Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

The Varying Behaviors of Fathers in the Prenatal Experience of the Unborn: Protecting, Loving and "Welcoming with Arms Wide Open," vs. Ignoring, Unloving, Competitive, Abusive, Abortion Minded or Aborting

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

The Varying Behaviors of Fathers in the Prenatal Experience of the Unborn: Protecting, Loving and "Welcoming with Arms Wide Open," vs. Ignoring, Unloving, Competitive, Abusive, Abortion Minded or Aborting

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: In this paper the author explores varying behaviors of fathers during the prenatal life of the unborn from a psychoanalytic and family system perspective, enriched by studies from the field of prenatal psychology. He suggests broadening the meaning of behavior to encompass communications that are not clearly visible, audible, or tangible, and emphasizes the importance of the communication of affect in assessing whether an expression of caring and love is genuine and sincere. This is not only important to adults, but especially so for the unborn, who cannot speak or understand adult language, and who are especially sensitive to picking up on affect. The threat of being aborted is discussed, and the consequences of this in the creation of abortion survivors. It is essential that therapists be alert to the possibility that prenatal dynamics are operative in patients' symptoms and transferences. The use of and understanding of metaphors, polysema, synesthesia, and similes as a measure of the creativity involved in having meaningful relationships is stressed, and note is made of the remarkable change of speech in this direction that occurs when abortion survivors recover. After exploring positive and negative behaviors of men, the author also deals with the phenomenon of depreciation of men in today's society, which makes it difficult for men to find support, respect, and encouragement, particularly in their roles as fathers and husbands. The overall dehumanization of our culture and society has reached a point where love and responsibility have taken second place to narcissism and materialism. This also has affected the relationship between men and women, and their relationship with the unborn. In the closing section suggestions are made for making positive changes to remedy this situation, and in particular to improve the behaviors of fathers - and mothers - in their relationship with the unborn, with each other, and with their families in a rewarding, committed marriage.

KEY WORDS: fathers, prenatal psychology, abortion trauma.

INTRODUCTION

Most studies of the behaviors of parents during prenatal life, and their effect on the unborn, have focused on the behavior of the mothers of the unborn. Almost none have focused on the behaviors of fathers. Even the relatively recent psychoanalytic and family systems work on the role of the pre-oedipal father in early childhood development, have usually stopped short of examining the importance of the father during the prenatal period. To begin to do this is an important step, but even here, the focus must be broader than to look only at the father-unborn dyad. It is necessary also to consider the father's behavior in the dyadic relationship with the mother - and hers with him - as well as his behavior in the father-mother-unborn triad during the prenatal period, or even before conception. If something is awry in this triad, the unborn will be deprived of the ingredients that are necessary for them to construct a family image1, i.e. an internalization of the father-motherunborn relational triad of which they are a part, and within which they must have their appropriate position. Therefore, a triadic communication system perspective is necessary if we are to fully appreciate all that is involved in the unborn's development, and I shall use this perspective in examining and illustrating varying behaviors of fathers in the prenatal experience of the unborn. These behaviors not only affect a person's life in the womb; they have consequences in their entire lives, where derivatives of prenatal trauma - often consisting of the threat of being aborted - are expressed in individual symptoms, social interaction, and in transferences during psychotherapy.

In addition to describing some positive and negative behaviors of fathers, I shall also discuss the effect on men of the current social climate in which demeaning of men by women has become prevalent, their role as fathers under-appreciated, and love between men and women seems to have decreased. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.