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Lester, E.P. Notman, M.T. (1988). Pregnancy and Object Relations: Clinical Considerations. Psychoanal. Inq., 8(2):196-221.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 8(2):196-221

Pregnancy and Object Relations: Clinical Considerations

Eva P. Lester, M.D. and Malkah T. Notman, M.D.

Having reviewed the psychoanalytic literature pertaining to femininity, the reproductive urge in women, and the preparation for pregnancy and motherhood, we now offer clinical material from three pregnant women, one of whom had two consecutive pregnancies while still in analysis. As already noted, Freud's proposition that the wish for pregnancy and for the baby as reparative has been seriously challenged. Subsequent investigators conclude that the wish for pregnancy and motherhood represents a fundamental psychobiological expression of femininity and relates biologically to the maturation of the reproductive organs and psychologically to an identification with mother.

Bibring was the first analyst to focus specifically on pregnancy as a crucial phase in the female life cycle. She and her co-workers (1961) proposed the concept of pregnancy as a maturational crisis. This work, however, although conceived within an analytic frame of reference was based primarily on periodic interviews of a number of primiparae during pregnancy and during the postnatal period.

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