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Has anyone had counselling, as an adult, for the loss of parent while a child/baby?

(10 Posts)
ApplesandBananas Sat 29-Aug-09 19:05:10

And did it help? My mother died, suddenly, thirty years ago when I was very young and my sister was a baby. My sister has no memories, I have a few. We've both got young children now, and I think we have sort of felt the loss a bit more recently, as we look at our children and, whereas we'd accepted what happened at the time, now start to think about the implications of the death of a young mother.

We've both got happy marriages, good lives, a lovely step-mum. But we both feel a slight oddness at the 'missing link'. I don't know if I'm being a bit indulgent. But has anyone felt similar? And how did you reconcile those feelings?

mamalovesmojitos Sat 29-Aug-09 21:22:21

no experience - sorry, but couldn't not post. i'm sorry for the loss of your mother, it must've been very difficult for you. i would say it is far from indulgent to miss, and indeed grieve your mother.

hopefully this will bump into active convos and somebody will have more answers but counselling is a space where we can be honest and focus on ourselves in a safe place - i've found it fantastic for other issues, namely an absent father.

best of luck!mlm.

Onlyjoking Sun 30-Aug-09 18:43:05

counselling is never a bad thing, i think as you go throu different life stages you grieve for the things you are missing, the birth of your own child brings up all sorts of feelings.
i dont think its in the least indulgent.

ApplesandBananas Mon 31-Aug-09 14:21:19

Thank you.

What would counselling involve? I've never had any contact with anything like that. My concern about it is that I'm looking for answers - 'what if' sort of questions, and what was my mother really like? - which a counsellor can't answer.

And I am concerned about raking over things without being able to reach any sort of resolution or conclusion. I think my sister is particularly vulnerable to the lack of definite answers, because she's quite a 'black and white' sort of person.

And what are the practicalities of accessing counselling - though a GP? (I think I'd be a bit reluctant to go down a 'formal' medical route, and I know my sister would be) Or are there associations/charities that could help?

It is helpful to get some feedback on here, so thank you for your responses. I'm a regular here but have name-changed as I find this quite difficult to talk about.

edam Mon 31-Aug-09 14:28:46

You are not being indulgent at all. Losing your mother is hard for a fully grown adult, let alone a child.

However, if you want some answers, couldn't you talk to your father or another relative to get some more stories about your mother, as well as having counselling to come to terms with the loss?

ApplesandBananas Mon 31-Aug-09 19:14:26

Edam, I've lost touch with my mother's side of the family although I am in the process of getting in touch with them, and I think that might help.

The only other person I could talk to is my dad, and that isn't really an option, for various reasons - but largely a reluctance to go over what was a very sad time for him. I suppose he's had the time to process it all from an adult's point of view. But he's quite elderly now, so I wouldn't want to upset him, or my step-mother, by bringing it all up.

What do you think counselling could add to a process of making my own enquiries about my past? I'm curious as to how people have found it helped them, as I really don't know anything about it.

I'm quite a closed person - none of my friends know about my background - and I can't imagine sitting down and speaking about all this family history with someone.

I'm wary of getting in to something that might cause more upset, especially for my sister, as I think she finds it harder as she has no memories at all.

edam Mon 31-Aug-09 19:53:24

I had counselling for different reasons - lousy relationship with my father. Hardly an original thought, but it really did feel as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was able to dump all those feelings I'd been dragging around. Even now, best part of 20 years later, I'm far less bothered by him than my sister is - she never had any counselling regarding him and he still has the power to hurt her.

It can actually help to talk to someone outside the family, who is not involved, doesn't bring any baggage or have any preconceived ideas and who you never have to see again once you've achieved whatever your goal is!

Not sure if counselling is the right thing for you - depends whether your feelings about losing your mother are a source of acute distress now, rather than something sad that you can cope with I suppose. Or whether you are more interested in finding out about who your mother was. In which case family is your best bet - are you sure your father wouldn't want to talk? Might well be worth gently asking him.

Hope links with her family develop and are helpful. You could also try other routes, such as looking up any bridesmaids/university friends/etc. you can track down. Alumni associations might be helpful? Or even a letter to the local paper if your father has moved.

Cosmosis Tue 01-Sep-09 15:25:33

Yes, I have. My mum and brother were killed in a car accident when I was 7, and I think it is something I have never really addressed. Becuase of how my family is, we never really discussed them after the accident (sounds similar to your background), so I had some counselling last year to try and work through a few things. It was a big deal for me as we wanted to ttc and I was so scared I didn't know how to be a mum as I don't really remeber mine. I suppose similar to you, you reach a different stage in life and you start to have more questions.

You can find counsellors here www.bacp.co.uk/ and herewww.counselling-directory.org.uk/, I just phoned a few after looking at their websites.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

ApplesandBananas Tue 01-Sep-09 20:18:12

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. I do appreciate the support. I'll look at the links.

I think the 'done thing' thirty years ago was to just move on and hope that children didn't dwell on it - I think children are adaptable and quite accepting, and afterwards I did have a very happy childhood with my dad and step-mum. But I think that has led to more questions for me now I have my own family.

It is comforting to know that my feelings are normal. I'd kept them pretty suppressed until my sister wanted to talk about what happened, and I realised she felt very similar to me. I do feel really emotional about it now, and keep crying for what I haven't got, which feels so odd as I am so happy and contented in my day to day life. I feel quit disorientated by it all being brought up again.

I think I will look into the counselling. I expect it will take me a while to work up to going, I can't get my head around the idea of talking about it all. As I said, I'm nervous of how it will make me feel, I've kept it all tidied away for years.

Cosmosis Thu 03-Sep-09 09:53:54

I think you're right, times have changed and counselling is much more common these days. I know my dad had some counselling at the time through Cruse, but I never did. I am the same as you, I had a very happy childhood in so many ways, and I think that it is really only as I am getting older and thinking about a family of my own that I am starting to realise exactly how much it has affected me.

I was also very nervous, and I'm not going to pretend it was all plain sailing getting the counselling, it was hard, especially as I am a very private person and found the whole thing unbelievably awkward. In fact, I know I stopped going too early really, I should have carried on, but I couldn't really afford it for one thing.

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