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Access to parenthood and family isolation: the new solitude of parents


While anthropology shows that birth is first and foremost a community event, these days some parents increasingly find themselves profoundly isolated and ill-equipped to care for their baby. This phenomenon is being examined by a study in progress that attempts to evaluate the effects of family isolation experienced by parents after birth on the psychological life of the baby during the first year. In this clinical case illustrating the ‘new solitude’ of parents, Internet forums are used in an attempt to compensate for weak family support, while anxieties that were legitimate around the time of birth persist as the baby grows up. Beyond the problems of postpartum maternal depression, the focus is on the actual role of family and friends in supporting the more intra-psychological processes involved in constructing parenthood.