Council of Natural Mothers' Library
A Counseling Guide for Birth Mothers
This hopeful book speaks to
healing for those women who've lost their children to adoption. Intended
as a guide for counsellors, it also assists the women who prefer to work
on their own to heal themselves. Many thoughtful suggestions are included
for exercises and affirmations that women can use to help themselves.
The book serves as an excellent introduction for the general reader who
may not have much background in issues of loss related to parents who
lose their children to adoption. Its gentle tone and personal insight
make it easy to read.
The book opens with the results of Carlini's research on women who've
lost their children to adoption. These questions give the research support
for the rest of the book. Their informal tone sets the context for the
book as an aide to the general reader as well as the counsellor.
In the initial chapters of the book, Carlini gives the consequences of
what were often relinquishments coerced by those significant in the mothers'
lives at the time, or by the unsupported situations in which pregnant
women found themselves. She describes the defences used by women to cope
with the trauma of losing their children: denial, repression and others.
She also gives the stages of recovery and the core issues with which these
mothers must deal.
The best part of the book deals with the mechanisms and some exercises
for healing. Cautions are given for seeking professional counselling,
and common pitfalls of some situations. The final chapter deals with issues,
cautions and rewards of searching for one's child, grown to adulthood,
and for reunion dynamics. The book is worth reading for this chapter alone.
Each person will find different nuggets in this book which speak to them
strongly. Personally, I found a paragraph describing how these mothers
"take on the blame for everything that happened years as go."
This was one of my reactions, as a woman who lost her son to adoption.
This is an excellent book to recommend to adoptees and to adoptive parents
to help them understand because it does not blame or indulge in negativity,
while still being clear about the damage that is done to women when they
are separated from their children. The gentle tone and hopeful message
that healing is possible may make it easier for them to absorb the message.
Sandra Falconer Pace
ISBN: 0-9696295-0-8 Obtainable from:
Revised Edition, 1997
Editors: M. J. Turner & L. M. Wright
PO Box 386,
Saanichton, BC V8M 2C5 Canada
The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers