March is Birth Psychology Month. This month also sees the beginning of the season of birth and renewal with the first day of spring. It is time for thinking about the future, starting a few seeds for your garden, feeling the energy of a new season, generating new ideas to spread the growth of Birth Psychology, and nurturing the seeds that have been planted by our founders and others since the beginning of APPPAH (PPPANA) in 1983. We are emerging from the long winter of contemplation and hard work and are ready for action. This is an exciting time for Birth Psychology, with new research emerging to strengthen our foundations.
To celebrate this season of emergence and new development — and Birth Psychology Month — the JOPPPAH team has put together a special expanded version of the journal, bringing you an extra article as well as our usual archive, sharing space, and review (this time a film review).
We lead off this special issue with an article you will want to save. Christine McKee and her colleagues are sharing another piece from her PhD research looking at support during pregnancy as an influencing factor in the transition to parenthood. This time they are bringing you a literature search of prenatal and perinatal education history. You will find relevant literature presented in five sub-topic areas: (a) an historical overview of prenatal and perinatal education in general; (b) programs and interventions that target mothers only; (c) programs and interventions that target fathers only; (d) programs and interventions that target couples during the transition to parenthood; and (e) opportunities for developing needs-based programs for future parents that can be empirically measured for effectiveness.
Based on her 2017 APPPAH Congress presentation, Victoria Flores brings us an overview of her research project titled, “Fear vs. Trust: The Impact of Fear on Birth Experience and Maternal Outcomes.” This well-designed, qualitative, cross-sectional study sought to understand whether beliefs, fears, and trust were associated with birth experiences and birth outcomes.
From the Netherlands, we bring you a pilot study examining the value of continuous doula support within a high-risk obstetric unit in an academic hospital in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. J.C. Ooijens, J.J.H. Bakker, and I.M. de Graaf present results indicating a need for clear language and transparency when dealing with birth pain, with an emphasis on the advantages of continuous doula support in labor.
Next we hear from Ellynne Skove, presenting another pilot study, in which parents, surrogates, and intended parents from four families were interviewed using a phenomenological interview process. In some cases, the subjects were also administered the Maternal-Infant Bonding Survey (MIBS) that identifies bonding disruptions. This is an emerging frontier in prenatal and perinatal psychology, focusing on what Ellynne has termed, New Fashioned Families.
In our “From the Archives” section, we present a special gift from one of APPPAH’s founding board members, David Chamberlain. Reading his words from a fall, 1993, journal article will both sadden and inspire you. As you read, keep in mind that these words were written almost twenty-five years ago. Some of the issues he raised then still need attention today. In other cases, you will notice we have made progress. We take inspiration in particular from his title, “How Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Can Transform the World.” The transformation has begun, energy is building. The time to implement the changes that Drs. Chamberlain, Verny, and other early pioneers of APPPAH have envisioned is now.
We welcome Anna Hennessey to our Sharing Space with her thoughtful and well-researched article addressing the intellectual marginalization of childbirth and its real-world implications. Although this article has been previously published by the Institute of Art and Ideas, we felt the message was important enough to bring this updated version to you.
Our review section features a film review by Yuko Igarashi, telling us a bit about a unique film from Japan, The Promise: Prenatal Memories of Children, a film produced, edited, and directed by Norio Ogikubo. The reviewer asks us to consider the possibility that, as the result of the work of people such as Dr. Akira Ikegawa and Professor Ohkado, as well as other fearless and open-minded researchers, we can together expand the shrunken human cone of perception, and renew our species' broken "umbilical cord" to the ultimate mysteries.
In addition to expressing our deep gratitude to you, our readers, we want to acknowledge our professional, volunteer peer reviewers, who work diligently behind the scenes to insure the integrity of the information we bring to you in JOPPPAH.
We would love it if you could take the time to post a comment on an individual article or on the issue as a whole. You can do this by scrolling down to the bottom of the journal page on birthpsychology.com either on the issue as a whole (after the editorial) or on an individual article (after the article itself). If you are not reading this online, go to https://birthpsychology.com/journals and select the issue upon which you wish to comment. We value your input and would be pleased to feature your comments in upcoming issue.
Jeane Rhodes, PhD