Motherhood Changes the Brain

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  1. Aficionada profile image85
    Aficionadaposted 6 years ago

    I just scanned this fascinating article on LiveScience: … 11584.html

    Studies may point to some therapies for mothers who do not experience attachment to their babies; attachment is important to enable the baby to survive and to thrive.

    I actually thought I lost some brainpower (assuming also brain size) when my kids were born, but this article says the reverse!  lol  lol  lol

    But - according to the article - they do not yet know whether the increase in brain size accounts for mothering and attachment or whether mothering and attachment contribute to the increase in brain size.

    Reactions?  Comments?

    1. profile image0
      prozemaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      ..."we don't know whether it's the experience that changes the brain, or the brain that changes the experience," is a quote from the article.   They should have measured the dad's brains too.   They don't experience the hormonal changes.   Maybe the experience of loving and forming attachment literally expands our brains.   I'd like to believe that experience changes the brain.  We have some, obviously not total, control over our experiences.   Hope science proves in the future. 

      Perhaps trauma affects our brains in the opposite way.

      1. Aficionada profile image85
        Aficionadaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Excellent point!  I hope they will do that in some future research.

        As a matter of fact, I have read articles - no, actually I have only read headlines and blurbs, not enough to give me sufficient details - that indicate that the stress of depression does cause some shrinkage of the brain.  Or, I should say, I believe that was the interpretation.  I would imagine one should also research whether something else caused the shrinkage and that, in turn, caused the depression. 

        I have gleaned that a lot of exciting studies of the brain are being undertaken these days. It will be fascinating to see how the researchers interpret their results and follow up.

  2. Cagsil profile image82
    Cagsilposted 6 years ago

    Increase in brain size? Hmmm....interesting.

    I would definitely say that "motherhood" does most certainly bring about a new awareness for those who accept the responsibility. wink

    1. Aficionada profile image85
      Aficionadaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Awareness, for sure.

      I have also read that women become better drivers after they have children.  The theory for the reason related to the idea that the mother feels a stronger  responsibility for other lives.

      This linked study used actual brain scans before and after childbirth.  They said the increases in size were "small but significant."

      1. Cagsil profile image82
        Cagsilposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        You see, to me that is increased awareness.
        Cool! smile

        1. Aficionada profile image85
          Aficionadaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, it was my intention to express agreement with you, with this added bit of information from a different source.

          And I agree with this too.  We have had some interesting forum threads in the past concerning the way thoughts and attitudes affect the brain - and vice versa.  I too believe that there are several processes going on simultaneously, and that they affect one another in something of a circular path.

  3. knolyourself profile image60
    knolyourselfposted 6 years ago

    Perhaps a little of each, as the production of chemicals to support the baby, and the learning process of the new responsibility.

  4. rebekahELLE profile image88
    rebekahELLEposted 6 years ago

    That is an interesting article. I would love to read more about their findings. It would be fascinating to see if there is a difference between nursing mothers and non-nursing mothers, since we know that nursing causes the 'feel good' oxytocin hormones to be released that help strengthen the mother/infant bond.

    I think so. I like to keep up with any recent brain research or anything to do with the very early years of life. I found this article recently in the NYT about how infants learn. It's quite fascinating, and anyone who has been around infants significantly can see this to be true. They learn so much from observing the human face. They don't need many toys or need to be learning how to 'read' by watching a video! Let them hear and see language spoken in complete sentences by watching our lips and our expressions, our tone of voice. … p;src=dayp

    1. Aficionada profile image85
      Aficionadaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I too would love to know more about differences between nursing and non-nursing mothers and what differences, if any, have been observed in their brain changes.

      As to the article you linked:  absolutely fabulous - I loved it!

      I'm very interested in her focus on language as the organizing factor of various types of knowledge.

      And I'm especially interested in what she says about babies and race.  From time to time I've seen headlines that make a big deal out of the fact that babies do distinguish between people who look like themselves and those who look different to the baby. 

      What encouraged me in this article was that the baby would rather be around someone who sounds like them - even down to the regional accent, not to mention the language that is spoken around them - than around someone who has the same skin color.  What a lovely and endearing discovery!


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