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(p. 55) For Stepparents 

(p. 55) For Stepparents
Chapter:
(p. 55) For Stepparents
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271374.003.0010
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date: 26 April 2018

If there are two mothers, a real one who has died and a stepmother, a child often gets relief by making one perfect and the other horrid. The real mother and the stepmother start from different places in how they understand the child’s love for a biological parent. The real mother hopes, while the stepmother fears, that the girl will win her father’s love. The ambivalent feelings of the mother have to be mixed in with her love. Usually a mother soon comes to love her infant during her pregnancy, but this is a matter for experience, not for conventional expectation. Mothers may not love or possibly hate their babies. But for a stepmother the presence of the other woman’s child may be an intolerable reminder of the child’s mother, with consequent difficulties for the family unit.

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