This edition of the journal offers three research articles that examine trauma during the prenatal and perinatal period, but from distinct and unique perspectives. In the lead article by Ann Speckhard, Ph.D. and Natalia Mufel we learn about the trauma women in the former Soviet Union experience following an abortion. Their work is entitled, "Universal Responses to Abortion? Attachment, Trauma and Grief Responses in Woman Following Abortion." While the authors studied a sample from the country of Belarus, they also compared their results to those available from Western samples investigating the same phenomenon. This adds to the documentation on the universal nature of posttraumatic sequelae reported by women after a completed abortion.
Dr. Anne MacLean's article appears second, and is a more in-depth submission (first seen in the Spring, 2003 edition) on healing trauma using EMDR. This cutting edge therapy approach to reducing suffering and symptomology that applies prenatal and perinatal psychology theory into the EMDR paradigm is a very exciting development. Beyond this, the author also continues her unique use of EMDR with the compelling subject of exploring the transpersonal dimensions of the soul. That is, what access might there be to existence before this incarnation. The case studies are richly depicted in their stories of trauma and tragedy, yet with each reporting a hopeful outcome. It is a window into altered states of consciousness where the reader is able to see the power of early experiences that then run like a thread throughout a lifetime.
The third article, by doctoral student, Jessica M. Lahner, M.S., and Dr. Bert Hayslip examines the stress that parents of premature, low birth weight infants endure. Their well written article is entitled, "Gender Differences in Parental Reaction to the Birth of a Premature Low Birth Weight Infant." Their study investigated symptoms in both mothers and fathers of children using a current assessment of PTSD symptomology. Upon reading their work the reader will have no doubt about the significant impact on the parents of these infants. In short, the study indicates that mothers and fathers of preterm babies experience greater degrees of stress than term parents do. These authors also suggest that such stress can be reduced with the help of appropriate social supports.
And as the autumn season arrives bringing the brilliant leaves that soon fall, we are again reminded of the age-old natural cycle of change. Even though the history of the world has been replete with the theme found in this edition of the journal-trauma-it is comforting to know that the contributions of these researchers (and others) add to our understanding of what causes and perpetuates it. It gives a sense of hopefulness that someday needless early trauma be changed in future generations.
Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D.
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute