In this edition of the journal we consider some of the prenatal and perinatal original experiences that produce immense suffering later in life. Some of these behaviors are suicidality, the sequelae of abortion attempts, and the development of personality disorders. Considered as well are medical practices during the gestational period that have immense effects on developing human beings including attachment issues. Yet there is also the thread of hope evident in these article submissions around being willing to name prenatal and perinatal traumas in an effort to encourage dialogue and empirical study.
It has been 16 years since Bertil Jacobson's seminal research on the perinatal origins of suicidal behavior from his published article in the APPPAH journal in 1988. Shirley Ward has remained interested in the origins of suicidal behavior through years of clinical work, studying with the late Dr. Frank Lake. Ms. Ward has taken the discussion forward in this edition-or should I say backward-to the importance of cellular life when attempting to find the answers to the origins of suicidal behaviors. Ward suggests that a single cell, the blastocyst, the foetus, and the preborn are all capable of experiencing and holding the earliest origins of suicidal impressions.
Allan N. Schore, PhD, whose remarkable books (Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development; Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self; and Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self) are now staples within mainstream psychology, brings his passion for the origins of behaviors through neuroscience to the doorstep, and in fact, inside the door of the womb to focus clearly on the third trimester of pregnancy. The APPPAH Journal was honored to accept his original manuscript, crafted on the occasion of Dr. Schore's delivering the 2004 graduation address to the faculty, graduating students, and families at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California on July 28, 2004.
Next in this edition are two articles by Michel Odent, MD from his Primal Health Research Newsletter. As with all his previous submissions, Dr. Odent focuses on a range of issues around health, which he believes are shaped in the prenatal and perinatal stages of development. In the first, Margaret Thatcher and Oxytocin: 1979, Dr. Odent comments that in that year more than just the biological effects of oxytocin became known. Oxytocin was given the descriptive name, "hormone of love" to reflect this. In the second, Gestational Diabetes: A Diagnosis Still Looking for a Disease, Dr. Odent argues the position that taking glucose and blood samples, and telling a pregnant woman that she is more at risk than others to have a future chronic disease is not optimal, while talking routinely about nutrition and physical activity is.
Marcy Axness, PhD submits the first of what may be a series of articles that is part of her doctoral dissertation. Here in this introductory section, the dissertation is written as a novel, the story of Pearl, which is an "... in-depth portrait of intergenerational attachment disruption, its relationship to depression and defensive personality disorders, and approaches to healing ...." Dr. Axness' cutting edge work paves the way for others who might also imagine new ways to communicate their thoughts and ideas with others around the topic of prenatal and perinatal psychology.
Dr. John Sonne's pointed search to articulate the life long and perilous effects of abortion survivor sequellae is a painful narrative. He continues this paper from a previous submission that introduces the dynamic of sibling rivalry into the mix with abortion survival as well, using some of history's cruelest despots as examples (Adolph Hitler, Francisco Franco, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden). His premise is that we can have a better understanding the origin and motivation of destructive behaviors by studying them.
In our Sharing Space section Robert J. Oliver, MD, PhD gives us a portrait of a young mother, pregnant for the first time, who runs head long into the complex web of medicine's technological interventions in preparation for birth. Dr. Oliver's view is that professional care during the nine months of pregnancy is more about risk avoidance than mental/physical/emotional support for first time moms. The logical outcome of this is the disruption of the attachment process. His article is entitled, Obstetrics and Attachment.
Finally, my appreciation to our book reviewers in this edition, as follows: Karen Ehrlich, CPM, MA for Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (2003), and secondly, to Kelli Cymraes Lincol, who reviewed The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact with your Baby Leads to Happier, Healthier Development (1997).
In closing, it seems that not nearly enough of us are trained to work with women and their families on the emotional and psychological issues surrounding pregnancy. Nor are there many therapists who treat distressed human beings wounded from very early trauma through to its resolution. However, one clear and conscious face of a baby born without trauma holds out hope for the future. I appreciate and acknowledge the authors' submissions to this edition of the journal who likewise struggle over ways to articulate and communicate that which has so much meaning for the human race.
Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D.
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute