Revista brasileira de crescimento e desenvolvimento humano
versão impressa ISSN 0104-1282
LOPES, Rita de Cássia Sobreira; ALFAYA, Cristiane; MACHADO, Cibele Vargas e PICCININI, Cesar Augusto. "In the beginning I used to leave with a broken heart": the first mother-infant separations. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2005, vol.15, n.3, pp. 26-35. ISSN 0104-1282.
The present article investigated maternal feelings regarding physical separation from their infants. Forty-seven primiparous mothers, aged 20 to 37, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, who lived with the baby's father, took part in the study. Each mother was interviewed in order to investigate the experiences of motherhood in the baby's third month of life. The mothers' answers were examined, utilizing content analysis, based on four categories (separation situations, feelings regarding separation, substitute caregivers and feelings towards them). The results of this study found that mothers reported feelings of permanence with the baby, even when they were both physically separated from one another. On these occasions, however, feelings of sadness, abandonment and worry were predominant. Most mothers perceived themselves as being the primary caregivers, even when they were not physically present with the baby. This indicates that mothers have a secure attachment to their children. Despite the mothers' worries about separation, they also reported feeling secure when they had reliable support figures to care for their baby.
Palavras-chave : Mother-infant separation; Motherhood; Maternal feelings.