Venting: The difference between two letters or four letters…

03 Jan


I never thought I would be doing a post on this, and definitely wasn’t going to start the new year with this post – but the trend seems to be getting worse, and someone needs to say something…

Q: How much longer does it take to type four letters instead of two letters?  Go ahead, try it.  What did you find?  Was it excruciatingly harder to type four letters instead of two?  No?  In fact you probably couldn’t even define how much longer it took – could you…

For a while, years, people seemed to understand that they really should take that extra quarter of a second, or even a half second if you are a slow typist – to type four letters instead of two.  Just because others use two letters  – perhaps you have fallen in the bad habit – because everyone does it –  doesn’t make it okay, and you can set the example in your group.  Other people seem to think it is too much effort (I call it lazy) to type out the four letters, and come up with all sorts of excuses to justify using it…if you are one of those who use the two letter abbreviation for “Birth Mother” this post is for you…

Q: Do you understand the two letters typed together form a very common, used for many decades, medical abbreviation for a bodily function?  That every medical chart will have notations about it?  A bodily function that most don’t talk about except with their doctor, and then, only if they are having problems?  Chances are if your little one used the common slang term for it, you would be having a talk with him about not saying that word.  But yet, you using that common two letter abbreviation to refer to his mother – that’s okay?

Q: If you use the two letter abbreviation instead of the four letter abbreviation, would you be okay with it being used for your role in adoption, knowing full well that there are others (like me) that automatically think of the two words the two letters stand for in medicine, when they see those particular two letters used?

Q: Can this just stop now, please….and if you really don’t have time to type four letters instead of two letters, then you don’t have time to read this blog because quite frankly, my mother was not a Bowel Movement, and that is what those two letters mean to me every time I see them.

P.S. seeing as WP allows me to edit comments – from now on I reserve the right that if it shows up in comments I will choose a replacement term to insert in its place…


Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , ,

26 responses to “Venting: The difference between two letters or four letters…

  1. Brent Snavely

    January 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    …well…okay…since I am able to type out they-who-raised-me, she-who-raised-me and he-who-raised-me I suppose I can type out “birth mother” — or better yet, “MOM” 🙂


    • TAO

      January 3, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      I know Brent but it just slays me when I see people do it….doesn’t help that dad was a doctor. You should hear the reasons why it is easier…and people shouldn’t get upset…just sad the lack of respect shown to mothers when that is used.


  2. eagoodlife

    January 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    How hard can it be to not upset people?


    • TAO

      January 3, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      You have to want to not upset people Von…:) seriously, I never thought I would do a post on this but spending a wee bit of time on FB, I was amazed at the amount that do that. Perhaps they aren’t educated but it’s just sad…


  3. Don't We Look Alike?

    January 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    It’s been a rough 2014 over here already (don’t ask) so my brain is a little slow. What is 4 letters? Sorry . . . .
    On another note, my mother first wanted to name my brother Brad Mark, but then she realized that the initials were NOT what she wanted him to have.


    • TAO

      January 3, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Typing Bmom instead of …. that was the shortest version I could think of 🙂

      And your mother was very smart for exactly that reason…


  4. Dannie

    January 3, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Goodness. I heard this EXACT argument but in my breastfeeding forum in regards to breast Milk.


    • TAO

      January 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Which would be just as yucky…hope you use the five letter word…


  5. kellie3

    January 4, 2014 at 1:11 am

    This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves! As someone who used to work in the medical field, it is appalling for me to hear my daughter referred to with this “abbreviation”. I’ve observed several conversations on a adoptive parent/infertility FB page with people using that shortened term. I’ve often wondered if they realize how hypocritical they seem while professing the wonderful relationship they have with their child’s first mom all the while calling her by that shortened two letter term. It’s really difficult to take them seriously. I’ve pointed it out a few times and the response is usually “I don’t understand why you find that offensive” and at the same time professing they don’t like first moms to be called “natural Mom’s” because it suggests they are “unnatural”. UGH!!


    • TAO

      January 4, 2014 at 4:12 am

      Thanks Kellie…spot on.


  6. Snarkurchin

    January 4, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Amen, TAO! How many people have i told “I wouldn’t talk about your mother that way”?


    • TAO

      January 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      You always have a snappy answer – I’m going to borrow that if you don’t mind…


      • Snarkurchin

        January 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

        Please do! They rarely have an answer for it.


  7. artsweet

    January 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    This comes up periodically in a bunch of adoptive parent forums I’m on, and it just blows me away how resistant people are to making the change (“Well, we don’t use that abbreviation in our house, so it’s okay…). It makes me cringe when I see it.


    • TAO

      January 4, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Well now you can link my bitchy post and be done with it and let them pile on that angry adoptee… 🙂


  8. blackout

    January 6, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Thanks TOA, it is indeed offensive. For a while I was on the automatic mailing list of the adoption agency that helped procure my child for her adopters. I have would get emails with the BM abbreviation quite regularly. I finally wrote back and explained to them how it was offensive and why. No response. But the emails stopped. Was it intentional or just lazy, I don’t know. But it certainly was inexcusable. Funny the agencies claim to be all about “positive adoption language” I guess it just not apply to mothers.


    • TAO

      January 6, 2014 at 4:08 am

      That’s just plain old unacceptable behavior Blackout and I am sorry you had to deal with it. So sorry – should never have happened.


  9. Paige Adams Strickland

    January 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    When I see “BM” the silly, sophomoric part of me sniggers like Bevis and Butthead. (he-he-he-he). Agreed, there is only one place for a BM, and it’s not with any of my family members. (well, I have known some people to act like a $h^!, but that’s another story) Anyway, I know it is so easy to trigger people and set them off with words and acronyms. I’m adopted, and I can still potentially offend other adoptees if I don’t guard my words. While using “BM” for birth mother might make me think more about the kid in my 6th grade class who brought in a Polaroid pic of poop and passed it around in secret during LA class, I wouldn’t use it out of respect for any birth family member. It’s just not right.


    • TAO

      January 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Paige – very few words in adoption bother me and I use words that are real and I’m sure I offend many with real words – this just sticks in my craw though – so much disrespect. Read Shadows post and it becomes even more disrespectful…


      • Paige Adams Strickland

        January 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm

        I just saw hers. Yes.
        BTW…Totally off-topic, but I LOVE that grey kitty icon! I have a grey kitty…Looks just like her!


        • TAO

          January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm

          I thought it was cute too – of all the cats that have ruled my home over the years – I have never had a grey one…


  10. clair8y

    January 8, 2014 at 9:59 am

    It’s bad enough to use the two letter abbreviation claiming it takes too much effort (to be decent). But that argument doesn’t hold water when the extra effort is taken to capitalize the two letters.
    I used to be a certified nurse assistant. Typically abbreviated CNA. And then someone started using another abbreviation: ASS. A charge nurse really let fly with a memo that stated in no uncertain terms were her Nursing Assistants to be degraded and disrespected. EVER! That’s the way to give support! She was old old school. She was my hero.


  11. Beth

    January 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    It’s my opinion that when people continue to refer to our mothers with the crappy abbreviation, especially after being given every explanation, in detail, of why it is so hateful and rude – they are exercising their power, their privilege. “I’m better than, so it doesn’t matter what I say.”

    What they need to realize is that their great power is very short lived. That eventually (if not all along)the power shifts and it is up to the Adopted One if the adoption/adopted family is “successful” or “happy” or not.

    And to those that answer, “well we don’t use it in our home, or with our kids”. Uhhh, If you only use it online, around other’s “kids”, What makes you think other’s won’t use it around your kids soon enough!

    We all have mother’s of birth. “Birth mother” doesn’t mean adoption is involved at all. That was exclusive only for a short time when they first made up the term by joining the two words. So really those still using the two letters, are calling every mother who gave birth a diminishing term, including their own. It’s more than just power and privlege that drives it, most often jealousy is a big part.

    I’m shocked that it is a growing trend, good grief, this is one of the oldest discussions/arguments in adoption land.


  12. Robyn C

    January 16, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I wrote my own piece on this; I didn’t realize you had done so too. I do agree with you.

    And I love, love, love Snarkurchin’s reply! I also love the handle “Snarkurchin.”


    • TAO

      January 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks Robyn – and I would love to be able to come up with witty comebacks like she does…



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