The topic recognized within this issue of the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, which is one of the hallmarks of our discipline, is "subtle themes that repeat." Whether found though interview or narrative, expressed in art therapy or sand tray, within an integrated psychotherapy process, or a review of the literature, what we see in each of the articles in this issue of the journal are glimpses of early prenatal and perinatal events found in later behaviors.
The lead article is "Born after Loss: The Invisible Child in Adulthood," written by Dr. Joann M. O'Leary, Dr. Cecilie Gaziano, and Ms. Clare Thorwick. Utilized is a descriptive phenomenological approach, where the researchers study five adult subsequent children who were born following a prenatal or perinatal loss by their mothers. Readily apparent is each family's inability to communicate with the mother about her loss, leaving unresolved grief to continue and influence the developing personality of the next child to be born. The women's stories point out how attachment disorders can result from this dynamic and they provide a compelling case for intervention around infant loss and the subsequent pregnancies.
The second article is also a research offering, and in this investigation the author uses a projective technique (abstract drawings) and a qualitative interview process. Ms. Catherine Fraser examined eleven women in their last three months of pregnancy through a prenatal class, asking them about their perceptions and experiences of being pregnant. Results indicated that the drawings aided these participants' expression of feelings around sadness, anger, fear, and joy and helped them to gain a new awareness of their pregnant bodies. Ms. Eraser's article is titled, "A Description of Pregnant Women's Perceptions and Abstract Drawings of Being Pregnant."
Ms. Shirley Ward's paper in this issue, like other papers she has submitted before, speaks to the repetitive theme of voices from early traumas even as early as pre/conception-this time related to anger. Searching for the possible roots of anger, the author, from extensive experiential, clinical work with clients looks at the pre-conception imprinting that colours not only the birth, but also the life scripts and personality of humans, in order to find healing from violent, angry, raging negative imprinting. Ms. Ward's paper is titled: "Anger Related to Pre-Conception, Conception, and the Pre- and Perinatal Period."
The article contributed by Dr. Jeane Rhodes, "Birth Imagery in Sandplay©" is a wonderful example of how clinicians can find prenatal and perinatal themes within other recognized approaches. This paper describes case study examples of sandplay® and birth and/or prenatal experiences. Dr. Rhodes utilizes the Kalfian method that "relies on the power of the medium; sand, water, a collection of miniatures, and a tray of specific dimensions, to evoke a process within the client that is not dependent upon interpretation for healing."
The final article, "A Literature Review: The Effects of Maternal Stress in Pregnancy on Sensory Integration in Children, " is by prenatal and perinatal psychology graduate student, Stephanie M. Foster, a licensed occupational therapist. In working with children Ms Foster also discusses an integrated approach finding prenatal and perinatal themes within the sensory integration modality. This paper argues that looking at events that occur during pregnancy will yield clues as to the baby's self-regulation capabilities.
This fall issue begins the fourth year that I, and Dr. Jean Rhodes, have served as the editor and associate editor of the journal. We are honored to continue to hold these positions, along with Donna Worden and Maureen Wolfe, long-time editorial staff as well. Together we work with contributing authors with a singular purpose, to help develop this important scientific discipline. As articles in this issue illustrate, prenatal and perinatal psychology holds many answers to the themes that repeat for a lifetime in human beings. As the chair of a prenatal and perinatal psychology program, I can say unequivocally that it is through published mediums such as this journal, that the next generation of students and prenatal and perinatal professionals can build new careers and continue this important work. By having thoughtful, yet scholarly works to read, these future leaders of our discipline can then in turn contribute to future editions of the journal for many years to come.