Is the sacrifice of life more important than the giving of life? Where is the boundary between motherly protectiveness and overprotectiveness? Is motherhood culture dependent? What is the role of motherhood in the Jewish-Palestinian conflict?
Motherhood: Psychoanalysis and Other Disciplines deals with motherhood and motherliness, and it is important to distinguish between the two: “Motherhood” describes the fact of a woman’s being a mother—the physiological, sociological, and emotional relations between her and her children. “Motherliness,” in contrast, relates to an emotional stance toward the other and toward oneself, with no necessary connection to biological motherhood, and thus both men and women who have not given birth can experience motherly feelings.
The recognition of the importance of motherhood is part of the transition—taking place in recent decades in the Western world in general and in Israel in particular—from the paternal, phallocentric stance to the maternal stance. This transition is reflected in new approaches in contemporary psychoanalysis, feminist thinking, literature, art, and social attitudes.
This book considers these new approaches from the unique Israeli vantage point. It includes papers by Israeli researchers in various areas of knowledge and creativity, including psychoanalysis, psychology, social work, music, literature, and art, and also two personal testimonies. The papers discuss various aspects of motherhood and motherliness, while exposing the complexity of motherhood, including its enormous strengths and its dark sides, and the dilemmas and paradoxes it entails. They also emphasize the importance of motherliness, for both men and women, and for both the individual and the population as a whole. Motherhood, and especially motherliness, are of prime importance in preserving the humanity of the individual and society, in our region and in the world at large.