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Parentless parents

(51 Posts)
Adeona Thu 25-Oct-12 16:09:06

Hi everyone. I am new to this website so apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong section.

Just wondering if there are any mums and dads here who lost one or both parents either to death or for other reasons.

I lost my dad when I was 14 which had quite a big impact on my life but my mum did all she can to ensure I didn't suffer emotionally, financially etc. I got married 12 years ago and my husband has always been reluctant to having kids. Initially I wasn't sure if I wanted kids but as the years went by my biological clock was really ticking and I was desperate for a child, not only to overcome the loneliness I left (hubby and I are both from another country) but also to grant mum her only wish of seeing my own kids. Eventlly, 8 years later my husband finally agreed to and we started trying but it took us a long time to conceive. During that time, my mum fell ill and died, the same day I found out I was pregnant. Having a child whilst grieving was the hardest thing I had to go through and although time heels as they say, I still think of my mum every day and feel terribly sad that she didn't get to see my son and that he will never meet her. We don't have any family where we live and the few friends I have all have at least one parent alive. Although they are lovely, sometimes they tend to ignore this fact and get carried away talking about their parents babysitting for them or the way they spoil their kids with presents etc (hubby and I never had a single night to ourselves since 2010). I'm fearing this would negatively impact my son as he grows up and realises he doesn't have grandparents (hubby has his mum but she lives abroad and never visits). My heart aches everytime I see grandmas and grandpas with their kids in the park, playgroups or reading to them in the library.

I would love to hear from parents in a similar situation. How do you cope with this challenge, how did you answer your children's questions about their grandparents. Thank you

FannyBazaar Thu 25-Oct-12 21:15:18

I am a single parent from another country and my parents live abroad, we see them every year or two. My ex's parents are both dead so my child doesn't have regular time with grandparents. My DC does however have Skype chats with my parents, both on his own and with me so they are not strangers to him. They regularly send him parcels too.

I have a good friend who is quite a bit older than me and childless who is a bit like a Grandmother/Aunt/Godmother figure to my DC. She has helped out with babysitting and has my DC to stay overnight several times a year which is a godsend. My DC also has a Great Aunt who lives in this country but has no Grandchildren of her own and she is also a bit of a Grandmother figure who sends parcels often.

brightermornings Thu 25-Oct-12 21:19:28

My dmum died when I was 13. I miss her every day. My dd says I have 2 granddadds and 1 nanna.
It's hard especially when I hear other people talking about there children's relationship with there mum.
I have lots of friends but there's no one else like your mum.

WhispersOfWickedness Thu 25-Oct-12 21:34:27

I have not lost my parents, but my mum had lost both of hers by 18 and my dad lost his mum at 11. My remaining grandfather was not particularly child-friendly (not helped by difficult circumstances surrounding my birth), so I do feel that I essentially grew up without grandparents. I do feel a little sad when I think about other's close relationships with their grandparents (particularly since my dc were born, as they are especially blessed with close and supportive grandparents) but I don't really 'miss' not having grandparents because I never had them IYSWIM.

LlamaLover Fri 26-Oct-12 12:54:17

I have no parents (or brothers or sisters for that matter) so my son has no family at all on my side. I'm a single Mum and my son's paternal grandparents have (despite intially making lots of good noises about seeing him more after I split from their son) now decided its 'too much' and he is no longer welcome at their house. angry

I have decided to let go of the things I cannot change and concentrate on the things that I can - I can make sure that his time with me is as fun as possible and he sees lots of my friends and thier children.

Its OK to be sad about a situation that isn't how you'd want it (I am too) but if there isn't anything you can do about it - you just have to make the best with what you've got. Hugs.

AMAZINWOMAN Fri 26-Oct-12 17:36:52

I am in the same situation with no family backup at all. My kids don't have any aunts, uncles or grandparents.

On the plus side, it makes me more determined to be a better mum. When you know that you are the only person in the world they have, it makes you hug them even more.

The downside is Christmas, which is meant to be familytime

Alittlestranger Fri 26-Oct-12 17:49:28

No kids myself but thought I'd chip in as I grew up without grandparents (two dead, two estranged). You know what, it is sad, and my family always felt, and still feels, very small. It has made me more determined to have kids while my parents can be involved, although time will tell if circumstances allow that.

As others have said, it is a sad situation that you just have to make the best out of. What I valued, and wish my parents had promoted more, are grandparent-lite relationships. God parents, family friends, basically someone who will stick around for a long time, foreground or background as appropriate, and can provide some of that continuity and support that grandparents bring.

44SoStartingOver Fri 26-Oct-12 18:00:04

Our three dc don't have any gps. Tbh it is a big hole in their lives and in ours. I really miss having someone to turn to.
We try to make sure they have other influences in their lives.

On the plus side, they have spent some time with a psychiatrist (not for any negative reasons) who commented on how confident and secure they are. Made me feel a little less inadequate.

ddubsgirl Fri 26-Oct-12 19:17:19

i lost my parents aged 10 & 19,have dh parents but not the same,we dont see any of my side,whats left of them,its hard sad

Adeona Fri 26-Oct-12 21:10:44

Hello. Thank you all so much for taking time to reply and share your own experiences. It is sad as most of you said but knowing that others face the same thing makes me feel less lonely. I agree that this kind of situation makes you strive to be a better parent. Growing up without the physical presence of grandparents will certainly affect my son but I am determined to preserve their memory so he feels like he knows them.
FannyBazaar, I wish I had a friend like yours who would care about my son and have him around etc. It would make a massive difference.
I was surprised to read that in the US you can have/be a surrogate grandparent! It's a fairly new trend but one that's growing in popularity and I think it's a fantastic initiative and would definitely participate if we had the same thing over here.

bbface Fri 26-Oct-12 21:22:54

Lost my mother six years ago, my father three years so. I am 31. I was very close to them both. Not a day passes that I do not think of them.

Now I have my ds, 2.3 and also pregnant, and it makes me miss them even more. I now realise the full extent of what they have missed, and what I have missed by not having them here, particularly my mother. I have so many questions, and the sad thing is, I will never ever know the answers to them.

Adeona Fri 26-Oct-12 21:41:01

Sorry about your loss bbface. It's lovely that your ds will soon have a brother or sister, I wish I could have another one but dh is not very keen which makes me even more sad, but i'm hoping he will change his mind in the near future.

Octopus37 Fri 26-Oct-12 21:44:54

I lost my Mum when I was 27, five years before I started a family. My Dad is still alive, but he lives 250 miles away and is in a very difficult relationship, theefore I maybe see him twice a year at the most so day to day I am a parentless parent. At times I have found this incredibly hard, felt sorry for myself and the kids and resented people who have support. However (hope I don't offend anyone here), but I want to say a couple of things that put a different perspective on thngs:
1) It hurts that I have never had a situation where my parents have been involved with my children, especially my Mum. However, I have a good friend who has recently lost her Mum, her Mum was very heavily involved with her 3 children and was extremely supportive. My friend is unsuprisingly left with a gaping hole in her life although she is coping admirably. However, looking at this I can only imagine what it would have been like to have parents who are involved, I don't know and never will know the reality. Maybe there is a case for saying you miss less what you have never had, although obviously it is still painful at times.
2) When you don't have parents around it can mean (as has unintentionally been the case for me) that you invest more emotional energy (the energy and love that maybe would have been directed towards your parents) into your friendships, . This means closer friendships and a support network which is something helpful and special in its own right.

Sorry, turned into a bit of a waffle.

bbface Fri 26-Oct-12 21:49:22

Oh, I have a brother and sister. Without them, the entire experience of losing both parents in my twenties in horrible tragic circumstances would have been so much worse.

I always wanted at leat two children. However, even if i only wanted one child, I would absolutely have another. Absolutely.

bbface Fri 26-Oct-12 21:51:00

Octopus, totally totally agree with your final comment about friendships. I have a very close group of girlfriends. They mean the world to me, and I to them. I think because I have truly opened myself up to them, this has encouraged them to do the same, and consequently we are all very close, supportive and loving.

thetrackisback Fri 26-Oct-12 21:54:16

Lost both my parents and my in laws are insane so we are small. Got a fantastic great grandma who makes up for everything but I know we haven't got her for much longer and I feel sad. I have good friends who are aunties and uncles and my own brother who is a sweetie but lives 250 miles away. Felt sad for a long time so said a little prayer for another child and got myself two. We have decided that we are going to be so close knit we are going to be like the waltons! They have all got to have at least four kids each!! We are the start off extremely happy family!

Adeona Fri 26-Oct-12 21:58:13

Totally agree about friendships. Sadly I don't have anyone that I can call a true friend. I know few ladies from parenting groups but we meet once every couple of months in playgroups etc and though they are nice, I don't feel close enough to them to open up and talk about the void that my parent's death has left. I have a brother who lives in another country and visits every now and again and a sister who lives 1000s of miles and only see us once a year. It's just so hard to make friends when you are new to a country or an area and I have just given up trying.

thetrackisback Fri 26-Oct-12 22:07:36

Don't give up trying just find something else. Is there something you could join as a family or do something without dc? A hobby, college course or evening class? Also do you think you could be a little depressed? I'm saying that with kindness have been there and maybe some treatment would help? Anyway I'm holding your hand now. X

knackeredmother Fri 26-Oct-12 22:21:39

My mum died suddenly when I was pregnant with my first child. My MIL has also passed away and our dads dont really get involved.
Like you I find it hard to see friends get help from their parents. In fact I'm really trying to work on these feelings as they are verging on bitterness. I hate it when friends moan about how hard it all is but I know for a fact they get at least a night off a week, or if they are unwell they will have parents who swoop in to take dc while I struggle on.
If we get a break it is because we have paid someone to help us, so rarely. Just this week I had to delay having a painful tooth out as I had no one to have dc so had to wait until dh could get time off work.
Anyway, there I go again moaning, you are not alone though.

Adeona Fri 26-Oct-12 22:25:29

thetrackisback, I have been depressed in the past, although not on serious scale, I've never taken medication or seen a doctor but I read a lot about the subject to know when to diagnose myself with mild depression. On the surface I am a cheery person, I enjoy a good laugh and I'm the one always cracking a joke at work etc, but deep down I feel a hollow emptiness and sadness especially when I think about my mum. Perhaps I'm not as good at hiding it as I think I am which is probably why people tend to "avoid" my company but at the same time I am sure that if I had a close circle of friends or just one good friend I would feel stronger and happier knowing that I am not all alone in the world

thetrackisback Fri 26-Oct-12 22:28:44

So glad it's not me. I got very bitter and certain weeks of the month I can't bear being near happy people with parents but it passes and they are going to be in that situation at some point.

Adeona Fri 26-Oct-12 22:28:51

Thank you knackeredmother and sorry to hear you're struggling with childcare. It gets easier as they grow up so hang in there. Hugs

thetrackisback Fri 26-Oct-12 22:37:44

When I say treatment I mean grief counselling. Are you sure people are avoiding you? It's hard making friends when you are older because everybody has busier lives. I recognise myself in your post!! I am a complex person who seems very extroverted but I too feel hollow at times. I am moving towards accepting the situation but it is slow progress!

Adeona Fri 26-Oct-12 22:51:22

No never thought of grief counselling. It's probably what I need but I don't feel brave enough to face the subject of my mum's loss with someone else. In fact, I never even talk about her to my husband or my siblings. I still can't look at the photos or videos, It's not healthy I know and although I made progress and accepted that she had gone forever there are wounds which haven't healed yet. So yeah counselling might help...Thanks for the suggestion I will give it some serious thinking x

thetrackisback Fri 26-Oct-12 23:34:24

You've made a start tonight. Look at CRUSE bereavement care website as a starter. Sounds like you are still in a lot of pain and I'm sorry for that. How long is it since you lost her? X

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