The Birth of an Adoptive, Foster or Stepmother: Beyond Biological Mothering Attachments

The Birth of an Adoptive, Foster or Stepmother: Beyond Biological Mothering Attachments

The Birth of an Adoptive, Foster or Stepmother: Beyond Biological Mothering Attachments

The Birth of an Adoptive, Foster or Stepmother: Beyond Biological Mothering Attachments

Synopsis

"Adoptive, foster and stepmothers, like biological mothers, find their lives completely changed by motherhood although they are not always granted the rights and privileges accorded to those who give birth. Barbara Waterman explores the common experiences that are shared by all those who enter the motherhood portal. She highlights the importance of wider family, community and professional support for non-biological parents and primary care-givers of both genders, and their children. A stepmother herself and a practicing psychologist, Waterman's writing is illustrated throughout with vignettes of children and parents from a range of backgrounds. She shows the important ways in which a non-biological attachment is both more similar to and more different from a biological attachment than is currently understood. In doing this, Waterman broadens the notion of the 'traditional' family, and offers a positive alternative to the myth of the perfect mother. All kinds of step-, adoptive and foster families and those coming into contact with them will find this thoroughly researched and personal book an indispensable guide." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

A mother is likened unto a mountain that nourishes the tree at its root, but
one who mothers another’s child is likened unto a water that rises into a
cloud and goes a long distance to nourish a lone tree in the desert.

(The Talmud)

Conceiving this book

Like many women in my cohort, I came up against the limits of infertility when I attempted to get pregnant in my late thirties and early forties. My subsequent efforts to adopt an infant were equally unsuccessful, as 15 birthmother contacts and four near-miss babies later I gave up this venue for becoming a mother. Coincidentally, I met the father of my stepdaughters in the midst of my adoption quest. By the time his twin daughters were 14 they moved in with him full-time, we became engaged and a year later we got married. As things unfolded, I found becoming a mother to these two girls as profound an experience as any woman giving birth to a baby would as she enters into the mother role.

On joining my new family, motherhood completely took me over. That is, I lost my mind the way many mothers of infants have described: my brain turned to mush - and this with new ‘babies’ old enough to be mothers themselves! I devoted my whole being to fathoming my stepdaughters’ emotional needs, while I tried to match their feeling states and help them through the adolescent doldrums. All relationships, never mind . . .

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