Some readers may recognize this blog’s title as the opening line to Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion”. Research indicates that how mothers and children get along is determined very early in pregnancy. The fetus receives signals from the mother’s body regarding how well she’ll be able to provide for her offspring during life.
In other words, if you’re pregnant and you don’t take care of yourself the fetus gets a biochemical signal that health, etc., isn’t important and that biochemical signal changes how the fetus develops.
A mother who doesn’t eat well sends a signal that food will be scarce so design a body that will store calories for lean times. This leads to childhood obesity and other disorders.
A mother who doesn’t exercise regularly signals for a lethargic lifestyle.
A mother who doesn’t see to her needs sends signals that she won’t see to the growing child’s needs.
I’m not surprised by this information. I’ve long believed that families create energies and those energies are inherited. I recognize how metaphysical that might sound and I don’t mean it to be such except in the sense that I have no other language to express it. Basically, if a parent has a bad attitude about themselves, their health, their psychological and emotional well being, that bad attitude gets passed down to their children.
That’s the nurture part of Nature versus Nurture.
I also know lots of research is demonstrating that traumatic events (especially repeated traumatic events, such as abuse of any kind, including bullying) can shape a developing brain towards the negative. A victimized child gets wired early on to believe they are a victim. It takes lots of therapy, lots of work and lots of willpower to change that belief when the child is an adult because, by the time adulthood is reached, that wiring is “fixed”. Like wiring in a house, you need to tear down the wall to put in new wiring.
This is the first time I’ve seen evidence that Nature is strongly influenced by Nurture. It also works the other way. This also demonstrates that Nurture — how we raise our offspring — is strongly influenced by our Natures — our beliefs about ourselves.
A reporter on a regional news station (Boston, MA, area) said he believed people should be tested before being allowed to have children. They need a license to drive, to have a gun and so on, so shouldn’t people need a license to have a child. His statement came after a story about a particularly abused child.
Personally, I agree with him although I wondered what kind of feedback his offhand remark received.
In any case, make sure you’re healthy — emotionally, physically, spiritually and physically — if you want a healthy child.
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