By Deborah Rozman and Sara Childre
Many would argue there is no bigger responsibility in life than being a mother. And while kids can bring untold joy, meaning and fulfillment into their moms’ lives, the added stress is also often off the charts.
Moms are notorious for worrying about their kids: how they’re developing, their health and safety, their future…and moms have their own stresses just trying to juggle all their priorities. Trying to balance work and family life, sleep deprivation, caring for sick kids or elderly parents, chauffeuring them to activities, spending weekends at sporting events, pulling together healthy meals, earning enough money to provide for their needs, frequently feeling rushed and tired, wondering if they’re doing the parenting thing well enough. Children have needs that very often can’t wait, so parents have to respond even when it’s inconvenient. Stay-at-home moms sometimes get bored in that role. Then there are moms who overcare – when a feeling of true care and love that is regenerative starts to cross the line, allowing worry and anxiety to consume them too regularly. The potential parenting stressors are endless. Not to mention 90% of couples report a decline in marital satisfaction after their first child is born.
Mothers are the heart-center of the family, so engrossed in taking care of everyone else, they often put themselves last. But given how crucial their role is, they actually need to care for themselves just as well as they care for their children. Not just so they can continue to do all the things they do with more ease and balance, but because they pass on their emotional state of being to their child.
An important study showed that when a mother in a balanced and coherent emotional state placed her mental attention on her baby sitting in her lap, she became more sensitive to the subtle electromagnetic signals generated by the infant’s heart, demonstrated by her brain waves.
Although preliminary, these results support the suggestion that the electromagnetic fields produced by the heart may be a source of information exchange between people, one influenced by emotions. “These findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that a mother in a psychophysiologically coherent state became more sensitive to the subtle electromagnetic information encoded in the electromagnetic signals of her infant,” the study’s summary reported.”
The “state of the heart” of mom or the primary caregiver is extremely important in a child’s brain development, as well. It is well known that as a mother nurses her baby in a loving state, the baby’s HRV patterns will entrain or synchronize to the mother’s HRV pattern. Research at Institute of HeartMath has shown that when a parent is holding a child or even sitting or standing in close proximity to the child, the parent’s electrocardiogram (ECG) signal can be measured in the child’s brainwaves or electroencephalogram (EEG) and elsewhere on the child’s body.
So, if you’re stressed out, your child is most likely picking up on that and experiencing your stress, as well.
When a parent is stressed, angry, or anxious, a disordered HRV pattern is communicated directly to the heart and brain of the child. When a parent is peaceful, loving and caring, a harmonious, coherent HRV pattern is communicated directly to the heart and brain of the baby. In other words, the parent’s emotional state is contagious to the baby. As we all know, you smile at a baby and she smiles back. You get upset and baby cries. You can see an immediate shift in baby’s emotional state, muscle tone and whole body. And you can measure the shift in the heart rhythm and brainwave patterns. Imagine what’s going on when a child is being lovingly read to or talked to. This helps develop coherent neural structures in the baby, which are set in place for the rest of the child’s life.
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