Empty nest blues!

Seven years ago my youngest daughter flew the nest and went to University.  I have always professed that going to University is probably the easiest way for most young people to leave home and gain independence as there are lots of them and they are in the same boat.  Much easier than moving to a new city to start a job with no social life and potential friends provided.  And that is what we want, parenthood is about nurturing, supporting and watching our children develop into independent (relatively!) human beings and starting their own lives.  Well that’s the theory, and all of it is true.

We want our children to be happy.  However, that is not allowing for our feelings, those of the parent who has enjoyed the previous 18 or more years and has now got to adjust to not being needed in quite the same way.   I know that as we dropped, first our oldest daughter and then youngest daughter at University, and then my husband went away on a business trip for several days, I was left reeling.  It was like the tug of the umbilical cord again: love, passion, emotion, wondering how they were but not wanting to bother them if they were having a good time, and wondering what to do with myself.  I had just qualified as a homeopath and although I had patients they were not enough to fill the time.  How much time can one adolescent take up in your life?   I had tried to prepare for it.  I had made plans to occupy myself and gave myself lots of treats (how self indulgent!) but it didn’t fill my chasm.  However as time went on I adapted, my practice became more busy and then strangely, I became used to it, delighted to see the girls when they arrived home but occasionally relieved when they went back (what an admission!).

I have recently met with a number of friends whose children are off to University in the next few weeks and, although they are glad for them, it is raising questions over their own lives.  “What is my purpose in life?”, “Is my life right for me now I no longer have the children to run around after?”, “Is my relationship what I want?”  This is especially the case if we feel we have never found our purpose and/ or are in relationships that are perhaps not what we had imagined.  How many of us wonder if we have found our purpose?  Sometimes we don’t or can’t talk to our partners about how we and they are feeling.  A lot of people find talking about feelings really hard.   It is most likely that even if they don’t talk about it they are feeling the “change” or the “loss” whichever description you prefer.  Children flying the nest can bring you closer together and/or help you develop your purpose, but it can also drive you apart.

Whatever else you do don’t rush to change things.  Let your life settle down and see where it takes you.  If you’re still unhappy in six months it is probably time to re-evaluate things and talk to whoever you think will help, someone independent or your partner.  Homeopathically Ignatia helped me cope with the grief and my guilt at feeling the grief.  It might help you.  If you don’t feel any benefit within a few days see your homeopath as there are so many different remedies.   What comforted me may be different to what you need.