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January 10, 2011

Barbara Almond

Barbara Almond explores The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood


Harvard Book Store is very pleased to welcome Stanford professor and psychoanalyst BARBARA ALMOND as she discusses the darker side of childbearing and her new book, The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood.

Whether it is uncertainty over having a child, fears of pregnancy and childbirth, or negative thoughts about one’s own children, mixed feelings about motherhood are not just hard to discuss, they are a powerful social taboo. In her new book, Barbara Almond draws on her extensive clinical experience to bring this highly troubling issue to light. In a portrait of the hidden side of contemporary motherhood, she finds that ambivalence of varying degrees is a ubiquitous phenomenon, yet one that too often causes anxiety, guilt, and depression.

Weaving together case histories with examples from literature and popular culture, Almond uncovers the roots of ambivalence, tells how it manifests in lives of women and their children, and describes a spectrum of maternal behavior—from normal feelings to highly disturbed mothering characterized by blame, misuse, abuse, even child murder.

"First, let me recommend this engrossing study to every new mother, old mother, good mother and bad mother. Sons, husbands, dads and lovers might profit from reading this, too. The Monster Within addresses what everybody knows, but almost nobody talks about: Even the best mothers among us will be or have been tormented from time to time by strong feelings of dread, fear, hatred and even revulsion at the whole process of motherhood, as well as experiencing downright murderous feelings toward our children." 
The Washington Post

About Author(s)

Barbara Almond, M.D., is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in private practice, a member of the faculty at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis, and Emeritus Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford University. She is coauthor of The Therapeutic Narrative: Fictional Relationships and the Process of Psychological Change.