Perhaps one of the most valuable and rewarding aspects of being the editor of the Association of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health Journal is to receive manuscripts from around the globe. Many of these articles required translation prior to submission, and all demonstrate the wealth of publishing unique and diverse perspectives. Authors in this edition live and work in Israel, England, Italy, Belgium and the United States.
The lead article is "Supporting Babies' Wholeness in the 21st Century: An Integrated Model of Early Development" written by Dr. Wendy Anne McCarty. Dr. McCarty is a revered colleague and respected author/educator, and is cutting new ground in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology once again. In this article she takes the reader through an exciting intellectual journey of the integration between early development and what we are learning about the consciousness of human beings. She writes: "My intention is to inspire new thought and further systematic study as well as spur new levels of collaboration between traditions to evolve our early development theories, model, research, and practice."
The second article is a phenomenological study by Mindy Levy, CNM, MA entitled "Maternity in the Wake of Terrorism: Rebirth or Retraumatization?" In it she portrays the nature of the shared experiences of eight Israeli women who became pregnant and gave birth after surviving the trauma of terrorism. The goal of Ms. Levy's study was to learn how maternity experiences could either augment the process of posttraumatic healing or exacerbate the wound inflicted by the trauma. She draws some fascinating conclusions in what can only be for most of us who imagine the effects of terrorism a somewhat frightening, but absolutely necessary, investigation.
Italian authors Anna Delia Vedona, Vincenzo Tomasoni and Antonio Imbasciati offer the results of their longitudinal observational study entitled, "Mother-fetus Communicative Relationship: A Longitudinal Study on 58 Primiparae and their Children during the First Eighteen Months." The purpose of their longitudinal observational survey was to compare a questionnaire on fetal auditive exposure and the communicative and linguistic development of children at ten- and eighteen-months of age. The investigators results were mixed, but one very important finding was of communication between a mother and her fetus being associated with the communicative development of the children.
The article contributed by Desina Nazira, PhD, Université de Liège, and Lotta De Coster, PhD, Université libre de Bruxelles, is entitled, "The Experience of Perinatal Parenthood and the Construction of Paternal Identity" and it reflects their interest in the psychological aspects of preparing for fatherhood. The authors share two case studies of first time fathers who participated in a semi-directive interview before and after the birth of their child. From a psychodynamic perspective, "The interviews explored the psychosocial and intrapsychic dynamics regarding the construction of paternal identity."
The final article, "Womb Ecology: New Reasons and New Ways to Prepare the Prenatal Environment," is by Dr. Michel Odent. He writes on another intriguing aspect of the importance of heath-related issues that begin in the womb, and their importance to matters of public health. This article begins with a brief review of the literature on dietary habits preconception/prenatally, and then focuses on intrauterine pollution of fat-soluble synthetic chemicals. Following next is the description of a pilot study undertaken for the purpose of initiating a new generation of research. Dr. Odent when including the explanation of his results points to the importance of "preconceptional counseling" in conjunction with education on the toxicity from "the life-long effects of intrauterine pollutants."
Finally, I close my editorial by sharing my recent experience in the exchange of ideas and scientific discourse in hopes of sparking interest for doing this in the Journal. I wrote a critique to an article written in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on "Fetal Pain." JAMA published my critique (see references below). Readers of the Journal who are moved to engage in constructive criticism and dialogue are encouraged to do so. The discipline of prenatal and perinatal psychology is sufficiently developed and can only be strengthen by such exchanges.
I wish the readers a wondrous spring and personal sense of renewal.
Lee, S. J., Ralston, H. J. P., Drey, E. A., & Partridge, J. C. (2005). Fetal pain: A systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence. JAMA, 294, 947-954.
Lyman, B. (2006, January 11). Letter to the editor. JAMA, 295, 159.
Bobbi Jo Lyman, PhD
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute