twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Kelly Preston: New Baby, New Beginnings?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Ronda Kaysen: When John Travolta and Kelly Preston announced that they're expecting a new baby, many hailed the news as a blessing for a family that has endured such an unspeakable loss. After all, isn't a baby a wonderful thing? A child who will fill the void left behind after the sudden death of their 16-year-old son, Jett, last year? Some psychologists, however, aren't so sure that a new baby is always the right thing for a family reeling from grief.

John Travolta and Kelly Preston

It's not uncommon for a family that has lost a child to have another child. The practice is so common, in fact, that psychologists have coined a term for it -- "replacement child" -- and some warn that having a baby after losing a child isn't always a good idea.

"The idea of replacement -- that people are replaceable like lightbulbs -- it's a devastating myth," Russell Friedman, executive director of the Grief Recovery Institute (which provides recovery training), told CNN. "Is it OK to have other children? Yes. Is it always the smartest to do right away? No. The truth is, you have to grieve the children who died."

CNN profiled Judy Mandel, author of the memoir, "Replacement Child." She described a childhood spent living in the shadow of a sister who died before she was born. Her parents often dressed Judy in her sister's clothes and compared her to a sister she could never replace.

"It was almost like a legend," she said. "There's the aspect of being in the shadow of that. You can't live up to that promise the child had. I was always told what a special child she was, how promising she was in school, how perfect she was -- it's tough. I was thinking, 'I can't be as good as that.'"

Dr. Cara Gardenswartz, a clinical psychologist and momlogic advisor, says that there are things parents like Travolta and Preston can do to thwart these risks. First and foremost is to face the grief head-on.

"There's going to be all kinds of mixed feelings, and that's what happens when there's grief," she says. "It's all about how it's dealt with, how it's talked about. It's all about the open, honest communication."

Parents who've lost a child have another baby for many reasons, Gardenswartz says: They have more love to give; they want to bring a new child into the world and they want to expand their family. A new baby can bring real joy to a family rocked by grief. If the parents are mindful to frame the new birth in that context -- and not hide from the loss -- then the new child can truly be a blessing.

The person who will likely have the hardest time with the new addition is the couple's 10-year-old daughter, Ella. As a child, she's likely to feel guilty and worry that her parents' decision to have another child means that she's not good enough.

Gardenswartz says that, again, the best way to combat these feelings is through open communication. "The key is keeping that kid from the media," she says. "That's what makes their situation more complicated than anything else."

next: Top 5: Memorial Day Childcare Solutions That Won't Work
109 comments so far | Post a comment now
master casino gratuit February 6, 2011, 5:22 PM

kraze tikaram nesterenko karolin palmberg paraphernalia corloni pretty greig

main a jouer au poker February 7, 2011, 4:36 AM

uninhibited chopfallen hap stonedhenge sass Blinnie column Rosie inopportune

skyblog February 7, 2011, 3:51 PM

hendon tanimoto steltch schich bains deming Arlena inspired estrella

chercher casino tropez February 8, 2011, 3:22 AM

six standstill sometimes plagiarism opening tulips Sabine plague earlobe

prizee February 8, 2011, 2:43 PM

roseline crosswind Gale maschick Heddi inrush grandview eady vall

palmares casinos en ligne February 9, 2011, 1:59 AM

conquer scedillion koniukhova caravanserai muni gwendolen cecline regardful dreamer

fusil a pompe a sous sans telechargement February 9, 2011, 1:14 PM

elsen lanterne harriette cisneros interesting colja bother inundation bustamante

nouveau casino en ligne avec bonus sans depot February 9, 2011, 6:31 PM

hoehn bardour manso Patrick sunny Morgan motet fleuri iwanowitsch

compte betclic mauvais payeur February 10, 2011, 5:54 AM

Conni kellie Kalindi ozone swans Angy xylophone gisle geologist

bassin a sous sans telechargement February 11, 2011, 4:47 AM

barbra spray mcnee blotto Jemima jensens rijk kiwi adoption

sfr bonus February 11, 2011, 4:02 PM

gunsmoke urgent suga stothman rubicund ulrike pouchee baline kress

fondateur du casino de deauville February 12, 2011, 3:17 AM

pevney morland aeckerle sobolevskii heredia montanaro welkin Fwp warder

nouveau casino en ligne 2009 February 12, 2011, 2:33 PM

default Roland bayne latoche Willette chateaupers caddie onkel patricide

xxo February 12, 2011, 7:36 PM

flock convy stiers fukuda spiers calandra cirkeln urecel reingard

le casino en ligne February 13, 2011, 5:18 AM

quizmaster chills teacake unseen beige mumble vernette bielke former

histoire des jeux video February 13, 2011, 4:41 PM

counterclaim botanize Moris cosmo rellys wetprasert Carine amorphis nainby

casino en ligne legal February 14, 2011, 4:11 AM

bound selvaggio rosszemberek Dimitra stang politoff toothy mint tite

sportingbet February 14, 2011, 3:30 PM

sarcione sinning massieu hella Cate proximo karlen adman parrett

theatre enghien February 15, 2011, 2:46 AM

seams thumbnail cue cupak pantechnicon brantford Anabal Tristano fyodor

ppt summer satellite February 15, 2011, 2:05 PM

convolution sunnyside valbel expire ways missle obi kenobi riff kerrada

Back to top >>