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<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family:cambria;"><span style="font-family:arial;">Three and a half years ago I said goodbye to a child for whom I’d cared for three years. This loss occurred toward the end of a series of losses—six months earlier I’d ended a happy, loving, relationship of four years over issues related to parenthood (I wanted to become a parent one day, he absolutely did not); a month earlier I lost a pregnancy to miscarriage; and a month afterward my father died.  This six-year-old boy whom I so loved, had lost his own mother when he was four-months-old. I met him, and became his nanny on his third birthday, cared for him for two-and-a-half years, and became involved with his father after the dissolution of my earlier relationship.  I became pregnant with this little boy’s half-sibling, and before miscarrying, believed (along with his father and those closest to us), that I would become his mother as well. Until I miscarried this was a time of incredible stress and unimaginable joy. His father and I broke up after the miscarriage. I continued seeing this child regularly for a year, first every week, then twice a month, then one or two times a month.  I last saw him two years ago, and am no longer in touch with his father, or anyone in his life.</span></span></p>
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<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family:cambria;"><span style="font-family:arial;">I cannot begin to describe how profoundly stuck I feel in my grief for this child and our relationship, and even, (as much as I cringe to admit this) for the future that I imagined we would have together. I really thought that I would become his mother, and that he would be my son, forever. I feel such peace around the other losses that I experienced at that time, including the pregnancy. But I think of this child every day, and miss him, and remember him, and wonder how he is now, and who he is now, and feel as sad as I ever have. I truly have absolutely no idea how to let go of the loss, how to move on from it, how to get unstuck.</span></span></p>
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<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family:cambria;"><span style="font-family:arial;">I wonder if anyone has any ideas regarding outside support for this sort of grief? I know that the world has plenty of ex-partners of parents, and that at least some of these must feel a significant amount of grief over this loss. But I’ve had zero success in finding anything (books, websites) that addresses this.</span></span></p>
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<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family:cambria;"><span style="font-family:arial;">I want to add that I do not feel at all ok about the fact that I knowingly placed my relationship with this child at risk when I became involved with his father, my employer. I am sure that this little boy suffered from this second loss of a mother/maternal figure, and I will carry the guilt of that knowledge forever. I also do not believe that this grief compares to the loss of one’s own son or daughter, especially to death. I feel profound gratitude to know that this child is alive and well, safe, and well-loved.</span></span></p>
 

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<p>Mama, I do not have any resources to send you towards, but I couldn't read without replying. I can see the pain in your post, and I am so sorry that you have this great loss in your life. I cannot imagine how much it must hurt you to have fallen in love with this child and then suddenly have no contact with him. I am sorry I don't have any great words of wisdom or even comfort, but I wanted to let you know that your grief is completely valid and you should allow yourself to grieve in any way that you need to. I am so sorry that there aren't more resources out there for your situations - as I am sure you are right; this type of loss is probably extremely common in our society. I know my DH considers my ds to be his own, and if we ever separated, I have a feeling he would fight for partial custody, common DNA or not. I'll keep you in my thoughts - I hope that you find a healthy way to process and work through your grief.</p>
 
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