From the category archives:

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.

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