Expectant Mother vs. Birth Mother: What’s the Difference?

April 12, 2023

By Adoption Choices of Florida

Expectant Mother vs. Birth Mother: What’s the Difference?

By Erin Jones

No matter who you are or where you come from, adoption in Florida is an available option for you. Whether you’re a birth mother, an adoptive parent, or someone else looking to learn more about adoption, it is important to learn about adoption language. You will soon discover that using positive adoption language is extremely important in the world of adoption. In this blog, Adoption Choices of Florida will discuss the several differences between an expectant mother and a birth mother. It is important for you to note that neither one of these phrases is actually negative adoption language. However, there is a difference between the two, and if you’re stepping into the world of adoption agencies, you should know what that difference is. 

The Difference between an Expectant Mother and a Birth Mother

Expectant Mother

Until her child is born and adopted, a woman placing her child for adoption is neither one of these terms yet. You might not see the phrase “expectant mother” used as frequently as the other phrase on adoption websites. That is likely because women going through an unplanned pregnancy often search for adoption information. As it relates to birth mothers placing a child for adoption, rather than expectant mothers placing a child for adoption. 

But why is that women considering adoption search for adoption-related information for birth mothers when they’re technically expectant mothers? That is an excellent question! Below, Adoption Choices of Florida offers a brief history on the phrase “birth mothers” and its usage. 

Birth Mother

More often than not, you will see the phrase “birth mother” used most commonly on adoption websites. This is because a woman isn’t a birth mother until her child has been officially adopted. So again, why is the usage of “birth mother” so prevalent?

In the world of adoption, the phrase “birth mother” has been in use much longer than the phrase “expectant mother.” In the United States, the first usage of the phrase “birth mother” is credited to American novelist Pearl S. Buck in Women’s Home Companion magazine in 1956. She used the phrase again in her article, “I Am the Better Woman for Having My Two Black Children.” Her article was a self-reflection piece written about her own personal experiences as an adoptive mother and with transracial adoption. She used the phrase “birth mother” to differentiate her children’s biological — or birth! — mothers from herself as the adoptive mother. 

It was also in the 1970s that social worker Marietta Spencer voiced her approval of positive adoption language. She argued for the use of “birth mother” or “birth parent” as positive adoption language. Concerned United Birthparents also contributed to the use of “birth parent” or “birth mother.” They decided that the use of “natural parent” could be upsetting to adoptive parents. They also argued that “biological parent” sounded too impersonal. 

Even with the frequent use of “birth mother” there is still much debate over the use of terms and phrases like “expectant mother,” “biological mother,” and “natural mother” in the world of adoption today. However, when it is all said and done, it is up to those who work in the field of adoption to determine what’s positive adoption language and what is not. For more information on adoption language, please visit our website’s guide to using positive adoption language.  

Using Positive Adoption Language

Now that you have gotten a better understanding of the difference between an expectant mother and a birth mother, hopefully you are interested in learning a little bit more about the adoption process and how to use positive adoption language. Adoption has become much more widely accepted in the United States; however, there is still a negative stigma attached to it. An important part of changing that stigma starts with educating people about adoption and adoption agencies and teaching them how to use positive adoption language, so those who are still unsure about adoption can finally see its true beauty.  

If you are a pregnant woman in Florida considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the adoption process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: (833) 352-3678