This is an introduction to Dr. Beatrice Beebe's work, which emphasizes the crucial importance of each mother's on-going attachment to her unique child. Read More
I read the title of this post- "The Deepest Bond: Our First Love" with cynicism, and read on with relief. My mother didn't recognize me as her own - in my earliest memory (around 18mnths) I'm too frightened of her to get her attention, even though I needed it.
When my husband and I brought our baby son home from hospital I discovered that I couldn't meet his eyes. As he lay in my lap I realized I would flick my eyes away whenever he looked at me. I couldn't force myself to look into his eyes so instead I dropped my head over his and let my hair tickle him. He responded with seeming pleasure, which made it easier for me to respond to him.
Thirteen years later I think he and I have a good relationship - communicative, warm, trusting, mutually respectful and increasingly independent, but I'm sure he was affected by my distant, strange behaviour during his first few years.
Thanks for this post. I have come across references to Dr Beebe and her work elsewhere, but this will provoke me to actually read further.
Hello Barbara. Thanks so much for your comment, and I'm so glad you "read on with relief." This post is especially written for those of you who have had this experience with their own mothers, and often carry heavy shame about their own mothering. My guess is that you found hundreds of ways around your inability to look into your son's eyes, and that he's been able to feel your deep love for him in other ways. I do recommend that you read more of Dr. Beebe's work: it's absolutely fascinating!
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Helen Davey, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in West Los Angeles. She writes for Huffington Post.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?