When a family suffers the death of a child, the reverberations can extend beyond the immediate period of bereavement. When a child is born into a family that has suffered such a loss, there is concern that the new child might be compromised in his or her development. Such a baby is often described as a "replacement child," a substitute or replacement for the child who died. This baby is at risk for later psychological difficulties because of an inability to form an identity separate from that of the dead child. When parents are unable to fully mourn the death of their child, it may compromise the next child's mental health by imbuing it with the qualities and characteristics of the dead sibling, thereby continuing to mourn the earlier death.
In Dr. Jaffe’s beautiful memoir she reveals her own struggles as the replacement child and how with hard work, therapy and determination she was to overcome her feelings of inadequacy and less than.
You will be moved as you read her story of growing up a replacement child. She has learned that while she can never undo all the negativity that she lived with, she can learn to tame I have those damaging voices to a barely audible level. She teaches you that it takes time to build inner strength over a shaky foundation, but with diligence and introspection, we can replace our imbalances.
Barbara Jaffe, Ed.D. is an award-winning English professor at El Camino College, California and is a Fellow in UCLA’s Department of Education. She has offered countless workshops to students to help them find their writers’ voices through writing non-fiction. Her college has honored her by naming her Outstanding Woman of the Year and Distinguished Teacher of the Year. Her wish for this book is twofold: first, to help other “replacement children” understand and accept their often-challenging journeys as she reveals her own. Second, to offer a cautionary tale to parents who have, perhaps unwittingly, set the stage in their own families for a child who serves as a replacement for another or is viewed as ‘less than’ by comparison. Originally a fourth generation San Franciscan, Barbara has lived in Los Angeles her entire adult life. She and her husband Paul, a psychiatrist, have raised three sons and boast of one amazing grandson and one incredible dog. http://www.barbaraannjaffe.com