Writing a Book for Mothers Apart

This week I’ve started writing a book that has been many years in the making.

Before this week, I’ve been preparing to spend some time working out exactly what type of book it is that I want to write… a self-help book for mothers apart, a memoir, an autoethnography, a novel, a practitioner handbook?

No sooner had I retrieved my A1 flipchart paper, my felt pens and post-it notes to begin storyboarding (taught to me by the amazing Wendy Stainton-Rogers) my decision was made. I needed to go into my old uni email account for some information and there was an unread email from a friend of mother apart, Lisa Jenkins, who wrote to me last year to tell me about the circumstances of not being able to see her children. This is what Lisa’s friend’s email said:

You don’t know me but my friend, Lisa Jenkins, wrote to you last year asking for advice on how best to deal with the maternal alienation her partner was inflicting on her and her children.

Sadly Lisa was found dead, on the Isle of Man, last month.  I know she was grateful for your suggestions. 

Myself and some of her friends would like to do something around MA in her memory, if you have any suggestions we would be most grateful to you.

The news is devastating, tragic and so terribly sad.

There is currently an enquiry but if, as I suspect, Lisa found the pain of mother-child separation so unbearable that she ended her life, then the enquiry won’t record any such details. It will simply conclude there were no suspicious circumstances or third-party involvement in Lisa’s death, and this will be accepted by the court. End of story.

Reading Lisa’s friend’s email, I knew instantly the book I needed to write. I went back to Lisa’s email and it was all there – her story just like many other stories, including my own once upon a time: mother apart struggling to find a way back to her beloved children, desperately seeking advice and support from anyone who might be able to help.

So, I’ve started writing a book for mothers apart.

I’ll be sharing the draft as I go for feedback, so watch this space…

And Lisa, my heart goes out to you (and your children). You were a loving mother and a good friend to many.  Yes, I would like to do something around MA in your memory as your friend suggests. I would like to honour you in my book.

About Dr Laura Monk

I am a researcher and counselling tutor based at University of Nottingham. My doctoral research investigated how to improve professionals' responses to mothers who become separated from their children. I developed a training workshop for the professionals who mothers come into contact with - largely at the intersection of health and social care, the family courts and domestic abuse services. I am also a counsellor and psychotherapist and offer feminist therapy for survivors of domestic abuse - especially coercive control. I am a Women's Aid domestic violence prevention advocate.
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3 Responses to Writing a Book for Mothers Apart

  1. Michelle says:

    Heart braking my she rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dawn Bayton says:

    So sad to read the tragic story of your friend Lisa. My heart also goes out to her and her children. A wonderful idea to honour a wonderful Mother in your book.
    All the very best in this new project for you Laura, I know you will tackle the subject matter with compassion, insight and depth. Lots of Mother’s are standing with you in this.


    • Thank you for your support and confidence in me, Dawn. I’ll work hard to do justice to all the mothers apart out there, especially those who gave their time so generously to this project.

      I didn’t know Lisa, personally, but she was a devoted mother who was desperately seeking help to get her children back. She wrote to me at great length and seemed incredibly brave, active and resourceful. I don’t know what happened – it’s really tragic.

      All best wishes, Laura


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