In such a year as 2020 has been, one hopes to find positive change and joy right around the corner. As we move into the darker, colder part of the seasonal year in North America, we may feel stretched to accomplish this. Many of us have been, or know others who have been, negatively impacted in health, work, or other ways, by COVID-19. Gatherings of all kinds, including holidays, likely look quite different this year. At the time of printing, a hazy sense of confusion or unrest still hovers, creating a vague uncertainty. Despite the challenges we may be facing, there is reason to hope change is on the horizon and that joy may be found in the places we’ve perhaps overlooked previously.
Our first article felt appropriate to begin with, as it focuses on potential. Dr. Cherionna Menzam-Sills wrote Out of the Dark: Embodying Our Original Embryological Potential, based on her presentation of her work at the APPPAH Congress in Denver just over a year ago. She asks, “What great intelligence guides our formation? What happens to that amazing original potential and how can we recover it when life conditions have occluded it?” Dr. Menzam-Sills focuses on the psychological shadow as applied to pre- and perinatal experience, but we could just as easily apply this wisdom to our present-day circumstances.
Our next article, The Psyche of the Embryo: A Source of New Awareness, comes from Dr. Gino Soldera, in which he presents a new paradigm describing the existence of the psyche, or soul, from the moment of conception. Dr. Soldera goes on to show how, by looking at what happens both outside of us and within us, we can begin to understand this paradigm.
Our third article is from Dr. Rosita Cortizo, titled, Hidden Trauma and Dissociation: Prenatal Assessment within the Calming Womb Model. Dr. Cortizo discusses the unresolved trauma and dissociative processes that may be present in pregnant women, as well as types of screening tools used to identify these issues. Dr. Cortizo states, “The Calming Womb Family Therapy Model (CWFTM) integrates questionnaire findings, trauma informed interventions, and collaborative care to treat and prevent intergenerational trauma, and nurture relational attunement with parents and babies from conception through the first year after birthing.”
From the JOPPPAH archives of 1995, we bring you Dr. David B. Chamberlain’s, What Babies Are Teaching Us About Violence. Dr. Chamberlain was a legendary pioneer in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology and was APPPAH’s president for eight years. This article, though slightly dated in some ways, serves as a reminder of how the way in which we are brought into this world and treated from the very beginning reverberates throughout our lives. In a time in the United States and some other countries where violence and unrest has been highly visible, may we focus on gentling this process and helping those whose processes are not as gentle, heal.
In Sharing Space, we offer two articles. First, Dr. Ofra Lubetzky submits The Maternal-Fetus Relationship in the Uterus: Essential for Wellbeing through Life. In her article, Dr. Lubetzky questions the psychological implications of artificial womb technology, which appears to be less than a decade away from use. She argues that “pre- and perinatal experiences shape the child’s brain structure and functioning and lay the foundation for their personality and sense of security and trust,” and any attempts to replace the womb artificially might have unexpected psychological consequences.
Second, Dr. Jeane Rhodes, JOPPPAH’s previous Editor-in-Chief, offers Earning a PhD in Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology. Dr. Rhodes presents personal journal entries regarding her own process of earning a PhD in the field, as well as reasons why others might want to pursue such a degree and current options for doing so.
We present one book review from Barbara Decker on Nature’s Masterplan for Birth: Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond, the Way Nature Intended (2020), authored by mother-daughter doula pair, Louise Pedersen and Anja Pedersen. Ms. Decker writes that the authors understand the importance of empowering mothers and babies to birth naturally for their own benefit and that of future society.
Finally, we share a letter to the editor, Lessons Learned: Patience, Empathy and Lacking Healthy Distractions during COVID and Protests for a New Father, by Dr. Ryo Maruyama. Dr. Maruyama discusses his experience of becoming a father during the unusual first summer of COVID in the United States.
As mentioned in the Fall issue of JOPPPAH, we are switching to a triannual publication, printed three times per year, rather than four times, beginning with our 35th journal. This will not affect your current subscription. However, you will notice this issue is numbered six out of the quarterly 34th journal. We look forward to celebrating our 35th anniversary with you in 2021. And we at APPPAH wish you and yours joyful holidays and health and ease in the new year.
Stephanie Dueger, PhD, LPC