Patrick Cauvin, Sylvie Bérard, Élyane Allari : the adolescent’s baby. a « transitional object » for its mother

The mother-baby relation corresponds for both to a trap in which the time of development shuts down. Our observations of dyads we were close to in nursery, mother-baby center and pediatric care settings argue in favor of a characteristic mother-baby distance disorder. The infant is invested as a « transition object », used by the mother as transitory support for her parental imagoes in the course of de-idealization, within an unaccomplished post-adolescent process. This results in a behavioral and emotional « house arrest » for the baby, which will have to conform to maternal expectations if it wants to be spared the abrupt experience of defensive withdrawal of maternal investment. Caught between idealization and refusal, the baby experiences early conflict only in its aspect of rupture, which causes a problem for the construction of its subjectivity.