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The Maternal Experience: Encounters With Ambivalence And Love

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The Maternal Experience explores the powerful and dynamic nature of maternal ambivalence and disrupts the conventional narrative of the mother’s lived experience by arguing that encounters with conflicting feelings are both universal and have the capacity to stimulate and enrich her maternal love.

The book draws on the author’s personal mothering experiences, those of other women, and examples from film to inspire new introspection about the everyday maternal experience. Lowy takes a psychosocial approach to weave thinking from selected psychoanalytic and contemporary accounts together with personal stories to explore how maternal ambivalence operates, and how mothering is sourced in psychic struggles between loving and hating feelings in an atmosphere that is rife with social and personal expectations and prohibitions. By reworking the experience of maternal ambivalence, the book secures an understanding of the mother’s feelings of hatred as a catalyst for her love and allows these maligned and taboo emotions to be named and reframed into acceptable and transformative feelings.

Brought alive by examples from film and first-hand experience, this book is fascinating reading for academics and students of psychology, maternal and women’s studies, and sociology, as well as practitioners in the fields of psychology, social work, medicine and counselling.

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mother daughter kiss

This is an engaging and well-written book about a topic that needs to be discussed; that alongside loving feelings are hating ones which together with joy, sadness, anxiety, etc form the mosaic of the real experience of the mother.

Lorraine Rose

Psychoanalytic psychotherapist and author

This accessible, scholarly book skilfully blends historic and contemporary theories from motherhood studies, and weaves in examples from film to illustrate their resonance in modern times.

Nollaig Frost

Professor and Author

Margo Lowy takes on the often taboo but essential aspect of mothering in Maternal Experience. Lowy convincingly demonstrates the normality of ambivalent feelings and how these might become a transformative part of maternal love.

David Mann

Psychoanalytic psychotherapist and author