chapter  4
Womb and world: the mother-to-be – common experience and cultural variations
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 15

Every woman's experience of pregnancy is different from all other women and each recurrent pregnancy differs from those that preceded it even in the same woman. Nevertheless, as with all life's universal events, it is possible to distil a number of experiences which are common to most pregnancies. The transitional phase of pregnancy reactivates dormant conflicts, revitalizing earlier emotional process being reintegrated through experiences. The focus is upon aspects of pregnancy common to the majority of women, across the world, throughout time. The idea of a wanted child must be psychologically nourished and cherished in the womb of her mind to create the concept of a baby who can be held and awaited, rather than aborted physically or rejected psychically before term. As in adolescence, unfamiliar physical sensations, escalated hormonal activity, and rapid bodily change means that an ever-changing new body-image is superimposed upon and supersedes the old.