Home Sociology Infant Observation: Creating Transformative Relationships
The shadow of ending: a retrospective qualitative research study of mothers' experience of infant observation
This chapter focuses on the experience of infant observation for three mothers. The primary emphasis is on the emerging relationship between mother and observer and how this relationship shapes mothers' experience of the yearlong observation. I will discuss their impressions of the observation and their relationship with the observer, prior to the observation starting, through to its ending and afterwards, and also explore some complexities of the mother-observer dynamic. I will discuss how the observation and relationship with the observer, after initial anxiety, becomes a supportive and containing experience for mothers, which enhances their capacity to understand their infants better and be more receptive to them. The ending of the observation and the mothers' experience of unresolved feelings of loss and abandonment will also be discussed. In conclusion I will suggest some implications for the practice of infant observation and for future research in this area.
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