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Our First Family Therapy Session in a Children's Psych Ward (Chapter 6)

The first full day Sunshine was gone, I didn't have a chance to even think about missing her.

We needed to supply her meals in the pediatric psychiatric ward because she has so many allergies.  

I ran to the store to pick up all of her favorite things and then my husband and I prepared meals.

All of us went to visit her so the other children could see where she was staying.  

We drove there, visited, drove back, and then my husband had to go to work.

I literally spent the rest of the day in a haze.  

My other children needed some down time after having been tossed around for a week, so we all just did our own thing.

The hospital that Sunshine was staying called and wanted to schedule our first family therapy session in a children's psych ward for the next day, Sunday.

Mother's Day.

Our First Family Therapy Session in a Children's Psych Ward


Sunday was the first day my husband had off since we had taken Sunshine to the second ER.

For the first time we could talk about how we were feeling, and how NOT okay we were.

I don't know how long we held each other or how long I sobbed into my husband's chest, but it was at least a couple of hours.

The negative emotions were just so strong.

For both of us.

We felt them all and for so many different reasons.




That was just the beginning.

Then there was the confusion and guilt about any positive emotions we felt.

It was pure torment.

What a way to start off Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day! NOT!

We couldn't take too much time feeling and expressing emotions, because we had to make more meals for Sunshine and get ready for our first family therapy session and another visit.  

But at least we knew where we were both at and that was important.

For years to come I will look back on this Mother's Day, remembering Sunshine was in a psych ward and our Mother's Day celebration was our first family therapy session there.

Words don't do the trauma justice.

But, Mother's Day was the only day my husband had off, so we had no choice.

The therapy session went as well as one would expect.

There were serious concerns.

Sunshine was not okay.

As a mother of a child of Reactive Attachment Disorder, it's so easy to feel that it's all your fault.

Professionals are also very good at reinforcing this idea.

An Unhappy Ending

All four kids played together after we finished the  therapy session in a designated area.

And then... 

Sunshine became aggressive again.

Staff pulled her off and a way from us.

She had to be removed from the visit.

I was unable to say goodbye.

There were no hugs.

There were no kisses.

The kids were left traumatized.

Our family was escorted out of the pediatric psych ward.

And that was it.

Not Ready to Go Home

I just couldn't go home after that.

Though it was Sunday, and we would never consider such an option in normal circumstances, we decided to go out to eat.

The kids were starving and struggling with the traumatic ending to the visit.

We needed to do something.

So Red Lobster it was.

I ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri as a Mother's Day gift to myself.

The kids ordered their favorite meals.

My husband went with his go-to meal.

We just sat there, talking about nothing, and enjoyed the moment of peace, yet unable to forget what just happened.

I couldn't eat very much.

Thankfully, the kids had no issues with this.

They ordered their favorite desserts.

Our waitress was wonderful.

And finally, we all decided we were ready to make the 45 minute drive home over the mountain.

Changing Plans

That night I decided I couldn't handle visiting Sunshine every day as we had originally planned.

It was just too much.

The visits were too traumatizing.

My heart couldn't take it.

Starting the next day my husband and I took turns visiting Sunshine in the psychiatric ward every other day.

We'd wake up early, prepare her meals, get the other kids through their morning routines and breakfast, and then one of us would leave.

The hospital was 45 minutes one way.  

The visit lasted about an hour.  

We'd drive 45 minutes home and then my husband would have another 30 minutes before he had to leave for work.

This was our new normal.

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy and want to follow our story, be sure to read the posts below.

Call the Police! What You Don't Want to Have Happen When Your Child is in the ER for Mental Health Reasons What Should Happen When Your Child is in the ER for Mental Health Reasons Check-in-at an inpatient children's psychiatric hospital My Daughter is inpatient at a Children's Psych Ward Our First Family Session in a Psych Ward Nine Days This Was Not Okay Miracles What Family Life Looks Like After a Mental Health Crisis is Over To Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder Special Needs Support and Resources

Our First Family Therapy Session in a Children's Psych Ward


  1. I am still praying for you and Sunshine and the whole family. Hugs

  2. I'm so sorry your family is going through all this. I hope things get better and Sunshine gets better. Keep praying and keeping your head up. You are a wonderful mother and after the strongest mother I know! You can get through this.

  3. I need to know more!! Where is your family at now?