Annette was a very interesting speaker, who based her talk on her research findings, published in her book “Once a Mother, Always a Mother” available at Once a Mother, Always a Mother: On Life With Adult Children: Amazon.co.uk: Byford, Annette: 9781911383697: Books
Annette’s research focused on the experiences of mothers, in opposite gender relationships, whose adult children were living away from the parental home or had been at some time. She explored the various aspects of the transition and grief process women have to process as they move from being a hands on Mum responsible for all aspects of managing their dependent children, to becoming an observer of their adult, independent children, getting on with their lives. This included the impact of partners being introduced to the family and becoming a grandparent, with the added dimensions of menopause, fear of aging, career changes/retirement, responsibility for managing one’s own elderly parents and society’s vilification of the ‘older woman’, in particular the ‘mother in law’.
Annette included reflections from her own personal experience and from her study participants, highlighting how we can identify behaviour patterns with our own clients. This talk resonated very deeply with me, being at that phase of life myself, normalising and bringing insight to my own awareness. I found the talk extremely relevant and will continue my own learning, having purchased the book.