18 Weeks, 4 Days, and 1 Hour out of Bed

by Esther on Wed, Dec 9th, 2009

in Challenges,Psychological,Week 19

I’ve been plagued by nightmares this week. One was about INTRUDERS that us good guys were going head to head with. There was graphic killing and maiming on both the good guy teams and bad guy teams , resulting in an eventual cat and mouse game with lots of strategy and more blood. I woke with a gasp! and ran to the bathroom (because that’s was I do about 4 times a night still), where I wondered about the mental state of my poor baby. See, I’ve been a little obsessed with the state of my baby’s emotions ever since reading about a study in the book <i>What’s Going on in There (How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life).  Read on:

“One 1982 Israeli study offers a fascinating demonstration of how a mother’s emotional state affects her fetus. Researches put headphones on pregnant women and allowed them to listen to various types of music while they measured fetal movements under ultrasound. Remarkably, most of the fetuses became more active when the music was turned on, particularly when their mothers were listening to their favorite type of music, whether pop or classical. Because the music was inaudible to the fetuses, the researches concluded that they must have been reacting to changes in their mother’s emotional state. The question is: How does an unborn baby know what its mother is feeling?”

The short answer is the limbic system, which links higher areas of the cerebral cortex to lower brain structures that coordinate the basic bodily functions from blood flow to sex drive.  The watered down explanation to my concern is that “hormonal responses can be based solely on the basis of emotional stimuli”, and that the same system that is running my hormones is busy running my baby’s hormones.

After reading about all of this, I became convinced that I needed to do my damnedest to be in a pretty good mood, most of the time. I am actively trying to not let little things about life bother me. This cuts down considerably on my typical east coast kvetching, which can sometimes become loud and cursing in my head even when there is a smile on my face. (Don’t blame me! It’s my culture!) To help me along this course, I have taken to sitting in front of a Philips GoLite blue light system on most mornings. I also stick with my regularly scheduled program of fish oil, vitamin D, yoga, walking, terrific music, and acupuncture. All of this busy blues combating behavior seems to help, too. Either that or I am actually a naturally happy person who is just being a little OCD about SAD and the kvetching voice in her head.

But, honestly?! How could possibly I protect my baby from my own bloody murderous dreams!!? Or, perhaps even worse, the dream I had right after the murderous dream in which I had a dramatic and bloody miscarriage? The second dream triggered an 8am wake up call that had me absolutely convinced that the child I was carrying was dead (until 9am, when I felt that child kick).  I can’t imagine that it’s very cool for me to impart such a dramatic, heart racing, fight or flight reaction to the child within me at the innocent age of 18 weeks.  But, then again, maybe all of life’s lessons start very early.  Maybe I should even let the occasional f-bomb rush out from my inner voice.  Goodness knows how I’m going to prevent such bombs from rushing out from my outer voice from time to time, when my baby is all ears, sitting right in front of me.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 misha Fri, Dec 11th, 2009 at 3:58 am

I think as long as you maintain an overall super positive outlook on everything in your life you’re ok. It’s more important to create a bond like the one you’re describing -where you worry and you connect and you think about your little nugget and his or her connection to you as its mom. Your nugget is already inlove with you and already idolizes you and thinks you are the most awesome person on the planet and s/he should know that sometimes our emotions get the best of us and we have not so nice thoughts. However, the way you handle those thoughts is what counts because you will not be able to block your nugget from the big bad nasty world we live in. Your job is to create and maintain as much happiness and peace and calm as you can and teach your nugget how to deal with all of life’s little challenges – starting from bad dreams to bad thoughts to bad anything. And don’t worry, once nugget is out in the world living in the home you share with B instead of his/her current home, you’ll have these fantastic moments when s/he will totally give you a “look” and you will melt inside because you were thinking the exact same thing.


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