What Should I Call My Birth Mother?

What should I call my birth mother? It’s a common question for adult adoptees.

You’ve tracked down your biological mom. Now, assuming she wants to meet with you, you’re going to connect with her for the first time.

You’ve got to call her something. Should you call her “Mom”? Or would that be too presumptuous?

Should you call her by her first name? Or would that be too insensitive?

Fear not: this article will guide you through how to approach your first conversation with your birth mom. You’ll also hear how our co-founder, Jenny Wallentine, navigated the issue of what to call her birth mother.

What Should I Call My Birth Mother Quicklinks

Find birth parents - Jenny Wallentine, Origins Genealogy co-founder and adult adoptee herself

Jenny's Story: I Called Her "Mom"

A product of closed adoption, our co-founder Jenny Wallentine spent years tracking down her birth mother.

Once she found her birth mom, Jenny needed to figure out what to call her.

Jenny’s Sequence of Events

Here’s how it played out:

  1. Jenny’s adoptive mom dies of cancer. On her deathbed, she makes Jenny promise to find her biological parents. Jenny is 17.
  2. After years of searching, Jenny finally identifies her biological mom. Her name is Peggy.
  3. Jenny uses a trusted friend as an intermediary. The friend calls Peggy to broach the topic of Jenny, and to sound out Peggy’s willingness to meet her daughter. Jenny listens on the line.
  4. Peggy can’t talk long, as she doesn’t want family members to overhear—Jenny is a secret she hasn’t told her family about—but she promises to call Jenny and takes down Jenny’s number.
  5. Jenny waits for Peggy’s phone call, wondering what she should call Peggy: “Peggy,”? “Mom,”? “Mother”?
  6. After four agonizing days, Peggy calls. Jenny answers and says, “Hello, Mom.” Jenny recalls that “it just came out that way, and it felt totally right.”
  7. Later, Peggy tells Jenny how glad she was to hear Jenny call her “Mom.” 

Jenny Trusted Her Intuition and It Worked

The take-away from Jenny’s experience is not that you should absolutely call your birth mother “Mom.” Rather, the lesson is that you can use your intuition to guide you to the appropriate term.

Factors to Consider in Deciding What to Call Your Birth Mother

Many adopted children wonder, as they become adults, what they should call the woman who birthed them.

The question of terminology becomes more acute when you begin a discussion with your adopted parents on the subject.

Trust your feelings, and talk openly with your family about your process.

Your Adoptive Mom May Influence Your Choice of Terms

Your relationship with your adoptive mother may influence your choice of title for your original mom.

For example, if you and your adopted mom are very close and you call her “Mom,” you may feel uncomfortable calling your birth mom “Mom” also. Then again, you may not.

Bottom line: you have a lot of choices, and your terminology may change as your relationship to your bio mom changes. There’s no right or wrong.

Terms You Might Choose From to Refer to Your Birth Mom

Possible titles and terms you could use to refer to your biological mother include:

Mother and daughter reunited—What should I call my birth mom

  • Her name (e.g., Susan)
  • Birth mother
  • Birth mom
  • Biological mother
  • Biological mom
  • Bio mom 
  • Bio mother
  • First mom
  • First mother
  • Original mom
  • Original mother
  • She who gave me life
  • Tummy mom
  • Tummy mother
  • Mommy [first name], e.g., Mommy Susan
  • Mom
  • Mommy
  • Mother

Ultimately, the Relationship Matters More

The topic of what to call your birth mother can loom large in your mind. 

Keep in mind, however, that the act of meeting her is more important. 

You are finally meeting the woman who gave you life. With any luck, you might have a good relationship with her for the rest of her life. 

What you call her matters far less than the quality of the relationship you build with your first mother.

If the relationship is warm and the two of you share a close connection, anything you call her will be just fine.

If the relationship is strained, it will be strained no matter how you refer to her.

We’re Here for You if You Need Us

If you need help finding your birth mom, Origins Genealogy can help. We are a genetic genealogy company specializing in finding birth parents and other biological family members, and our primary clientele is adult adoptees from closed adoptions.

If you’ve identified your birth mother and are petrified of contacting her, Origins can assist with that.

Similarly to how Jenny had a trusted friend make contact with Peggy, Origins can make the initial contact with your biological mom on your behalf.

In a caring and professional manner, we can reassure her of your good intentions. We can also prove to her that you are her biological child (many birth parents fear an impersonator trying to scam them).

If you’d like Origins to help with finding your mom, or with an introduction, please call 801-500-0900 today to speak with Jenny Wallentine.

About Origins Genealogy

Origins Genealogy is a professional genetic genealogy company. We help clients around the world connect with their biological family and their genetic heritage. Here are a few of our services:

If involves your biological relatives and a mission to find someone and introduce them into your life, it’s a job for Origins Genealogy!

Genetic Genealogy Resources

Need Help Connecting With Your Birth Mom? Contact Us Today!


Liaison For Adoptee and Birth Family

As an adoptee, it is not always easy to reach out to your birth parent. It can be quite a shock for those receiving the call. After Origins has identified who the birth parents/family are, we can make the initial contact for you. As a neutral party, we can smooth the way for the first contact by crafting introduction letters, gathering photos to send, providing the research, and answering questions to assure the information is accurate. This provides a comfortable and safe environment for all parties that generally leads to a much smoother transition to getting to know each other.

Origins Travel Tour

There’s no place like home. Now that you know your heritage, why not go home for a visit. Origins offers both personalized ancestral tours for those who want a more custom trip and heritage tours for those who enjoy a planned itinerary.