Friday, April 4, 2008

Inheriting Traits From Our Children

We have spent the last few weeks talking about quantum physics, so let’s break it up a bit and talk about something completely different.

Back in the year 2000, an interesting article appeared in ZENIT called, “Pregnant Women ‘Inherit’ Some Characteristics of Their Children.” (ZENIT, September 2000. The following is the link to the article:

In the article, Doctor Salvatore Mancuso from the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Catholic University in Italy said, “We have proofs that beginning in the fifth week of gestation, in other words, when a woman realizes she is pregnant, an infinite number of messages pass from the embryo to the mother, through chemical substances like hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. Such information serves to adapt the mother’s organism to the presence of the new being.

“Moreover, it has also been discovered that the embryo sends stem cells that, thanks to the mother’s immune system tolerance, colonize the maternal medulla, and adhere to it. What is more, lymphocytes are born from here and remain with the woman for the rest of her life.”

What does that mean? It means that the mother receives cells from her unborn child. Those cells end up in parts of the nervous system including parts of the brain and remain there for the remainder of the mother’s life. (Google medulla or lymphocytes for more in-depth information.)

What might be the implications for the mother of such a transformation?

First, it explains the incredible bond between a woman and her child. Blood is literally mingled. It also explains why a mother so desperately protects her child. But there is more.

The article further states something even more eye opening, “Finally, the child’s stem cells pass to the mother in great quantity, both at the moment of birth, whether spontaneous or Caesarean, as well as at the time of abortion, whether spontaneous or voluntary. These cells are implanted in the mother’s medulla and produce lymphocytes, which have a common origin with the cells of the central nervous system; they have receptors for the neurotransmitters and can make messages pass that the maternal nervous system understands.”

So many first-time pregnant moms wonder if they’ll be able to “bond” with their child. However, it seems that our Creator has taken care of this.

Such a discovery explains why there are so many women who struggle with a past miscarriage or abortion. They mourn for that loss more personal than any other person could understand – mothers have literally been touched by another human being. They struggle with the loss of another human as though they’ve lost a piece of themselves. Now understanding Dr. Mancuso’s research, in fact, a mother has lost a piece of herself.

Do we have a sense for the intensity of such a loss? Are we sensitive enough to those who have experienced such a loss?

The implications of such a loss go beyond the physical—they enter the spiritual realm. It often takes mothers a long time to heal from a miscarriage; the loss can be overwhelming. Abortion, however, is unique. It is assumed that since the mother chose that option, mourning the loss of the aborted child would seem irrelevant or not necessary. But in fact, since those child’s cells are now part of the mother, that unborn child now becomes a loss that creates a deep scar for the mother since she never heals emotionally, spiritually, or sometimes even physically.

In a recently released book, Motherhood Interrupted, the author and editor Jane Brennan presents women’s life stories after their abortions. Each story is told by the mother, and it offers the reader an opportunity to see first-hand just how abortion affects women. (For more information, see:

Although the author never discusses the biological implications as we have here, the evidence coming from these women’s stories will give you a perspective you may not have considered before.

If our Creator put certain biophysical processes in place between a mother and her child, that bond may be everlasting. Memory often translates something physical into something more ethereal. It allows us to be in touch with things beyond this life, beyond this dimension.

Next week, we will consider more on this subject including a father’s role in a mother’s inherited traits. We’ll also consider a famous mother and the impact her child had on her. See you then.


Robbie Iobst said...

Loretta, This is beautiful. Thank you. I always knew that I had passed something physical to Noah and that connected us, plus the fact that he was inside my womb. But knowing that he gave me something that is still there, well, it is beautiful. It is God.

Loretta said...

Thanks, Robbie!

Jan Parrish said...

What a wonderfully insiteful post. I would even go so far as to say it explains empty nest syndrome as well.

You are such a gifted writer!

Niki said...

Wow. Jan called me and told me to stop by here to read this. I'm going to add this to what I'm already processing. I miscarried in January and I'm still devastated by it. I have so many questions that nobody can really answer for me. This post if food for thought. Thank you Loretta.

~Laura said...

This is an amazing concept. All three of my children are alive and the connection I feel with them is deeper than I can put into words. This has been true in good times and the not-so-good. The old saying, "Blood is thicker than water." is reinforced by your article.

~Laura said...

This is an amazing concept. All three of my children are alive and the connection I feel with them is deeper than I can put into words. This has been true in good times and the not-so-good. The old saying, "Blood is thicker than water." is reinforced by your article.