Mariah MacCarthy

Mariah MacCarthy is a playwright, producer, curator, storyteller, burlesque dabbler, rapper, birth mother, immersive-party-play-maker, and creatrix-of-all-trades. Her work has been featured everywhere from The New York Times to Upworthy. Her solo show about her experience as a birth mother, Baby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People, has been performed all across America.
Recent Articles

Let's Just Talk About The Postpartum Queef

Recently, people have become a lot more open about postpartum sex, and I think that is awesome. I really do. I love that there is a national conversation about sexing after baby-having. I just think that that conversation should include more discussi…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I Made Padsicles To Soothe My Postpartum Vagina & Guys, I'm A Genius

When I gave birth to my son, I pushed for three hours. I had an epidural, and while the doctors lowered the anesthetic considerably so I could feel myself push, everything from my ribs down was just a smorgasbord of blinding pain. I can’t really tell…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I'm A Birth Mother, & Mother's Day Is Tough For Me

My first Mother’s Day after placing my son in an open adoption, a theater friend invited me to see the play she had produced. It was about a teenage boy who gets relentlessly bullied because he’s being raised by a same-sex couple. My son’s adoptive p…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I Pushed For What Seemed Like A Million Hours And It Was The Worst

There was never any question in my mind that I would get an epidural when I had my son. I never saw any reason to put myself through more pain than I absolutely needed to bear, and I have never regretted it. What I didn’t realize, though, was that ep…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I Went Braless For A Week & Here's What Happened

I'm a 38D. Before my pregnancy four years ago, I was a C-cup; once I got knocked up, I became a D-cup and that was the end of that. But here’s the thing: I hate bras. I find it nearly impossible to find one that fits me properly. If I simply must wea…
By Mariah MacCarthy

Why I Always Ask For My Son's Consent Before Hugging Him

It was the day after Thanksgiving. I was visiting my son Leo, the awesome little boy I placed for adoption with a gay couple four years ago. Because I always ask for Leo's consent before I touch him, kiss him, or give him a hug, I asked him, “Can I g…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I'm A Birth Mother And Donald Trump Makes Me Not Want My Own Kids Anymore

When I placed my son in an open adoption four years ago with the gay couple of my dreams, I was certain that he wasn't going to be my last kid. I was dead-set on raising a child of my own after the placement — at least one, but maybe more. Telling my…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I'm A Birth Mother. Please Stop Asking Me If I'm A Surrogate.

When I tell people that I placed my son in an open adoption with a gay couple, by far the number one question I get asked is, “Cool! So, you were a surrogate?” It’s not a question that would bother me if I only got it once or twice, but after gettin…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I Couldn't Breastfeed My Son Before Placing Him For Adoption & I'm OK With It

Before I placed my son for adoption, I was advised to "bond" with him. I was very much on board with this; I was planning on an open adoption, and I also loved him madly before he was even born, so bonding before relinquishing him was a pretty intuit…
By Mariah MacCarthy

Why I Talk So Openly About My Pregnancy Sex Experiences

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I (gasp) remained a sexual being during my pregnancy. I’ve told audiences about it in four different states, and those audiences have, at different times, included my parents and two different former employers. A …
By Mariah MacCarthy

When You're A Birth Mother, There Is Literally No Pregnancy Advice That Acknowledges You

First of all, let’s talk about how hard it is to even find pregnancy advice that acknowledges that single mothers might exist, let alone finding pregnancy advice that acknowledges birth mothers exist. Did you know that freakin' 40 percent of children…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I Had A Meltdown Getting An IUD After Giving Birth

About a year after my son had been conceived, I decided that after giving birth, I needed an IUD. Condoms had come off inside me and broken, and I knew myself too well to believe I could take a pill at the same time every day. I thought that because …
By Mariah MacCarthy

Adopting A Kitten Brought My Birth-Mother Guilt To The Surface

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love my kitten. Her name is Sophie. She's a rescue. She's got rag-doll coloring but is less fluffy and more of a hunter than most rag dolls, so we're not sure what she is. She plays fetch, sleeps on my lap…
By Mariah MacCarthy

This Is What Your Baby Shower Is Like When You're Placing Your Baby For Adoption

I was eight months pregnant in New York City. My friend Anna had told me, “Show up at this intersection tonight wearing something that makes you feel pretty,” and said nothing else. So I knew that a surprise of some sort was coming my way. I hadn’t p…
By Mariah MacCarthy

I Gave Birth Surrounded By My Friends & I Wouldn't Change A Thing

When you’re pregnant with a baby you’re placing for open adoption with a gay couple, you’re already deviating so hard from the traditional motherhood script that you might as well do whatever you want. The day my son was born was no exception. There …
By Mariah MacCarthy

Honestly, I Couldn't Have Given Birth Without My Labor & Delivery Nurse By My Side

My labor and delivery nurse, Vanessa, should be canonized. It's no secret that labor and delivery (L&D) nurses are among the best people there are, but mine in particular deserves sainthood status. I was about to place my son for adoption, but he had…
By Mariah MacCarthy

As A Birth Mom, Sometimes I Feel Like A Fraud

I board the plane wearing my comfiest clothes, which today means Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajama pants and a hoodie. The woman next to me with the small daughter tries to strike up conversation with me: "So, are you a college student?" It bothers …
By Mariah MacCarthy

This Is What It's Like To Visit The Son I Placed For Adoption

This past summer, while I was visiting my son, I discovered that he knows what a "birth mother" is. I wasn't sure that he knew, but it turns out he does. We were filling up water balloons in the park, standing in a long line at a water fountain. I st…
By Mariah MacCarthy

My Doula Was Also A Birth Mother & Her Support Meant Everything To Me

The first time I met Wendy, I got whiplash. She talked a mile a minute with a smile and an energy that could fill up a room. I'd found her through The Doula Project, which I'd found through my adoption agency, which I'd found through Planned Parentho…
By Mariah MacCarthy

My Epidural Was Perfectly "Natural," Thank You Very Much

When the time come to push my child out of my vagina, I got a natural epidural. My natural epidural made of chemicals naturally made my son's day of birth a million times better for me. I was surrounded by healthcare professionals who were naturally …
By Mariah MacCarthy