1st Edition

Women's Stories of Divorce at Childbirth
When the Baby Rocks the Cradle

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ISBN 9780789012913
Published May 29, 2002 by Routledge
254 Pages

USD $225.00

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Book Description

Explore the reasons that new families break up!

This landmark book examines the causes and consequences of divorce occurring during pregnancy or within a year of childbirth. Women’s Stories of Divorce at Childbirth: When the Baby Rocks the Cradle draws from the experiences of seventeen women who suffered this especially traumatic form of family breakup. Using ideas gleaned from psychoanalytic theory, academic psychology, attachment theory, sociology, trauma studies, and infant development research, Dr. Hoge examines the personal, familial, and social significance of these stories of personal betrayal and heartbreak.

The women’s narratives show in stark detail how the transition to parenthood can become a personal crisis for some new fathers and mothers, one that may prompt them to run away, search out extramarital affairs, or lapse into addictions. Women’s Stories of Divorce at Childbirth also explores the short- and long-term effects of the resulting trauma, grief, and anger felt by the spouse left holding the baby. Because the women’s stories are discussed throughout the book, they become more than random cases chosen to illustrate a single point.

Women’s Stories of Divorce at Childbirth discusses the important issues of early divorce, including:

  • parenthood as transition and transformation
  • emotional ramifications of extreme-condition divorces
  • economic consequences of divorce at childbirth
  • the lasting emotional reactions of infants and children

    Women’s Stories of Divorce at Childbirth is a powerful, insightful examination of a potentially devastating problem. This well-written book will become a uniquely valuable resource to counselors and mental health professionals, couples having difficulty with the transition to parenthood, new parents who are considering divorce, and survivors of divorce at childbirth.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part I: Causes of Divorce at Childbirth
  • Chapter 1. Transition to Parenthood: Why Might It Be Difficult?
  • Effects of Childbirth on Couples’ Relationships
  • Parenthood As a Developmental Phase
  • Parenthood As a Developmental Line
  • Parenthood As a Unique Psychic Organizer: Stern
  • Parenthood As Triadification
  • Summary
  • Chapter 2. Parenthood As a Personal Crisis
  • Carol: Motherhood’s Magnifying Lens
  • Parenthood As Crisis: Why Panic?
  • Sarah and Zach: When Maternal Preoccupation Feels Toxic
  • Issues Activated by Childbirth
  • Internal Schemas Activated by Childbirth: Stern
  • How Are Issues and Internal Representations Activated?
  • What Goes Wrong? From Personal Crisis to Meltdown
  • Summary
  • Chapter 3. Transition versus Transformation: Comparing Two Models
  • Model One: Transformation
  • Model Two: Transition
  • Combined Model: Additive Stress Plus Transformation
  • Summary
  • Part II: Effects of Divorce at Childbirth
  • Chapter 4. Psychological Effects of Divorce at Childbirth: How Do Parents Cope Emotionally?
  • Initial Effects of Divorce: Activation of the Attachment System
  • Bella: Hope’s Captive
  • Grief’s Terminable and Interminable
  • Sandra: Unable to Grieve
  • Long-Term Impact of Divorce: What Helps; What Does Not
  • Trauma versus Grief
  • Summary
  • Chapter 5. Economic Impact of Divorce at Childbirth
  • Divorce Economics
  • Effects of Lowered Income on Mothers’ Mental Health
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 6. Effects of Divorce on Children
  • Difficulty Accurately Assessing Children’s Reactions to Loss
  • Adverse Effects of Divorce on Children
  • Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: What Happens When They Enter Adulthood?
  • Cause or Effect? Or What Should Parents Do?
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 7. When the Bough Breaks: Effect of Divorce on Infants
  • Jason: Searching for a Father
  • Research on How Divorce Affects Infants
  • Attachment Theory: The Importance of the First Year of Life
  • Emotional Communication in the First Year of Life
  • Mimi: Depression’s Shadow
  • Conclusion
  • Part III: Conclusion
  • Chapter 8. Discussion
  • What Did These Women Think Caused Their Marriages to End?
  • Did Common Themes Emerge?
  • The Effects of Separation/Divorce on These Women: What Was Most Difficult?
  • How Did the Breakups Affect Their Mothering Capacity?
  • How Have Relationships with Ex-Husbands Evolved?
  • Did Their Childhoods Hold Any Relevant Information?
  • Surviving This Difficult Time: How Did These Women Attempt to Heal?
  • Summary
  • Chapter 9. Conclusion
  • Findings Relevant to Research on Transition to Parenthood
  • Findings Relevant to Research on Divorce
  • Comparing Trauma and Grief Reactions
  • Guidelines for Clinicians
  • References
  • Index

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