The Right Start
Annie Murphy Paul's informative cover article highlights the importance of caring for the emotional as well as the physical health of women during the perinatal period [Oct. 4]. To this end, we must integrate behavioral health into the training for and practice of obstetrics. We must also expand the access of mothers-to-be to quality behavioral-health experts who offer treatment options that complement obstetric care, from stress-reduction techniques to the identification of depression and anxiety disorders. As Paul's article underscores, the quality of care for pregnant women's bodies and minds has effects that may last for generations.
Drs. Frederic Kass and Mary E. D'Alton, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,
New York City
This is a wonderful article, but the field is not new just renamed. The field of pre- and perinatal psychology became prominent in the late 1970s and early 1980s, buoyed by the seminal 1981 book by Thomas Verny, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child.
Lakewood, Colo., U.S.
Being 10 weeks pregnant, it was with trepidation that I read "The Womb. Your Mother. Yourself." I was relieved, however, that the messages of eating well, keeping away from chemicals and avoiding stress were clear and simple and that some of them were directly within my control. It seems a shame, with such a growing importance falling on prenatal nutrition, that pregnant mothers are bombarded with advice on foods to avoid yet see much less attention paid to the way we should eat. A little more education and taking a little time and effort to prepare a wide variety of whole foods seems to be the best gift we can give our unborn children.
Bondi Beach, Australia
My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage after a terrible emotional shock. Years later, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl after a stress-free, joyful pregnancy. I was glad to read that science is finally exploring the impact of emotions on a fetus.
Littleton, Colo., U.S.
Your cover photo blew me away. I was warmed and moved by the purity in the mother-to-be's protectiveness of the infant she carries, the modest owning of her own femininity and the glory of her female form.
Waitakere, New Zealand
The artful photo of the beautiful pregnant woman would be appropriate in another setting, but on the cover of TIME? Come on. This goes into the homes of families where the parents do not always get to the mailbox before the kids. This shows extremely poor judgment on the part of TIME.
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle's call for more marine protected areas (MPAs) is an admirable start, but by itself it is but a salve ["Code Blue," Oct. 4]. MPAs don't necessarily reduce fishing pressure; they just concentrate it in adjacent, unprotected waters. With nutritionists increasingly urging us to eat more seafood, one answer lies in open-ocean mariculture. We can as the Hawaii water farm I help run currently does grow great-tasting seafood in deeper waters farther offshore, where environmental conflicts with other ocean users are negligible. Increasingly we can do this with sustainable diets: soy proteins and oils, microalgal biofuels' by-products. We can grow more fish better and truly soften our impact on the seas.
Neil Anthony Sims,
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, U.S.
More on Israel
The sample of highly defensive letters you received railing against Karl Vick's probe into Israeli attitudes toward peace talks should be seen as Exhibit A in support of Vick's premise [Inbox, Oct. 4]. The 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon, a Jew who lived in Tel Aviv for many years, said much the same thing in reports last year that the two-state solution is all but dead given the political power of the settlers and the fact that many Israelis, faced with such an intractable problem, live in denial about the conflict.
M. Bruce Grosjean,
At Home on the Beltway
Re "Candidate or Kingmaker?" [Oct. 4]: Haley Barbour is exactly what we need in Washington another good ol' boy! Not only is he a wealthy former lobbyist, but his other insider connections make him a perfect current politician. But seriously, his governorship and his state's 50th ranking in so many areas say it all. I wonder if enough Americans will see a need to go in a different direction?
Corvallis, Ore., U.S.