Apr 2, 1998
The British Journal of Midwifery
Childbirth is discussed in relation to a woman's needs in labour (as the most intense phase of the childbearing year) and their similarity to those of her new baby. Some psychoanalytic ideas, particularly from DW Winnicott, are used to illustrate processes that are involved. These include physical and bodily holding, non-verbal human contact, opportunity for reparation, holding feelings, environmental sensitivity, omnipotence and vulnerability. The emotional significance of unconscious processes at birth are considered in relation to their potential for strengthening adaptation to parenthood. There is recognition that women's psychological needs cannot always be met in labour (although Changing Childbirth gives this area increased prominence) and that this constitutes a missed opportunity. There are detailed descriptions of women's experience in labour, their link to caring for a small baby with the care given by birth partners or midwives. Mention is made of the role of complicated deliveries, parenthood...