1st Edition

What Do Mothers Want?
Developmental Perspectives, Clinical Challenges

Edited By

Sheila F. Brown

ISBN 9781138009875
Published September 11, 2014 by Routledge

USD $62.95

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Book Description

What do mothers want and need from their parenting partners, their extended families, their friends, colleagues, and communities? And what can mental health professionals do to help them meet their daunting responsibilities in the contemporary world? The talented contributors to What Do Mothers Want? address these questions from perspectives that encompass differences in marital status, parental status, gender, and sexual orientation. Traversing the biological, psychological, cultural, and economic dimensions of mothering, they provide a compelling brief on the perplexing choices confronting mothers in the contemporary world.

Of course, mothers most basically want their children to be safe and healthy. But to this end they want and need many things: caring partners, intergenerational and community support, a responsive workplace, public services, and opportunities to share their experiences with other mothers. And they want their feelings and actions as mothers to be understood and accepted by those around them and by society at large. The role of psychotherapy in reaching these latter goals is taken up by many of the contributors. They reflect on the special psychological challenges of pregnancy, birth, and the arrival of a newborn into a couple’s (whether hetero- or homosexual) life, and they address new venues of therapeutic assistance, such as brief low-cost therapy for at-risk mothers and infants and group interventions to help couples grow into the new role of parental couples.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Sheila Feig Brown
I. What Mothers Want and Need
1. The Psychic Landscape of Mothers - Daniel N. Stern
2. Loving and Hating Mothers and Daughters: Thoughts on the Role of Their Physicality - Rosemary H. Balsam
3. What Mothers and Babies Need: The Maternal Third and Its Presence in Clinical Work - Jessica Benjamin
4. What Fathers Do and How They Do It - James M. Herzog
5. What Do Mothers and Grandmothers Know and Want? - Sara Ruddick
6. What Is a Mother? Gay and Lesbian Perspectives on Parenting - Jack Drescher, Deborah Glazer, Lee Crespi, & David Schwartz
7.  It's A(p)Parent: New Family Narratives Needed - Adria E. Schwartz
8.  What Does a Mother Want and Need from Her Child's Therapist? - Daniel Gensler and Robin Shafran
II. Women's Bodies: Choices and Dilemmas
9. "Too Late": Ambivalence about Motherhood, Choice, and Time - Nancy J. Chodorow
10. Pregnancy - Sharon Kofman and Ruth Imber
11. Facts and Fantasies about Infertility - Allison Rosen
12. Layers upon Layers: The Complicated Terrain of Eating Disorders and the Mother-Child Relationship -  Jean Petrucelli and Catherine Stuart
III. Pulling It All Together
13. Listen to My Words: Maternal Life in Colors and Cycles of Time - Jane Lazarre
14. To Be Partners and Parents: The Challenge for Couples Who Are Parents - Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip A. Cowan

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"What Do Mothers Want? is written for our profession. It belongs in courses on feminism. It is theoretically sophisticated enough and clinically applicable enough to be worthwhile for anyone's study of what it means to be a woman."

- Johanna Krout Tabin, Ph.D., ABPP, Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, Fall 2007 

“I cannot think of another book in which such an impressive group of clinicians has come together to deal with all aspects of the profound life changes set in motion by the birth of a baby. This book is unique in that it goes beyond motherhood in the literal sense to include how the birth of a baby affects fathers, grandparents, the marital couple, and gay and lesbian parents. Furthermore, several chapters tackle difficult subjects, such as infertility and ambivalence, that gain expression in the early mother–child relationship. Each contributor has a uniquely valuable perspective that brings something special to the volume.” 

- Anni Bergman, Ph.D., Director, Parent-Infant and Parent-Toddler Program, New York Freudian Society

“Turning Freud's provocative question - what does a woman want? - to mothers, this book explores what has often been a hidden world of desire. And yet, as Daniel Stern writes that mothers want to fall in love with their babies and Sara Ruddick, speaking as a grandmother, says that mothers want to keep their children safe and to foster their capacity for joy, we begin to see the implications - political as well as psychodynamic - of asking mothers what they want and listening to their answers.”

- Carol Gilligan, Ph.D., Author, In a Differnet Voice and The Birth of Pleasure