The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood

The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood

The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood

The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood

Synopsis

Mixed feelings about motherhood--uncertainty over having a child, fears of pregnancy and childbirth, or negative thoughts about one's own children--are not just hard to discuss, they are a powerful social taboo. In this beautifully written book, Barbara Almond brings this troubling issue to light. She uncovers the roots of ambivalence, tells how it manifests in lives of women and their children, and describes a spectrum of maternal behavior--from normal feelings to highly disturbed mothering. In a society where perfection in parenting is the unattainable ideal, this compassionate book also shows how women can affect positive change in their lives.

Excerpt

This book developed from two primary sources: my own experiences, struggles, and anxieties as a mother and my clinical work with patients in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis over the course of thirty-seven years of practice. Having gone through medical school thinking I would become a pediatrician, I became a mother first. And once I was a mother I found it too disturbing to imagine taking care of ill and sometimes dying children. I decided to pursue instead further training in adult psychiatry. Within psychiatry, my interests turned to the practice of psychotherapy and eventually to psychoanalysis. Despite the many amazing and helpful developments in psychopharmacology over the past thirty years, my deepest interest was and is in the mind, its conscious and unconscious aspects and how these connect to disturbed feelings and behaviors.

The work I do with my patients, whether psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, is based on the premise that what you don’t know can hurt you. Our personalities are deeply connected to our experiences in early life, most of which we have forgotten. However, these expe-

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