Is it the child’s birthday or the mother’s anniversary of giving birth to the child?

Is it socially acceptable to celebrate the mom on a child’s birthday or should the celebrations be limited to celebrating the child? 

Some mothers want to celebrate themselves on their child’s birthday each year. The children to these mothers are expected to celebrate the anniversary of the day that their mom gave birth to them instead of their birthday just being about celebrating their own existence for another year. These mothers expect special attention and appreciation on her “birthing day.” These mother’s are unsatisfied with the child being celebrated alone because she is the reason that the child even has a birthday to celebrate in the first place.

Some families consider this as a normal family tradition. Other families do not believe that a mom should expect to be celebrated with her child because she already has a special day to celebrate giving birth or becoming a mother (“Mother’s Day”).  Each family is free to make that decision. It usually isn’t an issue unless the parents separate and the mother wants to continue to celebrate herself on the child’s birthday.

A “Birthing Anniversary” can become an issue after separation.

For parents after separation, it can become a point of conflict when a mother wants to celebrate herself, her pregnancy and her childbirth on the child’s birthday – especially if it falls during the father’s parenting time. Most fathers can understand the benefit to the child to celebrate their special day with both parents each year. On the other hand, fathers are usually less empathetic when the request is based around the mother’s desire to celebrate herself on the child’s birthday.

“What’s wrong with me wanting to share a meal with my child on the day I gave birth to my child?” 

Yes, you read that correctly.

That statement is probably the most “me-oriented” way that we have heard of a biological mother asking for access to the child on the child’s birthday. The request forgets about the child or the child’s special day, instead focusing only on the mother and the mother’s wants for herself on that day.

What should you take from this?

It’s fine to carry on traditions after separation; however, requests like that must be approached with sensitivity and they should be included in the parenting plan to avoid any disharmony on or around the child’s birthday. The child deserves to be celebrated by both parents on or around their birthday and one parent does not hold more value than the other on the child’s birthday. It’s important to work with an experienced professional to create a parenting plan that allows traditions to continue after separation with the least amount of conflict.

Edmonton Family Network has connections to legal professionals and community support services. Contact us to learn more.

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