This book is about the hope underlying the ability to survive the early years. Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is both metaphor and framework of the despair and hopelessness that some babies and parents experience in their efforts to hold on and go through difficult circumstances. Their early experiences are not voyages "into a sunny and cheerful sea": some are years-long voyages into horror and weariness - babies born into difficult families, into countries in difficulties or into difficult circumstances. Some babies born into difficulties are pretty much alone because their mothers might be too ill to look after them, and nurses are too busy to fulfil the maternal function other than changing and feeding them. They may have been born in war zones, or in prisons, or have been in intensive neonatal premature units. Unlike mothers who recall the early years with their babies as a dance of understanding and development, other carers don't recall hearing the music at all.