The bond between a mother and her child is one of the most beautiful universal aspects of humanity. Recent science has shown a fascinating biological depth to this relationship, inspiring even greater admiration for the perfect way in which we were created.
The Cellular Bond between a Mother and Her Baby
Microchimerism is a phenomenon in which cells and DNA travel between a fetus and the mother. As early as the second week of pregnancy, cells from the developing child cross the placenta and enter the mother’s bloodstream. At the same time, cells from the mother cross in the opposite direction, entering the baby’s circulation. Some of the cells from the baby become embedded in the mother’s organs.
Some of these fetal cells can be healing for the mother, actively traveling to the site of an injury. For example, scientists have discovered that fetal stem cells can help a mother’s heart recover from a heart attack or other injury. The cells travel to the heart where they reprogram themselves as beating heart stem cells, aiding in the repair process. Studies have also documented the spontaneous recovery of newly postpartum women with peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Fetal stem cells can help a mother’s heart recover from a heart attack or other injury.
Fetal cells can also help in the healing of other wounds – even cesarean incisions! These cells have been found in healed C-section scars as they actively work to restore the mother’s body by producing skin components, like collagen. Some fetal cells have been found to cluster in the brain and may influence maternal impulses.
Once a Mother, Always a Mother
Fetal cells can remain in the mother’s body for decades after giving birth. The cells of the mother also stay in her child’s body – in blood, tissues, and organs like the heart – for decades. One study found that over 50% of adults still had the cells of their mothers within them.
Over 50% of adults still have the cells of their mothers within them.
You might be wondering – does this occur only in pregnancies carried to term? Interestingly enough, the answer is no. Even pregnancies that tragically end in miscarriage or abortion have this effect upon the mother. The cells will continue to circulate in her bloodstream, allowing the mother to continue to hold on to a piece of the child she won’t be able to meet upon earth.
Human beings are absolutely incredible. How beautiful it is that, while a mother nurtures and grows her baby, the baby protects her mother. How beautiful it is that mothers quite literally carry their children within themselves beyond birth and that children, too, carry their mothers. How beautiful it is that we were created for such a loving exchange, giving and receiving so that life can flourish!
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