The Psychological Processes of Childbearing

Author(s) : Joan Raphael-Leff

The Psychological Processes of Childbearing

Book Details

  • Publisher : Anna Freud Centre
  • Published : 2009
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 663
  • Category :
    Child and Adolescent Studies
  • Catalogue No : 2508
  • ISBN 13 : 9780954931902
  • ISBN 10 : 0954931904

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Childbearing seems eternal, primordial and universal. Yet human reproduction in the 21st century is in a state of flux. This accessible book highlights dramatic changes that have occurred over the last decades, focusing on both individual and cross-cultural diversity across the now elongated childbearing cycle and the uniqueness of desire and emotional experience. It does so by locating the transition to parenthood in its psycho-sexual and socio-economic context, emphasising interweaving internal/external realities and our inherent interconnectedness with others. Included are conscious and unconscious factors determining beliefs, expectations and parenting practices, and ways in which these are affected by rapid urbanisation, shrinking families, societal instability, HIV, governmental maternity and child care policies, and attitudes of professionals. Drawing widely on empirical and clinical research from disparate disciplines – psychoanalytic, neuro-scientific, neonatal, sociological, obstetric, anthropological and midwifery – this resource book synthesises these to illustrate a spectrum of processes affecting each person’s mental health. As a textbook it valuably underscores feelings, fantasies and psycho-dynamic complexities for health care professionals and psychodynamic psychotherapists working with people contemplating parenthood, with those undergoing fertility treatment, expectant or bereaved couples, pregnant women or parents and babies.

About the Author(s)

Joan Raphael-Leff, PhD, psychoanalyst (fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society) and social psychologist, leads the UCL/Anna Freud Centre academic faculty for psychoanalytic research. Previously, she was head of University College London's MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology, and professor of psychoanalysis at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. For 35 years she has specialized in emotional issues of reproduction and early parenting, with more than 100 single-author peer-reviewed publications, and twelve books. Founder and first international chair of COWAP (IPA's Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis) in 1998, she provides training for practitioners working with teenage parents, and is consultant to perinatal and women's projects in many high and low income countries.

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