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The secret world of the unborn child

Childhood experiences are not the only factors that can determine our destiny. A child’s life does not begin with its birth. Just because we can’t see the baby before he’s born (except through ultrasound machines), doesn’t mean he doesn’t have ties to the outside world. Although the unborn child lives in a world of his own, he is still deeply influenced by everything that happens around him, especially the thoughts, feelings, and actions of his parents. Research has shown that a fetus can lead an active emotional life from the sixth month onwards, if not earlier. He is able to feel and can even see, hear, taste, experience and learn while he is in the womb. The feelings that he has during his stay in the womb depend to a great extent on how he deals with the messages that he receives mainly from the mother, but also from the father and the environment.

The bond begins before birth

A distraught mother, who is constantly worried about making mistakes or suffering from other forms of emotional imbalance, can leave a deep scar on the personality of the developing fetus. Likewise, a self-assured and confident mother instills in him a deep sense of contentment and security. These initial or similar emotional imprints shape a person’s attitudes and expectations and can ultimately create a personality that manifests them as shyness, anxiety, and aggression, or self-confidence, optimism, and happiness. Contrary to common understanding but discovered by recent research, the father’s feelings toward his wife and the unborn child play one of the most important roles in determining the success of a pregnancy. There is strong evidence that a father bonding with his child while it is still in the womb can make a big emotional difference to his well-being. A newborn baby can recognize her father’s voice in the first hour or two after birth and respond emotionally, as long as the father has been talking to the child during the pregnancy. The familiar and relaxing tone of her voice, for example, is able to make the child stop crying, indicating that he feels protected and safe.

It is common knowledge that a mother’s eating habits can also influence the growth of the fetus. Cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking have been shown to cause irreversible damage to the growing fetus. A series of precise experiments has shown that the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the parents (particularly those of the mother) can exert an even greater influence on the unborn child.

There is much speculation as to when exactly the fetus begins to recognize and respond to these external stimuli, but this seems secondary. What is most important is that human life begins in the womb and is shaped by all of its experiences during the gestation period (the nine months in the womb). Studies have shown that a fetal heartbeat speeds up every time its mother thinks about smoking a cigarette. Without lighting or picking up a cigarette, the thought of the mother triggered an instantaneous adrenaline response in the fetus in anticipation of a feared drop in oxygen in her and her mother’s blood. This stress response made her heart beat faster. The mother’s desire to smoke may also be related to a feeling of uncertainty, nervousness and fear within her. As she translates these emotions into corresponding chemicals in her brain, the same emotional responses are also activated in the fetus. This situation can eventually predispose the fetus to deep-seated nervousness and anxiety later in life.

rhythms of happiness

Maternal emotions of anxiety have repeatedly been shown to cause exaggerated fetal activity. The researchers were able to show that the most active fetuses would one day become the most anxious young. They would become unnaturally shy and shy away from teachers, schoolmates, friendships, and all human contact. Young people are most likely to remain shy and shy even into their thirties and into old age, unless they find a way to correct the initial emotional imbalance from the fetal stage.

The rhythms and tone of its mother’s voice also influence the fetus. The fetus moves to the rhythm of her body to harmonize with the unique rhythms of her mother’s speech. She also responds to sounds and melodies from a source other than her mother. Agitated unborn children calm down when they listen to soothing music like Vivaldi. Beethoven, on the other hand, makes them kick and move more, just like the screaming of the parents. Pregnant musicians have even “taught” their fetuses intricate pieces of music. From a certain age, children were able to play music from memory without ever having heard it before, except in the womb. Other children were found to repeat words or phrases that the mother had used only during the pregnancy. A child grew up speaking a foreign language that the mother had used during her pregnancy while she was working in a foreign country, but which she had stopped using after giving birth.

The maternal heartbeat is one of the most powerful means of keeping the growing fetus happy and in tune with the outside world. The steady rhythm of your heartbeat reassures you that all is well. He can ‘read’ the mother’s emotional states through the changing rhythms of her heart. During the gestation period, the fetus feels the comforting maternal heartbeat as its main source of life, security and love. The emotional value associated with heartbeats was confirmed by a study using a recorded human heartbeat on tape played to a nursery full of newborn babies. To the astonishment of the researchers, the babies who were exposed to heartbeat sounds ate more, weighed more, slept more, breathed better, cried less, and got less sick than those who were deprived of the rhythmic sound of a heart. Of course, in natural settings, babies would never be separated from their mothers after birth and would therefore continue to feel their mother’s heartbeat.

‘Crib death’ is a phenomenon that occurs almost exclusively among babies who have been kept apart from their mothers after birth (another important risk factor is cigarette smoke in the babies’ environment). These babies feel abandoned by their mothers and cannot maintain their vital functions without feeling and hearing their heartbeats. Most babies survive this dramatic measure of separation from the mother, but may be left with emotional scars that manifest as low self-esteem, weakness, and anxiety later in life. In contrast, babies who spend most of their time with their mothers feel wanted and loved from the first moments of life. They are much less likely to have a reason to feel insecure when they grow up. Their personalities will be friendly, confident, optimistic, and outgoing.

mixed messages

A fetus can be strongly influenced by stressful events that occur in the mother’s life. The resulting release of stress hormones can trigger similar emotional responses in the fetus to those felt by the mother. However, if she feels unconditional love for her baby and believes that nothing else is as important to her as her growing child, then the baby will feel safe and secure. A major German study of 2,000 pregnant women found that children of mothers who were expecting to have a baby were much healthier, both mentally and physically, at birth and afterward than children of mothers who did not really want a child. Another study conducted at the University of Salzburg in Austria had even more surprising results. Psychological tests revealed that mothers who wanted their unborn children, both consciously and unconsciously, had the easiest pregnancies, uncomplicated deliveries, and the healthiest offspring, both physically and emotionally. The group of mothers who had a negative attitude toward their unborn children had the most serious medical complications during pregnancy and had the highest rate of premature, low birth weight, and emotionally disturbed babies.

Many pregnant women give mixed messages to their babies. Often they would like to have a child but do not want to give up their career. These unborn children are often listless and lethargic after birth. A woman’s relationship with her husband or partner is the second most influential factor in determining the outcome of the baby. A recent study involving more than 1,300 children and their families showed that women who feel they are trapped in a stormy marriage have a 237 percent increased risk of giving birth to a psychologically or physically abnormal child. Children who feel loved while in the womb have good reason to give trust and love when they live in the outside world. They generally develop a deep bond with their parents and have little or no tendency to become affiliated with or involved with problematic personalities during their lives.

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