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Birksted-Breen, D. (1992). Psychological Processes of Childbearing: By Joan Raphael-Leff. London: Chapman and Hall. 1991. Pp. 566+x.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 19:390-391.

(1992). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 19:390-391

Psychological Processes of Childbearing: By Joan Raphael-Leff. London: Chapman and Hall. 1991. Pp. 566+x.

Review by:
Dana Birksted-Breen

Psychological Processes of Childbearing is written in the form of a textbook and covers all aspects of childbearing from the point of view of the mother, the father and the health worker. It spans the whole spectrum including the lesbian mother, the mother with Aids and the disabled mother and discusses parenthood in other cultures. It is useful as a reference book for anyone preparing to explore a specific aspect of this topic.

Joan Raphael-Leff writes from the perspective of a social scientist who also has clinical experience of working with pregnant mothers and fathers individually and in groups. Her research leads her to distinguish between two main orientations to maternity and she calls the women in each of these Facilitators and Regulators. The Facilitator gives in to the emotional processes of pregnancy while the Regulator holds out against it. The Facilitator cherishes her pregnant body and the changes in her while the Regulator sees it as a tedious means of having a baby and strives to remain her own person. This difference of approach persists in the way the woman deals with childbirth and in her interaction with her baby. While the Facilitator adapts to her baby, the Regulator expects the baby to adapt to her.


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