MOTHERHOOD AS METAMORPHOSIS by Joyce Block

MOTHERHOOD AS METAMORPHOSIS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A look at the powerful effects of the birth of a baby on the mother and on all the people around her, by a psychologist and mother of a four-year-old. If airline pilots were as ill-prepared for flying as most Americans are for parenting, they would not be able to find the light switch in the cockpit. Mothers and fathers need as much help as they can get in raising their babies to adulthood. This book, with its title so suggestive of positive change, addresses some of the questions that concern parents of the 1990's. Should mothers with jobs outside the home feel guilty? How about mothers with no job outside the home? Why do some new mothers feel more womanly but less ""feminine?"" Block examines the radical changes that occur as mother and baby merge and emerge from each other, and the effects this relationship has on other relationships. The problem is that while Block raises these and other critical questions, the answers are restatements of the work of writers and teachers who were more eloquent and more impassioned in their originals. For instance, both Nancy Chodorow and Alice Miller have diagrammed the conscious and unconscious memories that dictate an individual's style of mothering. And although nearly all of Block's case histories are of women over 30, she does not deal sufficiently with the issues of age: the physical challenge of bearing and raising babies, the rewards of maturity and experience, the surprise of reenacting parental patterns of child-rearing, thought long buried. A strong start, but a weak follow-through on a very promising subject.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1990
Publisher: Dutton