COWAP Revisiting the Maternal: Parenting a Child with a Facial Difference
with Sandy Hershberg
Mothering her child with Moebius Syndrome, congenital facial paralysis, in which the face appears visibly different from birth, sets the stage for Sandy Hershberg’s experience of mothering in which her sense of herself and sense of unfamiliarity within herself is intensified by the “the uncanny gaze” of others on her child, thus heightening her own ambivalence. Referencing the impact of various gazes — loving empathic, uncanny, paternal, grandmotherly, medical and analytic– along with her daughter’s writings, the discussion will offer a window into the maternal experiences of abjection and pleasure and the child’s experiences of alienation, reparation and rebellion. The impact of these experiences on the analyst’s sensibility and view of difference will be explored.