As the new managing editor of PPPJ and as an anthropologist, I am committed to furthering the whole spectrum of knowledge about pre- and peri-natal life and consciousness. This commitment involves looking at pre- and peri-natal life in other cultures, as well as modern Euroamerican culture. This commitment also involves the recognition that there are multiple ways of knowing, some of which go under the guise of "hard" science, while others appear as "humanism." Whatever the style and method of knowing, however, there is still the question of quality in evaluating the products of the quest for knowledge, and I am as committed as Thomas R Verny has been to increasing the quality of material we publish here.
Let me give you an example of different ways of knowing: The first article is by David Chamberlain, a hypnotherapist and no stranger to these pages. He talks about the challenge of prenatal and pre-conception memories to current neuroscience theories of memory. He has done quite a scholarly job in marshalling the evidence in favor of his view. By way of contrast, the following piece is a brief short story by Marilyn McKnight from Minesing, Ontario. It expresses in an entirely different way the poignancy of pre-conception and pre-natal memory and its importance to continuity in self-awareness. Although expressing herself in short story form, Ms. McKnight has drawn on her own extensive experience as a midwife.
Have you ever asked yourself, if so much is known about pre- and peri-natal memory and consciousness, why then are so many obstetricians so slow to learn and why do they continue to practice such psychologically damaging techniques? Anthropologist, Robbie Davis-Floyd suggests one answer to this question in Part I or her two part discussion of the role of obstetrical rituals in maintaining our Euroamerican world view. Part H of this lengthy paper will appear in the fall issue of PPPJ. This is a continuation of her work reported in an earlier paper published in this journal (see Vol. 1, No. 4, Pp. 276-296).
Obstetrical techniques, like much of the rest of western techno-economics, spread rapidly and widely in the world. Melita Kovacevic, a doctoral student in psychology at Zagreb University, reports to us on pre- and perinatal psychology in Yugoslavia.
Of the many psychological problems facing prospective parents in our culture, few are more serious than postpartum depression. Drawing upon perceptual defence theory, Hélène David, Frangois Borgeat and Jean-Frangois Saucier explore a possible technique for detecting this syndrome during pregnancy.
As happens every few years, the congress of our own PPPANA and that of our European counterpart, the International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, met in the same year. We include the addresses by both of the presidents of these two organizations, respectively Dr. Thomas Verny and Dr. Peter Fedor-Freybergh.
The summer issue of PPPJ will be the first in what we plan to be an annual series of special issues. This year's will be devoted to our sister discipline, pre- and peri-natal anthropology. Next year we will devote a special issue to the topic of pre- and peri-natal pain.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Thomas R Verny for the time he has spent in instructing me in my new duties as managing editor. Any continuity you sense is due largely to his sensitive handling of the period of transition. Any failings in this, or future issues are no doubt mine, and I would like to hear about them from you, our reader.