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The mothers taking part

I invited eight mothers who had taken part in the twelve-month observation of their baby, conducted by trainees within the Master of Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at Monash University between 2001 and 2003, to participate in the study. Three (to whom I will refer as Sandra, Fiona and Mary), consented to take part in the study, two of whom (Sandra and Fiona) had their infant observed in 2001, and one (Mary) in 2003.

Sandra and Fiona's observations had come to an end in 2002, while the observation of Mary's baby had only ended a few months prior to the interview for the research. All three mothers were aged between twenty-eight and forty-five; Fiona and Mary had children older than their observed baby while Sandra was a first-time mother. All were middle class, educated women and were in live-in relationships with the baby's father. Sandra and Fiona provided the primary care to their baby during the twelve months of the observation, while Mary was present for the observation in the first six months, and less frequently in the latter part of the observation, when her baby's father was present during the whole observational hour.

Sandra, Fiona, and Mary were keen to talk about their experience of the observation. They varied, however, in their responsiveness during the interview and in their enthusiasm about giving detailed examples of experiences they were asked about, and in comfort with reflecting upon the meaning of various experiences. The interview required them to engage in an exploratory process. At times, they gave more superficial replies to questions, although as the interview progressed, issues would be raised and thought about in more depth. At times, I needed to facilitate their responses through greater prompting and probing questions.

 
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