ASSOCIATION of Relinquishing Mothers (ARMS) committee secretary Jo Fraser was counselling a woman who had gone through forced adoption.
“I asked her where she had her child and she said Queen Vic and I said ‘same as me’,” Ms Fraser said.
“She burst into tears and said ‘that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone say that to me’.”
Now, Ballarat and district mothers who were forced to give up children can also benefit from a local ARMS support group, starting Saturday.
Ms Fraser, who had to give up her first son several decades ago, said they hoped to get in touch with women who had not already contacted them.
She said the meetings were non-judgemental and confidential.
“It’s just being in a room with other women who know exactly what you’re feeling and what you’ve gone through.
“We might have different stories but we’re all under the umbrella of the same sort of experience. It’s complete empathy.”
Ms Fraser said the meeting would involve initial introductions and an ARMS committee member telling her personal story.
“If they (women attending) want to talk about themselves, they can.
“If they just want to listen they can.
“Often women will sit there and listen to someone else talk and then all of a sudden it will come pouring out.
ARMS support group meetings have been held in Melbourne for 30 years, while other groups have been set up at Geelong and Traralgon.
Ms Fraser said the ARMS committee members were not psychologists but rather gave women practical advice, such as how to reconnect with their child.
The meeting will be at 119 Lydiard Street North from 2pm. To book, call Ms Fraser on 0409 442 701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women can also just attend on the day but some notice would be appreciated.
For more information, visit www.armsvic.org.au