By Deborah Sessions
Illustrated by Susan Chalkley
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This illustrated book for children is written from the point of view of the child of a multiple parent. It is an ideal vehicle with which to introduce the concept of multiplicity to the young children of newly diagnosed parents. Authored by a mother with MPD, My Mom Is Different addresses many of the concerns of such children; confusion about the parent’s relationship with a therapist (a relationship that many children find frightening); anger about hospitalization and fear of hospital visits; and the pain and disruption that a parent experiences when remembering past traumatic events (even though recovering memories is ultimately beneficial).
The tone of this book is hopeful, although it does not shy away from difficult subjects. For example, it addresses the longing of children of “different” parents to have “regular” parents, and their discomfort with discussing their parent’s situation with their friends. The book clearly explains to children what a “survivor” is, what an “alter” is, and how alters may behave.
My Mom Is Different will help parents, both those who are multiple and those who are not, talk effectively with their children about MPD, addressing how multiplicity works and how it may affect the feelings of the child. It discusses children’s fears that their dissociative parent no longer loves them or that the parent will go away and never come back. This book also deals with children’s embarrassment about a parent’s behavior, absences, bad days, and more.
Always positive, My Mom Is Different reinforces the idea that, even with the difficulties that dissociation may bring, a family with a multiple parent can be loving, supportive, and nurturing, and problems can be overcome.
“This is a sensitive and caring book, with meaningful illustrations. It is a much needed contribution to the literature of child dissociation.”
-Gary Peterson, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
“This book uses simple language to familiarize a young child with the circumstance of having a parent with a dissociative disorder. Sometimes children feel that their own problems are so unique that no one can understand. My Mom Is Different will be particularly helpful to children of mothers with MPD by providing them the comfort of knowing that they are not alone.”
-Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., Senior Psychologist and Coordinator of Child and Adolescent Dissociative Disorders Program, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Baltimore