PARENTS

My Parents Are Alive But They Have Never Met My Children - And Never Will

17/10/2011 20:38 | Updated 22 May 2015
Grandmother, baby, motherRex Features

People say that when you have kids yourself you only really start to appreciate what your parents have done for you.

Many families make the decision to move to be closer to family once they start a family. Grandparents are there to spoil, to babysit and to embarrass you with tales of what you were like at that age.

The birth of a child can break down barriers in families, bringing mums and daughters closer together through the new found understanding and shared experiences that motherhood brings.

But not for me.

For me motherhood brought confirmation that I had done the right thing all those years when I broke off contact with my parents. But it also brought a sadness.

I haven't seen my parents for more than 15 years, so in reality my children only have one set of grandparents.

Breaking off contact allowed me to break free from the emotional abuse I had suffered. I didn't have a happy childhood, adulthood didn't improve anything and I honestly think my parents miss me as much as I miss them – not at all.

When I made the decision to move house and not give them forwarding details I did think long and hard about whether it was the right decision but I didn't think too much about how I would feel when I had children.

The reality was that when a few years later I became pregnant I did think about my mother and became determined that I would be nothing like her.

Over the years I have been told that I am a good mother by many people and I think this is because I have always done my upmost to ensure that I didn't follow in my mother's footsteps.

I would consciously think about the type of mum I was. I was determined that I would never hit my children, that I would have a good relationship with them, and that I would not spend my days screaming at them for the slightest thing.

But while I am absolutely certain that I made the right decision, a part of me is sad about what we have all lost out on. I have no idea what age I started to walk at or what kind of baby I was. There is nobody to embarrass me with stories from my childhood. Are my children like me at that age? I'll never know.

Boasting is another thing I have lost out on. Yes, you can boast to friends but only to a certain extent. Grandparents are the people you can really show off to without limit. They will agree with you that your child is brilliant/beautiful/clever with the enthusiasm only family members can have.

My children have their other grandparents and that is great, but it would have been lovely if they also had a family that was part of me. While Daddy brings grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins Mummy brings none of that.

My parents know about the children but have shown no interest in seeing them. There were times in the past when I considered getting in touch and letting them seeing them but quickly realised how stupid an idea this was. I wouldn't trust them with my children and there is no point putting my children in danger.

As they have grown I have had the odd question and I have tried to answer these as honestly as I can. At first I said they lived very far away, which is true. As they got older I elaborated more and have told them we don't speak. In time I will tell them more but only when I think they are ready.

When they are older I won't stop them making contact with their grandparents if that is what they want. I don't think I will need to. Should they decide to go and meet them I can't see them being welcomed with open arms.

Yes, I find the situation sad and anyone who has ever criticised anyone for falling out for family members should know that it is not a decision anyone makes lightly. Fall outs usually happen when people have tried absolutely everything to get on.

But I don't think the alternative would have been preferable. Would my children's lives have been fuller with my parents making our lives a misery? I think not.

All I can do is keep making an effort to ensure history does not repeat itself. When my children grow up and have their own children I want to go through the pregnancies with them. I want to experience the excitement of being a gran, and I want to spoil the children. Should they have children that is.

My children have one set of grandparents and for that I am glad. My husband and I have provided our children with a warm, happy home life and they are happy children. In reality there are only two people who are truly losing out.

Are you estranged from family members? Is it a source of sadness or relief?

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