Babies and Their Mothers

By D. W. Winnicott; Clare Winnicott et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
Dependence in Child Care

IT is valuable to recognize the fact of dependence. Dependence is real. That babies and children cannot manage on their own is so obvious that the simple facts of dependence are easily lost.

It can be said that the story of the growing child is a story of absolute dependence moving steadily through lessening degrees of dependence, and groping towards independence. A mature child or adult has a kind of independence that is happily mixed in with all sorts of needs, and with love which becomes evident when loss brings about a state of grief.

Before birth the absolute dependence of the baby is thought of chiefly in physical or bodily terms. The last weeks of the baby's life in the womb affect the baby's bodily development and there is room for an idea of the beginnings of a sense of security (or of insecurity) according to the state of an unborn baby's mind, which of course is very restricted in its ability to function at this early stage because of lack of full development of the brain. Also there is a variable amount

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