My favourite reference book of all time is "Why love matters" by Sue Gerhardt.
Her style is straight-forward, sensitive and possibly for the time a little controversial. I've read Sue's book over and over as she describes the attachment process between mother and child from birth and beyond.
Attachment theory, the work of John Bowlby was not widely accepted until recently. Bowlby was a psychologist, Freudian Psychoanalyst and conservative Christian and his research created a context, because of our biology, women were not equal to men. However more developmental psychologist have reaffirmed Bowlby's work that the attachment bond between mother and child is the foundation for the child's emotional stability and growth. And therefore the basis of a happy, meaningful and safe society!
It would be great in society if motherhood was seen as being a valuable as going to work. It's not. Lack of mother-baby bonding causes psychological damage. I've sat with hundreds of people who have described how the quality of their relationship with their mother had a significant impact on their life. It affects our ability to regulate our emotions, resourcefulness, feelings of self-worth and of course empathy for others.
The NHS recently began to recognise that attachment is a primary source for poor mental health and introduced 'compassion therapy' as part of their offering. Whilst cognitive therapy is easier research and cost, and can be useful for some individuals, for many it's like putting a temporary sticking plaster over an open wound. Compassion therapy on the other hand, recognises the depth of the wound, delves in and cleans it out. However, as with all therapy the bond between the therapist and client is what leads to recovery and continued wellbeing.