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(p. 161) The Birth Experience 

(p. 161) The Birth Experience
Chapter:
(p. 161) The Birth Experience
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271435.003.0028
Page of

date: 12 November 2019

In this chapter, Winnicott describes what the stage of being unborn to becoming born might be like for the infant. He suggests that if birth is healthily accomplished, the infant may be able to have the illusion that all was brought about and achieved by himself. He proposes that a caesarean section birth has losses for the baby in terms of normal delivery and that time delays that effect delivery can become sufficiently impinging, creating for that infant a sense of formlessness in time and space which cannot be managed. Winnicott addresses the changeover from not-breathing states in the womb to the newborn’s learning to breathe and also to the newborn’s connecting with the mother’s breathing and then feeling held in a quiet way after birth. He proposes that some patients in analysis have very early body experience memories related to birth trauma and that the study of very early birth-related experience in analysis helps with understanding more severe mental illness, such as the psychoses.

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