The Situation Before The Intervention

In the early spring, one group member shared her joy at being pregnant but she also felt discomfort that the baby was incorporating her.

Later that spring, another member told us she was pregnant. She had not yet let her mother know because she first wanted to feel separate from her mother. Her mother incorporated her too much. Before the summer vacation, a third member mentioned she was expecting her third child. She also had problems relating to her mother.

Expect the Unexpected

The group now had three pregnant women, which in itself begins to alter the dynamics of the group and, at times, brings in some unforeseen issues.

One evening, before the group started a group member called me. The following is a summary of the conversation. (The group member is represented by the initials "PT;" the therapist is "TH.)

PT: "I am so stressed! I want desperately to come to the group but my husband has not shown up yet to take care of the newborn baby." I heard tension in her voice. TH: "See what happens, maybe he'll arrive soon and then you can come later."

(Twenty minutes later the bell in my office rang and there she was with her baby girl.) TH: "Come in, hello. (I felt overwhelmed and touched to see in this first glance a small child with her mother.) "Do you need anything special for the baby?"

Everyone in the group admired her baby. The group members started to talk while I got nervous about my central heating, which was not working well that day. Was the room warm enough for the baby?

Group members explored positive and negative feelings about other issues in their lives. At this point, the group was developing into an advanced stage. A greater working-together stage Members were talking freely about relationships with their mothers, exploring voids in oneself, being angry toward me for not giving enough care, and jealousy toward one another's assets (Bernárdez, 1996).

An unexpected event occurred during the group. The mother breastfed her baby, and then stood up quietly to comfort her child and let the child burp. The whole scene seemed very natural. The baby was in the group before in her mother's body and may have heard our voices. Yet my role as group therapist had been challenged. The new baby had come through the "group skin."

Three weeks later after getting a phone call that the second pregnant woman had given birth, I decided that I needed to address the boundary crossing which had taken place-bringing the baby into the group. A boundary needed to be formulated and a change in contract implemented. I experienced the multiple new lives in the protruding bodies as a group within a group although I had never before had a subgroup such as this but I did not want three new members, either!

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