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Mori, G.F. (2012). The Complex Interweaving of Biology and the Unconscious on the Development towards Motherhood. Ital. Psychoanal. Annu., 6:169-181.

(2012). The Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 6:169-181

The Complex Interweaving of Biology and the Unconscious on the Development towards Motherhood Language Translation

Gina Ferrara Mori

Translated by:
Sean Mark

How can we conceptualize, what meanings can we give to the establishment of the mental spaces necessary for the construction of a real and an inner, motherhood? And what are we to make of the delicate and mysterious interweaving of biology and the unconscious in the wish for motherhood, at both levels? These questions have featured prominently in a great deal of the research that I have been pursuing, for quite some time, with the collaboration of a group of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts (Ferrara Mori, 2008). The aim of our work has been to explore the different scenarios of «what the child does and does not do», and the beginnings of the mother-child relationship, making use of observation and listening that have allowed us to get in touch with the gestational experience, and think and narrate it.

The settings for this research were:

ο    Preliminary talks before infant observation, consisting in the encounter between the observer and the pregnant woman in the last stage of pregnancy, in her living environment (according to the Esther Bick method);

ο    prenatal preparatory groups, encouraging participants to talk freely on their subjective experiences of pregnancy by developing a climate of participation, under the supervision of a midwife and a psychologist;

ο    Psychoanalytic consulting rooms, in clinical cases of patients planning to have a baby, and going through the pregnancy and the post-partum stages while under treatment;

ο    Pre-infant observation, which follows the mothers-to-be from the beginning of the pregnancy (an extension of the Bick method);

ο    During ultrasound scans, in the presence of a psychologist and a gynaecologist;

ο    Consultation rooms for pregnant women, both on demand and after referral from a doctor or specialist.


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