THE PRIMAL WOUND.
Verrier Nancy, 1991, believes that during gestation a mother becomes uniquely sensitised to her baby. Donald Winnicot called this phenomenon, primary maternal preoccupation. He believed that toward the end of pregnancy, the mother develops a state of heightened sensitivity, which provides a setting for the infants constitution to begin to make itself evident, for the developmental tendencies to start to unfold and for the infant to experience spontaneous movement.
He stressed the mother alone knows what the baby could be feeling and what he needs, because everyone else is outside his experience.
The mothers hormonal, physiological, constitutional and emotional preparation provides the child with a security, which no one else can. There is a natural flow from the in-utro experience of the baby safely confined in the womb to that of the baby secure within the mothers arms, to the wanderings of the toddler who is secure in the mothers proximity to her. This security provides the child with a sense of rightness and wholeness of self.
For these babies and their mother, relinquishment and adoption are not concepts, they are experiences they can never fully recover from. A child can certainly attach to another care giver, but rather than a secure, serene feeling of oneness, the attachment is one in which the adoptive relationship may be what Bowlby has referred to as anxious attachment.
He noted that "provided there is one particular mother figure to who he can relate and who mothers him lovingly, he will in time take to and treat her as though she were almost his mother. That "almost" is the feeling expressed by the adoptive mothers who feel as if they had accepted the infant but the infant had not quite accepted them as mother.