Childbearing seems eternal, primordial and universal. Yet human reproduction in the 21st century is in a state of flux. This accessible book highlights dramatic changes that have occurred over the last decades, focusing on both individual and cross-cultural diversity across the now elongated childbearing cycle and the uniqueness of desire and emotional experience. It does so by locating the transition to parenthood in its psycho-sexual and socio-economic context, emphasising interweaving internal/external realities and our inherent interconnectedness with others. Included are conscious and unconscious factors determining beliefs, expectations and parenting practices, and ways in which these are affected by rapid urbanisation, shrinking families, societal instability, HIV, governmental maternity and child care policies, and attitudes of professionals. Drawing widely on empirical and clinical research from disparate disciplines psychoanalytic, neuro-scientific, neonatal, sociological, obstetric, anthropological and midwifery this resource book synthesises these to illustrate a spectrum of processes affecting each person's mental health.