Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest Syndrome

I had heard about this many years ago when my son was little. He is now eighteen and no longer my little boy but a grown up young man becoming more and more independent as the days go by. I’m talking about my experience of empty nest syndrome.

Nothing I read or heard about prepared me for this moment in my life. I remember when I left home my mum said she was grieving, I remember thinking that sounded rather dramatic and that she was being a tad over emotional. Not any more. I don’t think until you have been a mum yourself that you realise exactly how emotionally draining and what a heart wrenching pain it is. I can understand how easily depression and anxiety can set in right up to dreading the day and dealing with the aftermath.

I have been grieving for months, at the thought of my son leaving home, leaving me, to go to university. It hits me in waves, I can be okay and then bam, I feel consumed with sadness really feeling the dread and the loss that is about to hit and then the tears fall. Then I get myself together and can be okay again for a while. There is always a lingering sadness in my heart knowing the time is getting closer, but when I become overwhelmed with the feelings of grief it has taken me aback.

The logical part of me is happy and extremely proud of the amazing young man he has become through my nurturing and the love I have shared with him. I am excited for his new life and his future and want the very best for him. But it’s so hard and so painful letting go. Such a huge loss and bereavement in a way.

Being a mum, a devoted mum, has been the best job in the world and it’s that which is so difficult to let go of. It’s being a teacher, a carer, a supporter, an encourager all rolled into one bundle of pure love.

I’ll miss seeing his smile each day, the jokes we share, the laughter and young spirit we have in the home. Cooking his favourite meals, wishing him goodnight and hugging him each day. It’s a lot to let go of. Of course, I realise it’s not all gone, he will still be around but in a very different way and more independent as it should be.

I’m gradually coming to terms with it, as the day of leaving looms closer. Yesterday he received his A Level results and as predicted, he did incredibly well! I was so happy for him and as we celebrated I thanked him for making me so proud.

The next few weeks will be busy sorting out the practicalities of the move and buying items that he will need in his accommodation. I try not to get too upset in front of him as I don’t want him to feel under any pressure in any way. But I also think it’s important to be able to express your feelings freely and your child/ young adult to understand this for their own emotional wellbeing and mental health to understand and express their own feelings.

I’ve been putting things into place for my own self-care, looking at ways to occupy myself when my son has left home. To keep my worrying under control and any anxiety and depression at bay as much as possible. I know how hard I am finding this whole process and I have put exciting work projects to get stuck into and ensuring I have a good support system in place with close friends and family.

I know it will be hard to start with, change is, but as each day passes I feel stronger and know that the lonely feelings will pass and that he will always be my son. Love is the strongest force in the universe.

Written by a client.

I would like to thank the mum who wanted to share part of her life at this present time and her journey through the counselling process. If any of the points raised have struck a chord with you Counselling help and support you through a difficult time of separation, loss and change. Based in Leicester or Loughborough? Please book an appointment here.