rude, and negates them as mothers.

For us, it's a simple word describing what she is. I mother dss too, so 'mother' doesn't seem to work. She's 'mother' adjective, I'm 'mother' verb...lol So, yeah...lol

I will, however, continue to refer to her here as biomom, because that is what I choose to do, and I choose it as a respecting adult, who is grateful that because of her, I have dss in my life
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#9 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:41 PM
 
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It does seem to me that the term biomom is often used when the woman being referred to is not viewed favorably-- I've noticed that not just here but on other (non MDC) forums. However, it could also be that if a person is motivated to post about a "bio mom" on a message forum, there are problems there to begin with, and the term is not a result of negative feelings, but is just being associated with an already troubled context.

It strikes me as "odd" sometimes but I can't say it offends me. Sometimes it rings of the term "sperm donor" but, it depends on the context. Sometimes it does seem like a necessary, if cold, term for the sake of clarity.
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#10 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg
Shonahsmom, what else would you suggest we use?
My stepkids' mom? DSS's mom? DSD's mom? DSC's mom?
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#11 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
My stepkids' mom? DSS's mom? DSD's mom? DSC's mom?
This doesn't apply to me at all, but I'm wondering, what about the step-children who don't even call their biological mothers' 'mom'? Should we still be forced to call them that, just because it 'bugs' some people on an internet forum?

Again, it doesn't apply to me, but in all hoenstly, sometimes a blanket term is better on a whole, even if not everyone likes it, and even if it doesn't totally apply to everyone...
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#12 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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I use bio-mom in reference to my SD's mother because that is excatlly what she is, their biological mother. I am their stepmother. It helps clarify the situation. In my particular case, she really is JUST the bio-mom, she has not done one thing to raise HER daughters in a positive and constructive manner. I've been doing that. But I am still their STEPMOTHER and always will be. They introduce me that way to their friends and we are all fine with that. They also have used "bio-mom" themselves when talking about the women who gave birth to them so other people understand who is who. They did this on their own. Nobody forced them to.
When other people use" bio-mom", I understand what they are saying, who they are talking about. It makes it very clear about who is who, since we don't know each other IRL.
So no, I am not bugged by it and I probably continue to use it, especially since the origional post did not have any suggestions about any other terms that EVERYBODYELSE HERE AND IN SOCIETY IN GENERAL would be clear on and understand without having to give a long,drawn-out explnation or someother confusing abbreviation.

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#13 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll respond more to this tomorrow. Gotta go get my dd and I don't have internet access at home at the moment.
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#14 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
Would you ever introduce yourselves as your children's bio-mom?
Yes, I would.

DH DS 1996 DS 2000 We are the Mods! We are the Mods! We are, we are, we are the Mods!
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#15 of 79 Old 08-03-2005, 11:04 PM
 
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I've been on a few boards the last several years (mainly step-parent related) and I use certain acronyms simply out of habit. I have FOUR step-daughters. When I refer to them in general (all 4) I'm not going to sit and type out all of them, I simply type "skids". When I refer to their non-custodial mother, I type "NCBM" or "BM".

I don't have much online time, so I try to 'abbreviate' whenever I can...
KWIM?
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#16 of 79 Old 08-04-2005, 10:05 AM
 
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I think I understand your point, Shonahsmom - all these abbreviations can be a bit dehumanizing, and they do create a distance. Sometimes, though, in the context of a forum, particularly when someone really needs to vent and express things freely that perhaps they can't do in their home situation, they may, for themselves, need the power that comes with using a word that creates some distance. I can't personally say that the use of 'biomom' is always inappropriate, since in some circumstances it may be just what someone needs to do.

As stepparents, we're always described with an extra moniker that adds distance and 'otherness.' There's a bit of freedom in coming up with a term that has the same effect respecting biological mothers, I suppose. And it is accurately descriptive, if not exactly endearing, since the woman in question would be a 'biological' mother. Whereas 'step is a bit more mysterious -step up? step down? In my husband's culture, the only word that translates as 'stepmother' means, in exact terms, 'evil mother.' Guess what an uphill battle I've had being accepted by my in-laws?

Sometimes, in fact,"biological mother" is useful as a way to describe a family's living situation - for example, when someone assumes you are your stepchild's mother, based on your interaction with them, I think it would actually be healthier to say "oh, actually her biological mother lives in [city]" as opposed to "no, no, I'm not her mother!" or "no, I'm 'only' her stepmother, not her 'real' mother." It recognizes that there are different ways of mothering and that children can have more than 2 parents - rather than the idea that one will always be the real, unmoderated by adjectives mother, while the other will always be the not-quite, stand-in mother.

Actually, it's a term I tend not to use myself, but it doesn't bother me, for the above reasons.
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#17 of 79 Old 08-04-2005, 12:03 PM
 
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I don't use this term, or stepparent, we just use mom, dad, and papa (no step mom yet). We also don't use half or step sibling. My brother and sister are my brother and sister, I might occasionally clairify that we have different moms, but I rarely use half, and can't imagine I will with the baby I am carring now.

I have to admit I am not even that good at ex , for my ex's parents I usually say my kids grandparents, but I do still say in-laws, and even when I am talking about my ex I will either say his name or if I am telling about something that happened when we were married I just say husband.

But I do use terms like that more on a bulliten board, where it can be so hard to get your point across clearly anyway.
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#18 of 79 Old 08-05-2005, 04:11 AM
 
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I think bio-mom is a simple, descriptive term- I understand that it can feel very loaded, but then I think some of this maybe comes from a misogynistic viewpoint- for instance, a man who relinquishes contact when a relationship fails is criticised but not, IMO, in the same way as a woman is. I have a friend whose children don't live with her and some of the comments I've heard people make are, frankly, unbelievable.
If the situation comes up, I tell people that we're a four-parent family. It kind of overestimates their father's contribution in their lives, but it seems the nicest way of doing it. (they effectively have a stepmum, though their father isn't married yet, but it's a moot point because he makes so little effort to see them.)

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#19 of 79 Old 08-05-2005, 04:36 AM
 
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I guess I never really thought about it much since I don't have stepchildren or adopted children. So it doesn't really bug me much.

I have friends with adopted kids. And my best friend's family is very confusing to figure out without using terms like "step" and "bio" but she's never used them in a negative connotation.

Interesting question, though.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#20 of 79 Old 08-05-2005, 01:08 PM
 
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I understand why it is used, though I do not use it myself. I call my step son's mom, my stepson's mom. I call my ex my children's father, my dp, my children's future stepfather, and my ex's gf, their dad's gf. When and if they marry, I'll call her their stepmom. The only reason I refer to my dp now as their stepdad, is because they children themselves refer to him that way, and because we ar engaged. They refer to my ex's gf by her first name, or as dad's gf.
They are just labels. In the end, it really does not matter what we call each other, and too many people get hung up on it. It only matters that we are all part of our children's lives, you know?
The other night, we were talking at dinner about adoption, as my fiance is adopted. His son said, 'Has my dad ever wanted to meet his "real" mom?"
I answered him "Your gram is his "real" mom. She is the only mom he has ever known."
I understand then, when there has to be a clarification between birthmother/mother, but it still feels disrespectful to my dp's mom to refer to her as anything other than his real mom.
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#21 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 03:52 AM
 
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[QUOTE=mammastar2]

As step

Sometimes, in fact,"biological mother" is useful as a way to describe a family's living situation - for example, when someone assumes you are your stepchild's mother, based on your interaction with them, I think it would actually be healthier to say "oh, actually her biological mother lives in [city]" as opposed to "no, no, I'm not her mother!" or "no, I'm 'only' her stepmother, not her 'real' mother." It recognizes that there are different ways of mothering and that children can have more than 2 parents - rather than the idea that one will always be the real, unmoderated by adjectives mother, while the other will always be the not-quite, stand-in mother.

QUOTE]
This term does get used in my real life all the time. I am the one who lives with the child, takes him everywhere, talks to teachers, etc. so often I hear the teacher/doctor, etc. ask me questions about the biological mother. They use that term. I guess they could say "real mom" but that seems rude, implying that I am not real. I guess my issue with just calling her his mom is that it means that I am not his mom, though he lives with me, I am raising him, etc. I think we each get our own titles (step and bio) and we share the mom part. He seems to agree since he feels the need to make each of us presents on mothers day. Dss call us his stepmom and his regular mom. I have heard the bio mom introduce herself to teachers as the biological mom to clarify since they sometimes assume I am and she knows this.

You are probably right that there is some negative feelings invovled in the term because it is probably used when the biological mother is not soley doing the mothering, someone else is. I don't find the term offiensive. I am a stepmom and a biological mom, I don't use the word to describe myself because my bioson has no other mom so there has never been any need for clarity. But, I just noticed that I do use the term bioson when talking about my two kids so no, I don't think 'bio' has to be offensive.
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#22 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 12:13 PM
 
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So I asked what the OP would suggest we use instead...

Quote:
My stepkids' mom? DSS's mom? DSD's mom? DSC's mom?
I should first say, that this is what I say IRL. To teachers and school staff, I refer to myself as stepmom and his mom as his mom. Period. I call myself step because there are legal issues sometimes that I am not supposed to handle or have a say in, and I want to be upfront... and well, I'm NOT his mom! But then when I speak with my stepson, I refer to myself as "one of his parents", not his "stepmom" (most of the time anyway) because I think STEPmom is loaded! And I don't want him to think I'm pusing to try to replace his mom (who he sees regularly and they have a very good r-ship), and "parent" seems less intrusive.

So I understand all the feelings about loaded words and there are different words I use in different situations. It is only on the internet that I use biomom and even that might be out of habit, becasue I was on a stepparenting list a long time ago and biomom was the term of choice there, too. I think it streamlines communication when most people use similar terms when on the internet. And I also think we all need to know that whatever we write here, no one reading will ever understand the full picture, and they will always apply their own sensibilities to whatever loaded words we post. And to try to edit ourselves as a means to avoiding that is futile.

But this OP did get me thinking about it. And you know what I realized? There are LOTS of terms I use online that I never use IRL.
AF - I've never referrred to my period as AF IRL, but I do online, becuase I know there is a shared understanding of what that means.
BD - I never use babydance IRL, but I've used it here and I see it here a lot!
DH - Okay, now... who really refers to their husband as "dear husband" IRL??? :LOL Maybe now and again out of affection, but every time you say it? I think not?
So anyway, the net is full of weird abbreviations and I don't think anyone should make too much out of it. It's just symantics, IMO.
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#23 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 12:45 PM
 
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I call myself a birthmom and I do distinguish between my two fathers so people know who I mean (biodad, stepdad). I never distinguish between my one full sibling and three half siblings. Dh has done that before and it took me a second to even figure out what he meant. But I call both my fathers dad. I never refer to them as my biodad and stepdad in a familial context I only do it for clairity when speaking to others. I do see how biomom can be a loaded word so I get what the OP is saying. Many times it does seem to have a bit of derrogatory context like sperm donor as someone else mentioned. I would be very upset if Dh and I divorced and he remarried and my kids' stepmom referred to me as their biomom but of course I can't think of a circumstance where I would not be their primary parent. I can understand it in the context where the biological mother basically has given up a place in their lives but otherwise yeah it can seem loaded.
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#24 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 04:37 PM
 
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this thread got me thinking....how would I feel if my ds smom referred to me as bio mom? I wouldnt care. Thats what I am. I'm his biomom. Now, if she was saying something like, "your biomom is such a witch" the problem really would be with the witch part and not the bio part, right? I'm very comfortable with who I am as his mom. It really doesnt matter what other people call me.

I agree with mamameg on a few things. First, I too use many abbreviations here that I dont use IRL. IRL with my skids, they are my kids. Plain and simple. I have 6 kids. Not bio or step. IRL my kids have many parents. some of my kids have a mom and dad; some of my kids have a dad and 2 moms and the other kids have 2 moms and 2 dads. Heres a common phrase you'll hear in our house, "sam, go give this to mom before you go to your moms" :LOL confusing no?

Second thing, STEPmom is by far a more "loaded" term than biomom. Many people may connect biomom with a birth mother who gave up their child for adoption (which ends up being a bit confusing) but step mother is usually connected with cinderella.

Just a question, if there were a few threads venting about stepmothers, would people still be upset? My guess is no.

Anyhoo, I use biomom and will continue to do so on this board because I use it without any ill will (as I'm sure many other people do). That and I usually dont have alot of time to type out the whole long explanation of my family life:LOL
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#25 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 04:43 PM
 
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Oh! I wanted to add that IRL I refer to both the bio and step moms in my kids life as the other moms. 'Cause thats who they are - their other moms.

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#26 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 06:22 PM
 
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Honestly, I'm offended by the term step-monster, which I've seen more than once.
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#27 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 06:31 PM
 
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When I use the term birth-mom it is with the greatest respect. I like it better than using my dd's birth-mother's name. It doesn't sound as loving to use her first name when discussing her. She's not just Sue (not her real name) she is the actual mother who birthed this child.
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#28 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 06:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djs_girl517
Honestly, I'm offended by the term step-monster, which I've seen more than once.
Yes, I agree with this one. This is a horrible term, and people use this out of anger, hate, and to 'negate' what step-mothers do.

Biomother, or birthmother, is almost never (I won't say 'never', cause I would suppose som do), used out of hate, but simply to state what a person ACTUALLY is (a BIRTH or BIO mother).

Now, I don't recall looking in the mirror and seeing a monster starting back at me..lol I see a mother, birth, step, whatever... Like I said before, I'm mother, the verb.. I do the act of mothering, to a child who's biomom did the act of giving birth
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#29 of 79 Old 08-06-2005, 06:39 PM
 
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When I refer to SS's mom as "bio mom," I'm not using it in a derogatory sense. It's just for clarity. I wouldn't be offended in the least if my bio kids' stepmom referred to me as their bio mom. What's ironic, though, is I'm pretty sure that SS's bio mom WOULD be offended if she knew I use this term, even though I use it only online. IRL, I refer to her as "Spencer's mom." More than anything, I think that shows the difference in the two relationships. I get along great with my bio kids' step mom. SS's mom and I, though, well, to be diplomatic, we don't much care for each other. We're polite and business-like with each other, which is I guess the best we're ever gonna get.

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#30 of 79 Old 08-09-2005, 12:39 AM
 
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Using the "BM" or "NCBM" here in my posts is ALOT nicer than how she is referred to IRL... :LOL
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