In the book The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine shared a study that was done comparing male and female brains upon hearing their babies cry in distress. With electrodes monitoring the active brains, they had mothers and fathers simple sit in the presence of their fussing babies. While the fathers’ brains responded in the way you would expect, with stress, emotion, and an impulse towards action, the mothers had all those same responses, but another part of their brain lit up as well.
It turns out that the mothers’ brains literally think of their children, before and after birth, as a physical part of themselves. When hearing her baby cry in distress or pain, the part of the brain that responds to her own personal injuries lights up in the mom. In effect, it’s like empathy on steroids. A mom’s brain responds as though her body has been dealt a blow upon hearing her baby vocalize sadness, hurt, anger, or fear.
While this explains for science how a mom can respond instantaneously and sometimes virtually subconsciously when it comes to the care of her babies, it really comes as no surprise to me. And it’s probably really no surprise to any of you.
Addison has been a part of me from the moment I learned I was pregnant. She shows me every day the best example of unconditional love and devotion.
She’s a song for me –
A mood –
And a story.
And she loves me.
Since my own parents held me in their arms, I have never been loved so flawlessly and so completely. With her constantly wanting to be held in my arms, her chubby hands running through my hair, and her concern over ever freckle she finds in her innocent memorization of my body, she shows me that to her – I’m good enough. To her – I’m lovely. And to her – I’m all the answer she needs when she is scared, hurt, or sick. I’m who she goes to with her questions, her wonderment, or her discoveries.
Every day I make sure to appreciate her devotion, knowing that the teenage years will come along far too soon and I’ll miss her when she stops thinking she is an extension of her momma.
But for now, she’s three.