The female condition during perinatal period

A view from personal experience and phenomenological research.

On Saturday September 3rd, 14:30 I elaborated on the female condition during perinatal period. I was in a panel together with Dr. Bret Fimiani and Lawrence Edges. Below is the abstract I submitted.

This talk is about the question if and how more attention to the lived experience of birth giving and lying-in, as in a phenomenological perspective, may be helpful to improve how puerperal psychosis and prevention of such condition is understood and taken care of.

This question relates to my own experience. I am susceptible to psychosis and I am a mother of two sons. I experienced the birth of my two sons as very impactful and spiritually intense happenings, including psychotic like experiences, but without postpartum psychosis.

The bare facts of life of women becoming a mother are extraordinary, and as such potentially disarranging. Therefore the study of the female condition with pregnancy, childbirth, and lying-in seems relevant for a better understanding of puerperal psychosis.

I went through two periods of lying-in drug-free, since I wanted to gain access to the wealth of sensations that I – rightly, it turned out later – believed might belong to the period of lying-in. I wish that the fluid self, the crossmodal associations in perception, the very openness that I experienced in my period of lying-in, be appreciated for what they are, without the conversation being dominated by medication talk or an oppressive straitjacket of ‘the normal experience’. I think such value exploration is necessary, because such fluid self is also linked to the pre-psychotic, to the ‘uncanny’, a ‘minimal self’, in short, to an abnormal avoidable state of being.

Inspired by Marie Brown, and drawing on the New Phenomenology framework of Hermann Schmitz, I will evaluate my experiences I had as a new mother, in order broaden the concept of a ‘normal experience’ during the period of lying-in.