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Trad, P.V. (1990). On Becoming a Mother: In the Throes of Developmental Transformations. Psychoanal. Psychol., 7(3):341-361.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 7(3):341-361

On Becoming a Mother: In the Throes of Developmental Transformations

Paul V. Trad, M.D.

Parenthood, particularly motherhood, is one of the most common and powerful transformations in human experience. Recent clinical evidence suggests that the physiological and psychological transformations experienced by women while pregnant exert a significant impact on the relationship forged with the infant after birth. After childbirth, the new mother undergoes further transformation as the infant begins to manifest developmental autonomy. However, the cultural induction that women receive which mandates the expression of only positive and nurturing emotions towards the infant may make it difficult for them to express any ambivalent impulses aroused by their infant's burgeoning independence because such feelings are considered socially unacceptable for new mothers. Dreams and fantasies reported by pregnant women and new mothers during these transformation periods offer predictive insight into how the patient will master the challenges posed by motherhood. Five case studies are presented, tracing the development of transformation themes through prepregnancy, pregnancy, and early motherhood.

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