Ask AF: Helping Mom Handle the College Transition

Every parent feels sad during the college transition, but for those who struggled with infertility, a child going off to college can hit particularly hard.

Q: Every time I think about my son going off to college, I am practically stricken with grief. It almost feels like the infertility monster is once again rearing its head. Why am I feeling this way? Is this transition this hard on non-adoptive parents? How can I cope?


A: Any loss of a life dream or imagined role results in a grief that ebbs and flows throughout the life cycle. The monster, as you call it, is stored in your memory and can rear its ugly head whenever you are anticipating another significant loss. It is perfectly normal for an adoptive parent who struggled with infertility to feel an elevated sense of grief at times of separation. Parents without histories of loss won’t have the same vulnerability.

Losing your baby to college clearly strikes a painful chord. Your little boy is growing up and you are probably wondering how your relationship will change. Your son may also have mixed feelings about the impending life change. Talk with him about how you will stay connected. Will you call? E-mail? Skype? How often? Plan something special for his first break back at home, so that you will all have something to look forward to. Reassure your son (and yourself) that, even though he will not be living at home, home is where the heart is, and that you will continue to be there for him for the rest of his life.

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