Author Barbara Jaffe, like millions of other children, understood by the age of ten that if her brother hadn’t died, she would not have been born. When her parents contemplated a life for her surviving brother, Stephen, they decided that he should have a replacement for his deceased brother, so Barbara was born. Barbara’s mother was thrilled to have had a girl after two boys, and while she claimed she was elated to have a daughter, her actions often reflected otherwise, for, like many replacement children, Barbara’s gender was in stark contrast to the little boy they had loved and lost. On the one hand, her mother frequently reminded her that a daughter was special, but Barbara felt that she never seemed to live up to the model her mother envisioned for her daughter. She always fell short. And falling short—never being adequate, satisfactory, “enough”–became the subtext of her life as she moved from childhood through adulthood.
With each pivotal occasion in her life—graduation, marriage, motherhood, graduate school, career, Barbara paid a price with silence. In time, Barbara learned that she had to fix the broken pieces within herself in order to help anyone else; she had to at least identify her lost sense of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. All of these “selves” had been stunted; now, they needed to be nurtured, not by others, but by Barbara herself. Barbara has worked tirelessly to strengthen her inner core, and has finally found her voice. When Will I Be Good Enough? is the first memoir focused on the emotional issues of the Replacement Child Syndrome by a replacement child. However, what has come to light is that there are many other categories of “replacement children” who feel the same way. Adopted children are often expected to “replace” a couple’s not-to-be-born, natural child. Survivors of 9/11 and contemporary terrorism/trauma are another category of “replacement children” who feel they must live up to the potential of those who did not survive. Many struggle with issues of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and overall identity issues. Through her book, Barbara looks forward to helping others pursue a full and honorable life, one they can pass on to their children and then, to future generations. While the circumstances of her birth reflect her position as the replacement child, today she chooses to view herself as the unique individual she is – a replacement child no more!