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Reform Magazine | November 29, 2023

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I am… the mother of a ‘lifer’

I am… the mother of a ‘lifer’

Serving a sentence as the mother of a convict

It’s a strange world. Behind this very ordinary, run-of-the-mill woman, shopping alongside you in the supermarket, chatting with you over a coffee in the kitchen, praying in the pew next to you in church, hides a secret identity which, once revealed, can never be hidden again. It is hard to decide when to let people in on the secret.

When my son went to prison as a teenager with two indeterminate sentences, my life changed in an instant.

My family was torn apart. I was shocked, bereaved, frustrated, angry and desolate. We had to move from the very close community we lived in. I lost several people I had thought were close friends. And all through something totally beyond my control, and through no fault of my own.

I felt, and still feel, tainted by the events of ten years ago. Their impact on my life will last a long, long time – far beyond my son’s rehabilitation and release from prison.

I knew I had done everything I could to help him learn right from wrong, to develop a conscience and an understanding of consequences. There was no sense of guilt there – at least, no more than any parent has…

This is an extract from a longer article published in the March 2019 edition of Reform. The column is anonymous. If you have a story to share, email


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