This book is about the hope underlying the ability to survive the early years.
Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is both metaphor and framework of the despair and hopelessness some babies and parents experience in their efforts to hold on and go through difficult circumstances. Their early experiences are not voyages “into a sunny and cheerful sea”: some are years-long voyages into horror and weariness--babies born into difficult families, into countries in difficulties or into difficult circumstances.
Some babies born into difficulties are pretty much alone because their mothers might be too ill to look after them, and nurses are too busy to fullfil the maternal function other than changing and feeding them. They may have been born in war zones, or in prisons, or have been in intensive neonatal premature units. Unlike mothers who recall the early years with their babies as a dance of understanding and development, other carers don’t recall hearing the music at all. They slog through the early years with only hope as a compass. Like the Ancient Mariner looking for a sail on the horizon, theirs is a poignant search of the horizons for hope in any form.
Different professionals – each expert in their field – address the different difficulties. They show us the connections between traumatic experiences and traumatic consequences of survival, the implications in both the families and in the professionals who, in constant contact and working together, deal with the containment and transformations of those events. This book brings us face-to-face with the wonderful capacities of the newborn and the great potential for parents (both mother and father) and child to continue growing together in a society that cares for them.
About the Author:
Stella Acquarone is the Director of the Parent-Infant Clinic of the School of Infant Mental Health in London and its branch in the USA. She is a practicing adult and child psychotherapist and has worked in the NHS for thirty one years. A member of the British Psychological Society, the Association of Child Psychotherapists and the London Centre for Psychotherapy, Acquarone has pioneered studies in early infant clinical research and development, and lectures internationally on all aspects of infant-parent development and psychotherapy. She has written extensively in professional papers, journals and chapters in books and has taught infant observational studies and new clinical strategies in working with disturbed children.