As summer begins, the natural world seems to expand with warmth and beauty. This issue of the journal expands as well, with a study on prenatal attachment in adoptive families, an exploration of how birth trauma can affect the breastfeeding relationship, a cross-cultural look at how the sense of self is constructed, and an interview with another pioneer of our field.
In this summer issue, Tracy L. Carlis investigates how a birthmother’s feelings toward her unborn child might affect her adopted child throughout his or her life. With a wonderful literature view on the topic, she examines the current body of knowledge on how prenatal attachment can profoundly impact the adopted child both mentally and emotionally. Her own research study provides a richer picture of the prenatal experience of the adopted individual.
This month, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett shares clinical approaches to working with mother-baby breastfeeding dyads that have experienced trauma or post-traumatic stress from birth. Her expertise in this area has produced many books, journal articles, and more. In this paper, she gently explores trauma and birth, how it manifests in the breastfeeding relationship, and what professionals can do to help.
Also in this issue, Charles D. Laughlin provides an excellent discussion of various aspects of the self, about which any pre- and perinatal professional is likely to be curious. For those of us who insist on the sentience and consciousness of the baby from the very beginning, a thorough look at how the self is constructed is certainly worthwhile. (See additional comments below by Editor-in-Chief Thomas R. Verny.)
Our associate editor, Kerry Francis, interviews former APPPAH President William Emerson. In this interview, Dr. Emerson discusses both sides of birth trauma—the trauma of giving birth and the trauma of being born, and shares with us his contributions to the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology.
Finally, we offer two reviews of books relevant to our field. Patricia Lucas reviews Mia Kalef’s new book, Secret Life of Babies: How our prebirth and birth experiences shape our world. Lucas applauds this contribution to our field of pre- and perinatal psychology. Also, Pamela Yenawine offers some insights on the book, The Renaissance of Birth: Creating Bonds That Last a Lifetime, written by Susan Highsmith. The book follows Highsmith’s personal journey into the field, and also includes discussion of her research study on pregnant women’s ideal birth drawings and of the major contributors and principles of pre- and perinatal psychology.
We hope this issue of the journal leaves you with a sense of expansion in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology and health. We welcome feedback from you, our readers.
Kerry Francis, MA
Kate White, MA
Thomas R. Verny MD, DPsych., DHL, FRCPC, FAPA
It gives me great pleasure to introduce our readership to a seminal paper by an old friend of APPPAH and one time editor of the Journal, Charles D. Laughlin, PhD. The paper is a tour de force of the diverse aspects of the self. It may not be readily apparent why a journal that focuses on pre and perinatal psychology should deal with a subject that seems rather removed from research studies on the biopsychosocial aspects of prenatal and early postnatal life. However, I submit to you that few questions are more relevant to our explorations in this field than the question: Who am I, and how did I become the person I am now?
Hardly a month passes without the publication of a new book on consciousness or the mind. Philosophers, neuroscientists, and, of course, clerics of all persuasions, have toiled at this task forever. We all know about our physical bodies. We know a lot less about our minds. What makes me me, and not you? Is the mind a function of the brain or independent of it? Where is the seat of the self? I think a discourse on the self is central to all of us concerned not only with understanding who we are but, perhaps more importantly, how can we help future generations become better, more caring and more peaceful human beings.
As with all papers published here, we appreciate your feedback.
JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.