What Is Empty Nest Syndrome?
Empty nest syndrome is not a clinical diagnosis. It is a phenomenon in which parents experience feelings of sadness, emptiness, loss when their last child leaves home. While we all know that this is a good thing and is inevitable and would be a sign of a problem if it does not happen, we still usually do not feel good when it happens.
We all know that our goal as parents is to make our children independent, autonomous adults, the experience of letting go can be very painful.
It is hard not to have children in your home who need care and attention. Sometimes, there is a sense of having no purpose in life.
There are also worries about their safety, well being, their ability to actually take care of themselves.
Parents dealing with empty nest syndrome often have a profound sense of loss which can make them vulnerable to depression, alcoholism, identity, and marital crisis.
There is often a deep void, it is hard to adjust.
These feelings are normal and usually ease with time. In the beginning stages of this, it is critical to reach out to family and friends and talk about these feelings. Some will need professional help as this can trigger old feelings of abandonment and loss.
It is important to see this as a life passage both for you and your children. You need to trust that you are not losing them and will have a relationship going forward albeit somewhat different, but not worse than before. You will still be a parent, always.
Just like childbirth, many people have gone through this and have survived. You will too.