chapter  2
8 Pages

THE RELATIONSHIP OF A MOTHER TO HER BABY AT THE BEGINNING

We notice in the expectant mother an increasing identification with the infant. The infant links up with the idea of an ‘internal object’ in the mother, an object imagined to be set up inside and maintained there in spite of all the persecutory elements that also have place there. The baby has other meanings for the mother in the unconscious fantasy, but the predominant feature

may be a willingness as well as an ability on the part of the mother to drain interest from her own self on to the baby. I have referred to this aspect of a mother’s attitude as ‘primary maternal preoccupation’.