Mothers of Unseen Children: The Invisible Child


  • Bharti MOHAN Ambedkar University, Delhi, New Delhi, India


Losing a child is a very traumatic experience and one that creates different nuances in the lives of those left behind. Survivors or tormented is a matter of perspective. Loss of a child many times reside in the realm of silence. Words or silence or a combination of the two seems to connect the ‘Mother’ to the ‘Absent child’ (for the world) with the ever ‘Present child’ (in the world of the ‘Mother’) who carry ‘The Invisible Child,’ along with them every day. The current paper will focus on the identity of a ‘Mother’ who has lost a child to sudden/unexpected death, their grieving process and the representation of loss in their lives through an exploration of the world of mothers through two interviews undertaken as a part of PhD work in the Indian context. Exploration of Tutter and Wurmser’s understanding of grief, Lifton’s concept of ‘Death Guilt’ and ‘Psychic Numbing,’ and Parkes and Prigerson’s theory of ‘Dual Process of grieving’ will assist in understand the lives of mothers engulfed in dealing with their personal losses and continuing to live with/without their children. This exploration includes my personal journey along with these mothers. This paper is an attempt to explore this new world. Mothers were approached directly for participation in the PhD work, context provided and consent was taken to participate and share their life stories of loss of their child/children who provided their accounts largely as a combination of the English and Hindi language.