The Maternal Lineage: Identification, Desire and Transgenerational Issues, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Maternal Lineage

Identification, Desire and Transgenerational Issues, 1st Edition

Edited by Paola Mariotti


440 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415681650
pub: 2012-02-15
SAVE ~$10.79
Hardback: 9780415681643
pub: 2012-02-16
SAVE ~$33.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203078341
pub: 2012-09-10
from $26.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Why do women want to have children? How does one ‘learn’ to be a mother? Does having babies have anything to do with sex?

At a time when mothers are bombarded by prescriptive and contradicting advice on how to behave with their children, The Maternal Lineage highlights various psychological aspects of the mothering experience.

International contributors provide clinical examples of frequent and challenging situations that have received scarce attention in psychoanalysis, such as issues of neglect and psychical abuse. The transgenerational repetition from mother to daughter of distressing mothering patterns is evident throughout the book, and may seem inevitable. However, clinical examples and theoretical research indicate that, when the support of partner and friends is not enough, the cycle can be brought to an end if the mother receives psychoanalytic-informed professional help.

The Maternal Lineage is divided into four parts:

  • An Introduction including a review of the literature focusing on the mother-daughter relationship
  • Pregnancy and very early issues
  • Subfertility and its effects on a woman’s psyche
  • The psychological aspects of major mothering problems: miscarriages, post-natal depression, adolescent motherhood.

This timely book will be of value to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and health professionals – obstetricians, psychiatrists, midwives and social workers.


"The Maternal Lineage provides a thorough overview of the profoundly important but little-examined experience of mothering, and illuminates how psychoanalysis can help women going through this process." - Joanne A. Byars, AAPDP, Winter 2012

This is an important book, bringing together a diverse range of papers in the psychoanalytic tradition from around the world. … Mariotti has written a general introduction as well as an introduction to each section. I must say these are essays of the highest quality, which will become classic papers in their own right. They will be invaluable to students of psychotherapy and sociology. The contributors show it is possible to promote parental containment in different therapeutic contexts. - Marilyn Lawrence, Journal of Child Psychotherapy, Vol. 39 No. 2, 2013

Table of Contents

Mariotti, General Introduction. Mariotti, Mothering in Body and Mind – Introduction. Woods, Primary Maternal Preoccupation. Birksted-Breen, Peaceful Islands and Dangerous Jungles – Pregnancy: Opportunity or Impediment. A Psychoanalyst’s View. Parker, Mothering Ambivalence and Shame. Balsam, The Pregnant Mother and the Body Image of the Daughter. Furman, On Motherhood. Mariotti, Subfertility – Introduction. Leuzinger-Bohleber, The ‘Medea Fantasy’: An Unconscious Determinant of Psychogenic Sterility. Raphael-Leff, The Baby Makers: An In-depth Single-case Study of Conscious and Unconscious Psychological Reactions to Infertility and ‘Baby-making’. Zalusky-Blum, Infertility in the Age of Technology. Mariotti, When Not All Goes Well – Introduction. Pines, Pregnancy, Miscarriage and Abortion. Halberstadt-Freud, Post-Partum Depression and Symbiotic Illusion. Lemma, Keeping Envy in Mind – The Vicissitudes of Envy in Adolescent Motherhood. Baradon, "What is Genuine Maternal Love?": Clinical Considerations and Technique in Psychoanalytic Parent-infant Psychotherapy. Fraiberg, Adelson, Infant-parent Psychotherapy on Behalf of a Child in a Critical Nutritional State. Welldon, Bodies Across Generations and Cycles of Abuse.

About the Editor

Paola Mariotti is a fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society. She is a psychoanalyst in private practice. She was supervisor of a Unit in an NHS Hospital working with patients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder and has lectured and published on sexuality, reproductive issues and maternity extensively.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health