Let’s face it; when you are pregnant, your thoughts can be all over the map. Your hormones are in full swing and so are your moods and its hard to get any forewarning when they might go up or down. But new research suggests that what you do concentrate on or about just might matter to that growing baby inside your belly. A recent study has shown that what we as mothers do while we are pregnant will have life-long effects on our babies. This is not cause for moms to panic; in fact, this information should be used to empower moms into being conscious of what they do and think during their pregnancy.
Scientists now know that a pregnant woman’s moods (and the corresponding chemicals produced by those moods) can have profound impacts on her baby’s brain development while in the womb. If a mother is chronically stressed during pregnancy, the hormones secreted during those elevated stress periods will send “messages” to the baby’s developing brain which will gradually adapt to being in a “stressed” environment. This newly formed baby’s brain will be better suited to react quickly and a dampened ability to remain calm. If a mother can consciously spend time focusing on the joy of her pregnancy, or in other words “think happy thoughts” then the development of her baby’s brain will be reflective of serenity and calmness.
So what is a mom to do? Even taking five minutes a day to bring awareness to your thoughts and streamline them into positive feelings will manifest positive outcomes in your baby’s brain development. Having a rough go at it? Not to worry; put on your favorite music, treat yourself to a favorite food or nourish yourself in a way that gives you those good feelings. This conscious approach to caring for your baby in the womb will be just another gift you can give your baby.
Between social mediums like Facebook and Twitter and websites like Craigslist and MeetUp, connecting with people who have similar interests and experiences has never been easier. Don’t believe me? Head on over to Meetup.com and try this experiment. Search for “working moms.” There are more than 3000 groups worldwide that meet under that topic. Now try “stay at home moms.” More than 4000 groups meeting!
Try this same experiment with “pregnancy loss” and you’ll likely receive the same message I did: “Sorry, no matches found for ‘pregnancy loss’ within 100 miles of your zip code.” Well I’ll be darned.
Not having luck with finding local support groups, I decided to head to a bookstore to look for books about coping with pregnancy loss.
The woman at the service desk in Barnes and Noble looked nice enough and I thought I could trust her with my secret so I said, “I’m looking for books about miscarriage.” I waited for her to grimace or flinch under the weight of that awful word. I had imagined her look of pity. Instead, I got nothing. I might as well have asked her where I could find the dictionary section.
She led me to the back, far corner of the bookstore. I followed her thinking, “How appropriate. A corner where I can browse through my tears for the perfect book on how to cope with the loss of my unborn child.”
The section also had books about other taboo subjects like menopause and anxiety. We were able to find exactly one book. One. “Really?” I asked. “There’s no other section? Maybe near the family planning area?” She offered to go check the inventory while I stood there and scoured the shelf thinking maybe she missed it.
For all of the information on conception and pregnancy, there is a fraction of information available on the topic of miscarriage. A search for pregnancy books on Amazon yielded nearly 24,000 results. A search for miscarriage books yielded 901.
The woman came back and said, “I can order one for you.” I declined.
At home I logged into my local library website, something I was avoiding because I have overdue fines from the prenatal yoga DVDs I checked out and was late returning. The library carried a small selection of books (more than I thought they would considering it’s not a well-funded or large library). “Oh good,” I thought, clicking on the first title.
“Due on May 13,” flashed on the screen.
“What? Whaaaat?” I clicked on the next title. “Due on May 13.” The third title: “Due on May 13.”
The library had 3 books and they were checked out! There was a woman, somewhere in my locality, who had checked out these books. Where is she? Who is she? Will she be my friend?
Desperate for a connection, to hear from other women who have been through this experience, I continue to search for local support groups and to lurk on online pregnancy loss boards. I have what seems like thousands of questions. When? What did you do? How long did you? What did your doctor say? What were your HCG levels? How long did it take you to? How did you? Who did you? What did she say? What about?
I don’t know where I’ll find my answers, or my comfort for that matter. It just seems that I shouldn’t have to look so hard.