Why are there more Fathers Rights’ Organisations than Mothers?

quote-there-is-no-greater-warrior-than-a-mother-protecting-her-child-n-k-jemisin-240587I have to get this off my chest. In fact, this is a decade of frustration over my family law case. While I am out of Family Law as are my children, I have had shall we say, a few years to reflect on the mistakes I made back in 2003 in expecting a court would resolve the difficulties within my home environment.

A decade on – Action for Children are working on an alternative offence for the neglect of children. Details of which can be found in the link.

I am passionate about justice and child welfare. Having failed as a mother to protect my children from the damage two warring parents subject any child to, I have found peace within myself to be able to look at situations with a degree of balance.

I opened proceedings in Family Court back in 2004 in order to secure the residency of my own children. The father of my children took great exception to this matter and between us, we started a war. For twelve years, we were married and yes, we had the same difficulties as any other young family. The struggles of the early 90s recession, job losses and the strains of raising two young children. Yet neither of us had our problems with each other as parents of the same children. Our children were paramount in our relationship. When the marriage faltered, we managed for a time to exercise contact between ourselves. My ex-husband was in a new relationship and yes, I was hurting and fragile. But friends supported me and it was clear my marriage was over.

The moment I started court proceedings, was the moment my ex-husband turned against me. Mud was flung, I made scurrilous attempts to undermine him, he counter-acted with further attempts to throw in family history and we viewed each other across a courtroom like two small countries about to launch missile attacks on each other.

Cafcass were brought in to “assess” and one day, his contact order stated he should return them at 18.00 hours and he did not. Without going into a long detailed misery piece of how I fell apart, the long and short of it is, my children were so frightened the result was they no longer wanted to see me. I was awarded (oh the terms used in law) indirect contact. Pretty useless when he refused to disclose where the children were living.

I began to search for a name for what was happening. I found it. This name was Parental Alienation Syndrome. I latched onto this and a decade ago, it was not too well-known in the UK. I spent time with Americans who were far more advanced in this topic. I searched for Mother’s Groups who were suffering the same and very few were around. I came across MATCH (Mothers apart from their children) joined but soon became frustrated with the whole process and carried on racking up huge legal bills that I simply could not pay for. The journey took me to Europe, the Middle East, the United States and I chased my tail until it all ended back in England in a criminal dock with my liberty in a Judge’s hands.

In 2014,it has been ten years since my ex-husband made me see my children in a car park. He refused to allow me to see them only under his command. I had no choice but to respect his decision. Please do not misunderstand, I have no problem with my ex-husband’s abilities as a father, he was and is a good father. He hated me for beginning those proceedings and “taking him to court”

Jumping forward to the present day, I have seen Father’s Rights groups, contact groups and a whole new PAS-aware world. But rarely, do I see, a decade on, Mothers Groups. Fathers Groups’ tell me and I do engage with them, as I do support the family unit, Family Law favours Mothers rights over Fathers. I disagree, Family Law does not favour mothers over fathers, nor does it favour Fathers over Fathers. I do not see this at all. What I do see and what I have experienced, is the worst words any parents could fear. “You will never see your child/children again”

This is a traumatic statement for any parent. Having discussed this with Natasha Phillips who is passionate over the welfare of children, she experienced this and that statement in itself proved to be true for me, ten years is a long time for any child to not see a parent. I know, I never saw my own mother for three decades and when I found her, it was not a pretty sight.

I see Fathers battling for their “rights” to see their child/children and years of estrangements at the hands of the mother. Wars in secret courtrooms where emotions run high and broken parents fight to the very last for their children, believing this is the way forward. I see Fathers Rights’ groups tell of wicked, evil liars of mothers who have stopped them from seeing their children and recently, I have seen support for the imprisonment of mothers who prevent children from seeing their fathers.

This is where I stop. Halt! When we begin to wish criminalizing the mother or father of our children, then I see even bigger problems occurring. I am against an alternative offence for neglect of children. The Criminal Justice System is a monster and children of imprisoned parents suffer more than any adult will ever at the hands of the CJS.

My message to Father’s Groups:

I understand your pain – I have been where you are. I have no wish to send the father of my children to prison or put him through the hands of the CJS, my children who are now adults love him and he is their father. Why on earth would I want to do this to my children? I am a mother and the loss of my children, I played a part in when I fought for my rights and forgot about their needs. The love they already had from their Mum and Dad.

In a child’s eyes, there is no ranking of who is the better parent. A mother’s love and bond is ferocious and sometimes we fuck it up. But as I enter my 11th year without my children, I do know they are safe and well under the care of their father. I took a step back to allow them to breathe when our war was suffocating them. That was out of love when I saw the terror on their faces of what we were doing to them.  A father’s love is strong and in no way lesser than a mothers. Your children love you no matter what and is it not time to look inside and stop the war?  Whether a mother or a father, is it really necessary to demand the opposing parent is placed into the hands of the criminal justice system? I have been there and let me tell you, it is not a pretty place and the ramifications are huge. Another law is not going to help understand why one parent uses a child as a pawn. In any game of chess, what happens at the end of the game? All the pieces are placed back inside the box…

As I wait, patiently for my children to make contact, this has to be their decision, they are adults now, my heart, my home and everything awaits them as a parent who is repaired. I retain no anger towards the man who made me see them in a car park all those years ago. I was not in his shoes at that time and who is to say I would not have done the same in my rage against him?

And the provocative question of the title of this piece – Why are you the common purpose? Because mothers in many cases, as I was, are demonised by society for not having our children with us. We are in many ways afraid to speak out for the fear of being named and shamed as bad or worse even mad mothers. There is something overtly strong about a father’s love for his child and you are commended for your fight. I support many in this, a father’s love cannot be diminished by a mother’s love for her child as there is room for both in a child’s heart. Love it or loathe it,  Mother Nature cannot be destroyed. Even in a prison cell.

Parental Alienation begins with one parent beginning the process. Many mothers get on with their lives and silently suffer afraid to ask for help. I am not against any campaign for the rights of children but I do believe it is time to look into those little faces we love so dearly and find it in us, to stop the war and leave court to those who do really need it. I know my children will have questions and they have every right to ask me those questions. Just as I had questions for my mother.

I was a child of two warring parents, and I became a parent who wanted a war. History does repeat itself. The scars of that war are hard for me to bear, so what must it be like for a child to understand why the two people they love most in the world hate each other so?

13 comments

  1. This is an incredibly sensitive subject, and as always you have treated it (particularly bearing in mind the nature of your own personal experience of it) both objectively and compassionately.

    We live in a world of imperfection and emotion, which the law has to operate in. You can only hope that in any marriage breakdown involving children, the parties can ‘act sensibly’ and put their own feelings aside, ‘for the sake of the children’. Sometimes, this is impossible, and in my experience the law is ill-equipped to cater for the minority, though significant, ‘hard cases’ where the emotions between the parents are simply too overwhelming to put aside.

    There is a ‘mood’ now that where a breakdown happens in that kind of situation, the father (or mother) is entitled to ‘have their rights’. The law is predicated with this in mind, and these groups abound to ensure (in the age of the internet and social media) that they do.

    I know someone who separated from his wife in 2005 in circumstances where there was never going to be any possibility of ‘amicability’. The gulf was too wide, the feelings too deep. I know that the person concerned thought long and hard about commencing court proceedings to ensure and secure regular contact. Ultimately, he took the view that he could not put the children through the CAFCASS nightmare. Having tormented himself for a long time, he decided on the lesser of two evils; to simply walk away and not to push for any contact at all. He did this on the basis that even if he secured contact, with or without the intervention of men in superhero suits, the consequences of the battles that would follow, and which would inevitably affect the children horrifically, and that it was better to simply walk away and hope beyond hope that one day, at some time, they would make their own decisions to see him. Sure, we all accept that the ‘ideal’ is to have two loving parents, even separated. The fact is that they had a loving mother, with all her imperfections, and the person concerned knew that the children would be loved and cared for emotionally by her. The person concerned has been subjected to many claims of ‘you don’t care, you don’t love your children’ and so on. That must hurt incredibly, knowing how much he really does. But sometimes the reality is that it is simply better for one parent (and I make no gender judgement here) to walk away knowing that the alternative is simply too grotesque to contemplate. Yes, we can push for our ‘rights’. And no, nobody is suggesting those children would not have been better off with their father in their lives than without. But if the fact is that to have that would leave them ultimately more emotionally and psychologically damaged, the alternative ‘lesser of two evils’ is the only judgement to make.

    Children are resilient. The law is not always right. The law certainly does not always provide ‘justice’ for children or parents, and very often its decisions cause deep wounds that never heal to all parties. Although the person I mentioned above has not heard from his children now in several years, and they are in their early 20s now, the person concerned still hopes that one day they may have questions for him, and have the right to answers that I know he is willing to try to offer. Whether they accept those would ultimately be for them. But he keeps his door open to that possibility, and will never close it. Children do not choose their parents, but parents (absent or otherwise) have to choose what they feel is best for them. Sometimes others do not understand that, and in a society where the talk is of ‘father’s rights’ and drum-banging those parents who make those decisions can be made to feel like they are some kind of pariah. They are not. They are imperfect individuals doing their best in an imperfect world. A little kindness and attempt to understand would heal many divisions.

    Wonderful article, Tracey, and very moving. Thank you so much.

  2. A very thought provoking article Tracey, you have put it so well.
    I think the breakdown of any relationship has almost reached the point of no return before it enters the court system. Collateral damage has already been done and often it is far to late for damage limitation.
    I would like to call the partners the warring factions, engaged in battle and both are determined to win the war. Adults that have began to revert to childish behaviour, but with the adage of years worth of cultivating venom.
    Many shake the money tree for financial compensation and invoke the specialists solicitors to fight for the last penny, lets call it financial ruin.
    The term used so often, children are resilient.
    I would only apply this to a child that has lost a parent at an early age, the child has not yet developed emotionally to have an understanding or how to deal with their loss. the remaining parent, their family. comfort and console the child.
    Lets take a look at the first three paragraphs and look at the process and the time it has taken to get to the steps of the court. If you think the children are resilient when they have witnessed all the above, I disagree and I have to wonder why people have become so dismissive about the feelings of the children.
    From the age of five I remember the arguments and the physical beatings my mother was subjected to, often before my father did his disappearing act for months at a time leaving my mother and five children with no money. Arguments install irrational fear into children, that is my first point I wish to make.
    What happened to the loving parents that some often stated they would take a bullet for their child, yet in reality they were thinking of taking a ride on the bullet train in Japan. Words are so cheap and they are endless.
    If parents thought for one minute that they were installing irrational fear into their children do you think they would put aside their arguments for the sake of their children?
    I have heard countless parents trying to destroy one another when the relationship has broken down.
    To be honest I don’t give a flying fuck about them for one moment, I saw it as a child, I saw it within my 18 years of marriage and my kids saw some of it. I could not blame myself nor could I blame my wife, it was a process that was not pleasant.
    I made a moral stand for many years, I made the decision to stay with my wife until my son reached the age of 16, I also acquired two step daughters who I treated as my own. All be it right or wrong that after two years I knew the marriage was not working, that was the time my son was born. Thus the moral decision was made.
    There were no court proceedings, we made financial arrangements and yes my wife was very bitter about me leaving. You can also lose contact with your child without going to court.
    The rights and wrongs of the process do little to help your healing process.
    Warring parents all have a history and who has done no wrong. The blame game is bad enough but when you leave the court no choice but to alienate the child, one needs to look at all the factors involved.
    Who is to blame, who did the best for the children, who put their own emotions to one side in order to put the child’s best interest at heart?
    Rights? yes we all have them until you turn into a leftie on your own mission to destroy another.
    Tales of the unexpected in any family court are indeed so rare, tales of the expected and all are very similar, she did this, he did this. It’s about time you fucking grow up and look at the damage you have already caused.
    Ever thought about your court costs? would that money not have been better set aside for your children when they are older.
    The courts have far to many jesters appearing all year round, although a very lucrative business, you are providing for the suits.

    1. To be fair to Tracey, I think it is me who made the point that children are resilient, and I stand by it. They may not be resilient to a beating or other hideous abuse but the vast majority of children who are witness to parental breakdown (or break up) adjust and get used to it. It’s unpleasant, but they adjust. The majority adjust to a dad (or mum) not being there every day and night and to get used to seeing them every weekend, fortnight or whatever. They just get on with it. Mercifully I think that most mums and dads actually understand this and act in a mature and sensitive way.

      Nor am I sure that ‘many’ shake the money tree. Legal aid has all but dried up for resolving financial issues on a matrimonial breakdown, and unless you have multiple thousands (at least) readily hanging round to pay a solicitor up front, you are on your own; and I can tell you from personal experience that any woman (or man) willing to go down the ‘litigant in person’ route is in for one hell of a shock in 2014. And I also suggest that it is the woman who almost inevitably gets the raw end of this deal. She is usually the one struggling with the children with little income; more often than not it is the ex-husband, who has got on with his life and career, and more able to afford legal representation, who will take advantage of this situation.

      Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing men whining about their ‘rights’. Most of the time they are the ones with the means to move out, start a new life, and continue the career they never had to give up to have the children in the first place. Then they want to play ‘celebrity dad’ every weekend or two. It’s a fairly easy gig, that one, and don’t the kids just love it? McDonalds, ice cream, toys, late nights and ‘fill your boots’ for 48 hours all makes mum’s day to day grind look totally lame. And plenty of them are only really concerned about their ‘rights’ in order to poke their ex-wife in the eye and cause a bit more distress to her, and, by extension, to the children. Where is the ‘interest of the child’ in that scenario? Out of the window with wings, is the answer. As a man, and having witnessed things from a personal and professional perspective over several decades, I have firmly come to the conclusion that as a general rule a woman is in every way the right person to have custody of her children unless and until proved otherwise. On a marriage breakdown, there should be a law which automatically, without any applications to court, give her rights of residence and custody, and also immediately (without applications to the CMS) to a percentage of her husband’s income which (if not paid regularly voluntarily) should be taken out of his income at source. That is your starting point, and if anything is going to be suggested to displace it, the husband should bear the burden of doing that and making the application to court. And if you want contact, how about understanding how vital she is to your children and start respecting her a bit? But plenty of men really struggle with that. They are too busy feeling she hasn’t met their needs in the marriage. Too right. She was probably busy fulfilling the children’s far more important needs. What really sticks in my craw is that there are plenty of women, usually childless, who bang the drum for ‘father’s rights’, trying to be ‘right on’, and have so little understanding of what being a mother actually is all about. How about a bit of solidarity with your sisters?

      The answer to Tracey’s question as to why there are not more ‘mothers’ groups’ is probably because mums are too busy doing the real graft and don’t have time to dress up in Superman outfits and whine about their ‘rights’. They are too busy bringing up their children, trying to make ends meet. Women get a rough deal in society, and mums even more so, and the fact that this is not acknowledged is a shame on us all. They should be celebrated for what they do. Yes, some may use their children as a ‘weapon’ in their ongoing war, but most don’t. This applies equally to some men.

      1. I have to say a brilliant reply Mark, If I may use the song lyrics “stand by your man” in my experience the worst statement ever made.My mother who is 78 did just that and it was the norm at the time when mothers had no access from the state to live as a single parent.
        Women no longer need abusive fathers to rely upon so they can feed their children, the state has offered them another avenue.
        I was the middle child and had four other siblings, I may have been classed as over-sensitive in today’s terms. Yet in reality I thought I was such an happy child and I just wanted to be surrounded by love. I remember watching Doris Day on our black and white TV, was this a premise in which reasoning has no part to play?
        Just briefly I will state why I think that children may not be as resilient as many think. When other children stopped wetting the bed, I was to carry on for many more years, this was partly due to the arguments my parents were having. I was too scared to use the bathroom because I would have to walk past my father’s bedroom door, I finally stopped wetting the bed at the age of 14. Holding my hands over my ears to try and stop the deafening sound from the arguments from the age of 5 did little and had no effect.
        It affected my education, I was full of pre-installed irrational fear, just to skip a little at the age of 21 I bought my first dictionary, I taught myself to read and write and most importantly how to spell. I have spoken to many blokes who have opened up and shared they had very similar experiences to mine.
        Many had been in prison and were deeply affected by their parents when they were young. My friend is 6ft 2″ and let’s say you would cross the road if you met him on a dark night, He also stopped wetting the bed at the age of 14. At 17 stone myself and built like a brick shithouse I am not one for playing the violin, Over the last 35 years I have met many like myself, I have had visits to the loony ward on occasions, Both my parents overindulged in the funny water, three of their children also overindulged in the funny water. Some may call it a family affair.
        Three out of the seven us have departed from this lovely planet of ours,some may say it would have been a relief for them.
        I have never wanted for much in this world, I thought I was given to the wrong parents at birth, I don’t think I was robbed of my childhood at all, I never had one. No one is to blame for that I don’t apportion blame, but what I would like to state that resilience in children may actually be flawed.

      2. Hi Mark,

        Thank you for your response.

        To return to the title, I do feel it is more than simply not having time. As a mother without her children in her life, I have at times been treated as though I have put neat vodka on their cheerios. By other women, primarily. Seven years ago I was active in a Father’s Rights movement. It lasted a year, as I naturally felt conflicted with terminology. I was one of three mothers. I then found Match and there I found some solace for a short time. But that was short-lived also.

        I know the Penelope Leach latest book and comments on children under 5 remaining with their mothers seven nights a week angered fathers. However, she was misunderstood. Her comments are valid. This takes nothing away from fathers and their role. Where possible, and it is safe to do, young children should remain with their mothers.

        As for resilience in children, I had a traumatic childhood. My mother’s MH problems were stated as ‘ mad’ were undiagnosed. My father was with another woman and my mother was traumatised. I at 8 years old was the parent to my younger brother. I coped with the circumstances. I was not old enough to work out the alternative.

        While children cope, and eventually at the age of 9 I was removed from my mother’s care to my father’s and his girlfriend, it is not the trauma of my mother that remains with me, it is a stranger, who tore up birthday cards in front of me on my tenth birthday and said the words “I am your mother now” This shows me more about my father than anyone else. He wanted to obliterate my mother from his life. While I was provided with warmth, food and safety, I was emotionally neglected by my father and his second wife. He was of the mind she could just replace my mother. My father and his wife walked past my mother for 20 years as a homeless, broken woman. But I have immense love for my father.
        That emotional neglect impacted my life.

  3. As an addendum to the above post, Mark, to expand on the “resilience” of children. I do think the term has been adopted. When in fact, I prefer the term “coping mechanisms” Children learn by osmosis, so they readily accept what is happening.

  4. I am amazed that so many adults are shouting for their rights. We seem to live in a nanny state which in it itself is a true reflection of the times we live in. The most perturbing one of all seems to be be that of the care of our children.

    We are supposed to do what comes naturally when caring for our children. There seems to be a two-dimensional approach in the rights of adults. We have the middle class approach and that of the working class, Maybe I should have an unbiased approach to just how the two differ.
    The rights of a wealthy father has shown on many occasions that they may use their wealth to go to any lengths in their crusade to get justice. The mother is unfit to be a mother and he uses the children to hurt the mother.

    I have witnessed on a few occasions a person who has used his wealth to try and destroy another, and indeed tried in vain to get that person locked up.

    The plight of their children sadly is not taken into consideration, often it seems as though the other parent no longer exists in their desire of wanton destruction of the other person.

    They are able to use the best barristers and are more than able to pay the court fees that they incur. This does have a side to it that reinforces the saying “money talks” I may have the middle class taking exception to these remarks but you can’t argue with the facts.

    Comparatively, the working class scenario – often a person with little access to monies to pay for legal representation and let us not use the “limited legal aid” that was once set in place. They will barely be able to survive on their own, never mind have funds to pamper their kids with gifts on their weekend of access. So who are actually taking the time of the courts in order to destroy the other person?

  5. This topic is very close to my heart.

    Sadly, my experiences of Family Law and court process are unpleasant memories. However, this is not due to the good people who work in the sector.

    I see Cafcass as an utterly useless agency who lack
    the resources, the training, the compassion to deal with such an emotional process. What our Cafcass officer witnessed from my ex husband and did nothing about was horrific. Frankly, that organistion does not deserve a moment further of my time.

    The CSA. As we all know, was brought in to address the problem of absent fathers. This was a major cock up and caused suicides of men who were hounded by this agency. This was the time the inception of Father’s Rights organisations emerged. Contact between a father and his children was pegged against child support payments. The introduction of this agency forced fathers to pay for their children. Furthermore, fathers were incensed and Father’s Rights were born. Then of course, the CSA brought in the 4/3 day balancing act of contact. If a mother had her child/children four nights a week, she had the child benefit and was entitled to child support which could be enforced by the CSA. If the mother was claiming benefits, she had to apply through CSA. My ex-husband was a clever man, he ensured even though he worked unsociable hours, he would have the children those four nights. This required me to pay him via the CSA, and for him to lawfully claim the child benefit. This was the start of the alienation process. He ensured my children told Cafcass they wanted to remain with him four nights a week. His parents would them two nights (he told his parents I was an unfit mother) and he and his girlfriend who worked together could still have two incomes albeit separately.

    Now, this takes nothing away from his ability as a father but the CSA was the most damaging agency ever to emerge. The erosion of what were previously, loving families began and the birth of contact orders, applications for residency were born. Mothers saw this commute route to secure what was previously known as maintenance and fathers were incensed they were forced to pay.

    Amidst this, suffer little children.

      1. Well, JP, we can talk about emotional abuse round the clock and then some. Parental Alienation has been around for decades. It simply has a name now and of course, attach the word ‘syndrome’ to the behaviour, it could soon become a criminal act.

        The introduction of the ruthless CSA has a lot to answer for. It hangs over every parent who enters separation. The resident parent can use the terms “I will go through the CSA’ and a non-resident parent can manipulate a contact arrangement to counter-act a contact agreement to use the same line. It is time to stop messing around with children’s lives and attaching money to them. There should never be a financial attachment to a parent’s love. It is priceless.

        As with any body that has the words, ‘agency’ or ‘independent’ attached to it, it is anything but.

  6. Great article Tracey, I’m sure it will resonate with many parents who are living apart from their children. Have you seen your children yet? I was apart from mine for 10 and 12 years but we are solid now and the love between us is strong and respectful. It was a hard slog though and the hole left by the loss of my children and the need for answers dominated my life throughout that period and beyond. This led to my PhD in how to improve professionals’ responses to mothers apart from their children in a context of DVA.
    I think maybe a short answer to your title question is that there are no UK mothers’ rights organisations because mothers don’t generally think in terms of their rights but rather in terms of what’s best for their children. As you demonstrated, you stepped back when you saw how the war was affecting your children. This is common among the members of MATCH mothers as you probably know.
    Similarly, like you say, mothers living apart from their children generally try to keep this fact quiet and secret, and this is due to the shame and embarrassment that comes from living in a society that has a strong mother blaming culture. This situation contrasts with how some dads might be able take comfort in the role of a father fighting for justice because of the accompanying sympathy from a society that is familiar with the narrative of the vicious ex-wife and loving dad who can’t see his kids. Also, because some of these organisations are fairly aggressive in their approach, this can be a very focussed outlet for the anger and pain that dads justifiably feel at being apart from their kids. The approach of some of these organisations though can work against fathers who would be better off in therapy working towards healing than being in an environment that whips up hatred against certain groups of people and misogyny in general, as this can hardly be good for their children.
    Additionally, such organisations rely on myths and statistics that have shown to be untrue or unreliable. For instance, there is the common misconception that mothers have rights to see their children and that fathers don’t. Post-divorce and separation decisions made by family courts about parenting are entirely gender neutral. The fact that most children go to live with their mothers after family breakdown has shown to be because mothers were most often the primary caregivers beforehand and continued in this role. Not because courts are biased and treat men unfairly as peddled by the propaganda.
    The gender neutrality of your article is clear but it is worth pointing out that PA/PAS is a gender biased concept as stated by a range of researchers who critique this concept. I will be writing about this soon and will post about it on my blog so watch that space..
    Best wishes, Laura
    p.s. I have been attacked by MRAs and FRGs in the past and find it easier not to respond as responses can make things worse. I haven’t got time for all that anyway.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Thank you for taking the time to write a response. It’s quite strange for me reading this now two and a half years on.

      I agree that Mothers don’t speak about their rights and you have answered the title question succinctly.

      It’s a slow process for me and my children. My time in the CJS has somewhat alienated them further due to family interventions. I’ve come to terms with a lot of the pain and I’m of the opinion many people are under the impression I *lost* my children due to being in the CJS. Which is not the case at all. The CJS was the end of the crisis and it was from there I was able to build a new life as a childless mother. A term I’m not comfortable with but it is such.

      I’m so pleased you’re researching this area as it is much needed. Society does have a mother blaming culture and while it’s somewhat covert for us mothers, it’s very visible because we are somehow tuned into the culture. I know I went through a self destruction phase as a result of guilt. I still have the guilt, I’ve learned not to press the destruction button in recent years. Mix that with the pain of 365 days per year of not seeing my children whom are now adults, I’m much more private about this pain now than I was say five or six years ago.

      I’ll watch out for your blog on PAS as I studied it in 20o4 when I came across it in the US.

      My work today is interlinked with women in CJS separated from their children and I know there is so much work that can be done for these women whom are treated as single without dependents.

      I’m also a birth mother. Which is a whole other subject matter. But again there are clear links given I had come to terms with this loss in my early 20s. The loss of my two younger children affected me so badly.

      Laura, Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading more from you on your blog. How very wonderful your children and you have that personal love between you now after all that time apart. I too was separated from my mother and we had an amazing love for each other after 30 years apart. I miss her deeply but am at peace with this now due to the wonderful time we spent together before her death.

      Happy New Year.

      Warm wishes

      Tracey

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