It’s a tricky topic to tackle, how a mum’s mood can affect her unborn baby. Many studies have been published on this topic and sometimes the effect is the opposite of what scientific papers seek to do, which is to inform. What can occur instead, is a fear mongering that causes many, including the people that need it least, i.e. pregnant mums, to increase the fear they have for their unborn children and themselves.
Sadly what many discussions of these papers have lead to is a heaping of guilt upon mothers, by themselves, by their families and by society in general. Sometimes the guilt is unintentionally created but when it comes to a group of people that are sensitive to the wellbeing of children, look no further than mums. So it is with tact, compassion and care that studies of mother-moods to child development need to be discussed.
It is widely known that a woman’s body, mind and any substance intake may have significant effects on the baby she is carrying. Health care experts across the board encourage women to prioritise their health, particularly prenatal care, in the effort to increase the positive outcome for mum and bub in the long run.
A healthy diet, consistent daily exercise while pregnant are all factors that should be seriously considered by woman and mums to be. The positive outcomes to a healthy lifestyle are encouraging incentives for all humans, regardless of gender. Yet when it comes to growing and caring for the life of another tiny human, many mums feel the added pressure to be perfect. Perfection is unattainable for any human being. Mums, it is not possible for us to be perfect what we can only do is try our best. With this freedom to operate without the shackle to be perfect we can start the journey to understanding the dynamics of our influences on our bubs in utero without recriminating ourselves to oblivion.
From how depression affects foetuses in the womb and outside of it, to the possible effects of antidepressants taken while pregnant, scientific studies do have things to say. While studies are conducted in the effort to figure out more about human development, in the effort to help and protect, it needs to be acknowledged that those who are under the microscope, woman and pregnancy, for us, the topic is not only looking under the skin but can easily get under our skin. Before many women can even access the factual and informative information coming out of these prenatal studies, the culture of responsibility and guilt needs to be addressed. You madam woman, madam pregnant woman are beautiful, valuable and capable. Let us see science as our friend and resource not more ammunition to feel worse about ourselves. This is a discussion that needs to be had countless times over and we’re here for the long run.
To infinity, science, compassion and beyond, oh and a good crunch on some carrots with some hummus, please and thank you.