Friday, October 10, 2014


"Oh, Mom, I can't seem to remember anything lately," sighed my firstborn, 7 months pregnant with her third.  "Placental shunting."

Kimberly said those last two words like they meant something to me.  Detecting my fog, she attempted to blow it away with, "Pregnancy brain."  Seems there is a medical term for this known as Placenta to Brain Syndrome.  

Thirteen years later Kimberly, Elizabeth (placenta free!) and I had a wonderful girl-getaway at the beach, as you can see.  I detected no dain bramage from either of us, resulting from motherhood. Just sheer fun!

Now I don't claim to be up on the latest medically nor do I always buy into it fully at first. So many times further testing contradicts the original premise. 

An example?  Sugar causes hyper activity in children. Accepted by doctors and parents until a study was done with a roomful of children at a party.  Half had sugar, half did not.  Parents nor professionals could tell the difference by observation.  

New premise: it may be the occasion or activity (parties!  Ya' think?) causing the high level of energy, rather than the glucose.  Same with the old thought, "Drink 8 glasses of water a day."  No matter your weight?  No study ever was done when that recommendation came out. Even salt causing high blood pressure is being questioned.

Pregnancy brain, huh?  I do remember being busy as a young mother of two with Katy on the way.  I forgot things.  Couldn't always clink thearly.  I thought it was because I was busy as a young mother of two.  So I blamed Kimberly and Kent, not mommy brain. Who needs a syndrome for dain bramage?  

For generations women have been told that having children will turn their brains to mush, that the demands of motherhood will cause them to spiral into mindless behavior, like putting keys into the refrigerator or the milk in the closet.  In fact, recent studies show that new mothers develop certain cognitive enhancements.  

The hypothalamus, the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex actually grow post partum. These areas motivate a mom to care for her infant, to enjoy the simple interactions and to be more effective at skills like reasoning, planning and judgment.   Put another way, love grows a mother's brain, literally. Once again science catches up with old wives' tales about a mother's love.

See, moms?  Pregnancy made you smarter after all!  God knew what He was doing.

What about dads? Testosterone levels drop by a third in the weeks following their child's arrival, making them more nurturing, less aggressive. What about the other side effect of low T?  Keep in mind that new mothers are probably temporarily more interested in the new baby than in the baby maker! 

I know my ears heard better when my baby cried during the night.  My nose seemed to detect dirty diapers before Doug's did.  That may also be scientifically valid, since women have more olfactory nerves in our noses than do men.  Further studies. however, showed men actually smell some things better than women.  Another study showed no difference between sexes in detecting scents. 

Apparently there are enough studies to validate most any opinion!

So is it science or old wives' tales?  I choose to lean a third direction.

God equips us to handle what we were designed for.  

It's not always so simplistic.  As an example though, years ago I made a personal decision based on that premise. I chose to reject the current medical trend to prescribe hormone replacement therapy to women for menopausal symptoms.  

Talking to a friend, I wondered, "Why would God universally stop our bodies from making something if we needed it at this time?" She agreed but was torn because her symptoms were so bad. She continued taking hormones. Years later the studies showed they caused cancer, heart problems, stroke, etc. and doctors backed off prescribing them.  

My friend got cancer.  I don't know the cause. She just finished treatments.

Are we too quick to take drugs?  ADD?  Here, take this drug.  Vets coming home suffering PTSS?  Here, take this drug.  Nicotine addiction?  Here's a patch.  Sometimes we "patch up" our ailments only to learn the quick fix makes things worse in the long run. 

I'm not against medicine--it just saved our grandson's life!  It helps me manage my diabetes. Anti-depressants can help people deal with deep depression.  I praise God for medicine and the medical community too. But I wonder if syndromes, symptoms and drugs may have too close a relationship.  It seems to be the first answer to most everything. Use can easily becomes abuse.

We ARE wonderfully made!  God also gives us a wonderful medical community.  Be neither the first one on, nor the last one off, their band wagon.  To put it another way:

One of the fruits of the Spirit is temperance.  Perhaps He wants to guide us one way or the other, finding balance. Sometimes, instead of pop a pill, the answer may lie in eating healthier, natural foods or exercise to produce and release what God put within our bodies.  Ask God first, not last. God is God. Doctors are not. They are God's gift to us. 

That's my take away.  Not my advice, just my old wife's opinion.

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