An Interview with Authors Shawn A. Tassone, MD and Kathryn M. Landherr, MD
1. You are both board-certified OB-GYNs, yet you have trained extensively in homeopathic and integrative medicine (including two-year fellowships in integrative medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona). What drew you to integrative medicine?
The allopathic model currently neglects the spiritual and intuitive side of healing (and some may think it neglects healing in general). I think it is a journey that each of us has been on for many years, and we decided to incorporate the journey into our modes of practice by learning about alternative forms of healing. The program at the University of Arizona with Andrew Weil, MD was a wonderful place to learn about the vast aspects of integrative medicine from experts in the field. I think the two-year fellowship also opened us up to other training, like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction with Jon Kabat Zinn and Mind Body Medicine training with James Gordon, MD.
2. Your new book is Spiritual Pregnancy. What inspired you to write this book?
It is similar to what drew us to integrative medicine in general: there is a missing piece of spirituality in the medical field. It also felt like there is no more a spiritual journey than that of pregnancy, where you have one foot in this world and one foot in the esoteric world of the hero's journey. Having another life growing inside of you, along with the aspects of a mother's intuition, were just too fascinating for us not to expand upon.
3. Spiritual Pregnancy details the "heroine's journey" (a play on the "fool's journey" of the tarot and Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey"), whereby each trimester correlates to a stage of the epic journey where emotional, spiritual, and physical connections heighten the awareness between mother and unborn child. Why is this journey important?
We think it's important for the pregnant woman to have a connection to the maternal archetype. The heroine's journey through pregnancy is a voyage whereby the woman leaves the comfort of being alone or simply married to that of mother. For those already with children the voyage may be familiar, but life is still going to change. We feel it is important to show that, while most hero's journeys are those of men, that women hold the true hero's journey by bringing life into the worldand that that might be overlooked.
4. What types of exercises does Spiritual Pregnancy include to help mother and child strengthen their bond?
We discuss many things, from specially designed yoga postures to meditative and guided imagery practices. The pregnant woman will also learn various forms of journaling and historical anecdotes that will help her connect to the maternal archetype of the cosmos.
5. Is there any prior knowledge needed for those expectant mothers wishing to create a spiritual pregnancy with the help of your book?
It's a similar recommendation we ask of women as they are going through the birthing process: all we is ask is that you be open-minded. As much as we would like doctors to be the same way, all we can control are our own desires for particular outcomes; we ask that while reading the book that you surrender to the process and not try and control where the journey goes. While there are certain battles and trials the heroine will have to endure and overcome, you can find comfort in the fact that your body already has most of the knowledge it needs to prevail.
6. What do you hope readers will take away from Spiritual Pregnancy?
That women are the shamans and priestesses of this world. and that this journey has within it the power of transformation. Their physical transformation is obvious, but the emotional and psychological changes are also extremely important. Also, when you cross the second threshold as the returned heroine from your pregnancy journey you are a part of the maternal archetype that has been ongoing for thousands of yearsand your story is now a part of that history.