Motherhood Changes The Body-Does It Change The Brain?

Motherhood changes the body—but does it change the brain? Sleep deprived new mothers can argue that they seem too exhausted to think. Brain researchers Kelly Lambert with Randolph-Macon College and collaborator Craig Kinsley with the University of Richmond wrote in Scientific American, January, 2006 that having a baby can actually make a mother’s brain sharper. What?—you might exclaim—I feel so exhausted, how can having a baby make my brain sharper?

Lambert and Kinsley observed the behavior of new mother rats and found that they not only out performed non-mother rats at searching for food but were also bolder in their strategies.

Coping day and night with the demands of a new baby may change the brain and behavior in ways that go beyond just nursing and nurturing. “From what we’ve seen, having a whole different being to take care of requires a whole new set of skills and a lot more awareness, cognitive awareness and multi-tasking,” explains professor Lambert. Lambert, Kinsley and others have shown that some brain changes are triggered by the surges of hormones that accompany motherhood. However, it is hormones and behavior which create an enriching experience for the brain. This enrichment lasts into old age. So who is to say that parenting is just a ‘thankless job.’

Now I know that my statement, “My daughter and son made me into the woman I am today,” made long-ago, has validity. Thank you dear daughter and son—You are my inspiration, my admiration and myself.

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author, international speaker and seminar leader specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Physical/Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. As an inspirational leader, Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life's challenges as an opportunity for Personal/ Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening. http://www.drdorothy.net

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