To mobilize awareness of the replacement child condition so that in-depth information, advice, research and resources on the implications and long-term influences are available for adult replacement children, therapists, public and private institutions and public health policy considerations.
The Forum will:
- Inform media, professional organizations and the public
- Assist both adult replacement children and therapists to help recognize symptoms of the replacement child condition
- Provide information, training and supervision for therapists and health professionals
- Promote dialogue between experts, health practitioners and adult replacement children
- Provide a mutual support network for adult replacement children
- Optimize recognition of the growth potential for adult replacement children
Meet the founding members of the Replacement Child Forum.
Kristina E. Schellinski, M.A., Author of Individuation for Adult Replacement Children, Ways of Coming into Being (Routledge, 2019), Supervisor/Teaching Analyst in private practice, Geneva, and with the C. G. Jung Institute, Küsnacht, and the International School of Analytical Psychology (ISAP), Zürich, Switzerland. kristina-schellinski.com
My mother was three months pregnant with me when my baby brother Wolfgang died of acute appendicitis. I was born six months later; I lay in the same pram and probably wore the same baby clothes. My mother wore black for the next five years and we lived in a house across from the cemetery where my brother was laid to rest.
My mother never recovered from this loss. She was frozen in grief and my father as well as my older brother and sister were also deeply affected. My existence was meant to give solace and help get over the terrible loss of my 2-year-old brother. His portrait, frozen in time, is etched in my memory. His loss has impacted on my development and my relationships.
“Far from the eye but close to the heart” – these words were chiselled in the stone above his tomb, I may have been close to my mother’s eye but I grew up feeling far from her heart.
It was a long path from that grief-stricken childhood to my becoming a Jungian Psychoanalyst. My training and my clinical work with many adult replacement children made me ever more conscious of the replacement child syndrome being an existential condition.
You will find my clinical experience as well as my own story in my book: Individuation for Adult Replacement Children. Ways of Coming into Being (Routledge 2019)
Rita Battat-Silverman is the co-author of the Independent Publishers Award winning book, “Replacement Children: The Unconscious Script” which is a culmination of over a decade of research and hundreds of interviews.
Rita holds a BA in Psychology from Texas Wesleyan University and has been interviewed about her work on podcasts, radio, The Huffington Post, Bella Magazine, as well as guest appearances on TV Shows such as Talking Live with Dr Robi Ludwig, and The Joy of Living with Dr Joy Ohayia.
Rita has also previously worked as a talent manager and freelance literary agent and continues to work as a Life Coach with over 30 years of experience.
It was during a chance conversation many years ago that I first heard the words replacement child. I had observed that the mother of one of our children’s school friends was not treating her oldest child in the same manner as the younger sibling; being rather abrupt and critical with her. She too was aware of her own behavior, and then she shared with me that her eldest child had not actually been her firstborn.
Her firstborn child was diagnosed with leukemia as an infant. The doctor had told her to get pregnant as soon as possible, as that infant was going to die very soon. She did as she was told and gave birth to her second child, a daughter, shortly after the loss of her first one.
She explained how physically and emotionally exhausted she had been, and how unprepared she was. She had not been allowed the time to grieve, nor given the emotional support to deal with her loss and was subsequently not in an emotionally balanced state to bond and connect with her new daughter, which resulted in a strained relationship between the two of them.
As I listened to her story, I had my own powerful moment of recognition as pieces from my past began to fit together. Her daughter’s story and mine were woven from the same fabric. It was the first time I realized that I too, was a replacement child. I was born a year and half after my 14 year old brother had died from a heart condition. This was the beginning of my personal quest to reconstruct the missing pieces of my own life. Further exploration led me to understand how this largely uncharted territory holds the key to so many unanswered questions and to further understand their far reaching effects. www.ritabattatsilverman.com
Judy L. Mandel is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, Replacement Child –a memoir. Her essays, articles and short stories have appeared in Kveller.com, 34th Parallel, The Tishman Review, Connecticut LIFE, ASJA Monthly, Complete Wellbeing Magazine, Connecticut Authors and Publishers Magazine, The Southampton Review, American Writers Review and other publications.
When I started writing Replacement Child, I had no idea of the term or the psychological condition of being a replacement child. I thought I was writing the story of my family. How my mother saved three people on the day an airplane crashed into her kitchen. How my parents dealt with the grief of losing their first born, seven-year-old Donna, that day. And how my courageous sister Linda overcame her injuries and disfigurement from the resulting fire. She was only two when those flames engulfed her and my mother rolled her downstairs to the only exit in their apartment. The realization that I had been conceived as a prescription to heal my mother’s depression, with the responsibility that entailed, came as I found my own role in that bigger family saga. As I did more research for my book and came upon the work of Albert Cain, I began to understand the broader impact of being a replacement child. judymandel.com