Some psychologists think that life, experience and memory begin at birth. Others believe memory and experience begin in the womb when we are physically still attached by the umbilical cord, and that we not only exchange all of our fluids with our mothers, but in the womb, we exchange emotion. Whatever you believe about prenatal life, when we are born the umbilical cord is undoubtedly cut. But there is another cord through which we are very much still attached to our mothers, the emotional cord – and that invisible cord is not cut.
Attachments or bonds form immediately after birth as part of an innate mechanism of life. All animals form bonds for the purpose of survival, food, and comfort. Through what is a circular process of transference and countertransference between parent and child, the first, primary relationship is thought to be hugely important to our psychological development and relationship formation as adults, as the primary relationship sets the blueprint for all of our other relationships. The primary relationship with our parents is the one we try to unconsciously replicate in adult life with others – for better or for worse. We magnetise them in, which is why we can often discover that we have been continually dating the same person, each time with a different name! Either we try to replicate the first relationship because it was good, or we try to continually rework it, because it wasn’t!