In the past months, we have seen the world as we once knew it, change.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a pandemic. As of May 25, 2020, when this issue went to press, nearly 350,000 people worldwide are confirmed to have perished from COVID-19, with more than five million more confirmed infected. The pandemic continues to impact our global population physically, but also on countless other societal levels worldwide. We are seeing dichotomies abound: the best and the worst of humanity, fear and love, a massive emotional toll and coveted silver linings. We are called upon to step up in ways we may never have been asked to previously, and to reconsider how we live and interact on our planet as a species.
Given the enormity of what we are faced with during these unprecedented times, the first two articles in the summer issue aptly focus on COVID-19 experiences and responses. We begin with a transcribed Monday LIVE! recording, hosted by Nina Ketscher, including panelists Dr. Thomas Verny, Peg Bledsoe, Rebecca Thompson-Hitt, and Dr. Raylene Phillips. Creating Healthy Layers of Support at Home and Socially: Monday LIVE Panel Discussion, March 30th, 2020, emphasizes ways to manage stress, anxiety, and depression in relation to our experiences during the pandemic. Self-care, optimism, keeping a life rhythm and a sense of humor, staying connected to our babies/families and each other, acknowledging and expressing feelings, and creating physical and emotional support are some of the ideas discussed.
Our second article, How Birth Providers in the United States are Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic, is from Robbie Davis Floyd, Kim Gutschow, and David Schwartz. The researchers developed a rapid-response article exploring how COVID-19 is causing women and birth providers to consider birth differently, as hospitals are seen as contagion sites for the virus. Collected survey responses pointed to new or increased fear in pregnant women of hospital birthing, and greater desires for home-birthing, as well as major changes in the ways birth attendants care for pregnant and birthing women. The researchers highlighted how systemic flaws inherent in the United States maternity care system have been revealed in the pandemic, including unequal access to safe and high-quality maternity care, due to disparities in socioeconomics, insurance access, and/or race.
Veronique Mead brings us our third article, Adverse Babyhood Experiences (ABEs) Increase Risk for Infant and Maternal Morbidity and Mortality, and Chronic Illness. Mead thoroughly outlines adverse babyhood experiences for parents and babies prior to conception through a child’s third birthday. She discusses how ABEs may affect parents and how parental states of emotional and physiological self-regulation strongly influence a child’s short- and long-term health. Mead discusses how training birth care professionals on the effects of ABEs and providing them with inexpensive tools for prevention can help decrease these impacts by incorporating more support and repair into the system.
Our fourth article, Study of Prenatal Experiencing-Modality from Developmental Clinical and “Kansei” Psychology Perspectives, comes from Daisuke Oshioka and Yumina Ozaki. The researchers used developmental and “kansei” psychology to apply Gendlin’s (1961) experiencing theory to analyze different modalities of prenatal fetal experiences found in picture books. They report that their findings have implications for both the theory as applied to prenates, and the importance of pregnant mothers interacting with their unborn babies.
We share two book reviews from our book review editor, Barbara Hotelling. Both books, two of a trilogy, The First Fairy Tale Book I: The Adventure Begins (2018), and The First Fairy Tale Book II: The Awakening Heart (2018), were written by Susan Highsmith and illustrated by Mark Sean Wilson. Book one describes for children the process of conception, while book two describes the first three weeks of gestation, from implantation through the heart’s first beats.
Thank you for your support of APPPAH. The importance of how we care for one another, from our earliest experiences throughout our entire lifespans, is nothing if not emphasized on every possible level during these uncertain times. May you and your loved ones be healthy and safe. And may you find ease, support, and connection during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months.
Stephanie Dueger, PhD, LPC