In this book the bestselling author and psychoanalyst Massimo Recalcati offers a fundamental re-examination of what ‘being a mother’ means today, in a world where new social and sexual freedoms mean that motherhood is no longer the sole destiny of women. Questioning the belief that a mother’s love is natural and unconditional, he paints a more complex and troubling picture of the mother–child relationship, observing that mothers may even resent their children as a result of unresolved conflicts between different dimensions of love. The mother’s hands not only nurture but can also potentially harm. Recalcati argues that it is precisely in these competing demands that motherhood fulfils its function: only if the mother is ‘not-all-mother’ can a child experience the absence that enables it to access the symbolic and cultural world. Recalcati cuts through conventional wisdom to offer a fresh perspective on the changing nature of motherhood today. An international bestseller, this book will appeal to a wide general readership, as well as to students and scholars of gender studies, psychoanalysis and related disciplines.