Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Infants, who are far from having the ability to express their emotions, nonetheless are able to sense–and feel–when their mothers are experiencing stress, according to a new study conducted by researchers in New York and California. More from The Huffington Post:
“Your infant may not be able to tell you that you seem stressed or ask you what is wrong, but our work shows that, as soon as she is in your arms, she is picking up on the bodily responses accompanying your emotional state and immediately begins to feel in her own body your own negative emotion,” study researcher Sara Waters, of New York University, said in a statement. Waters worked with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, on the Psychological Science study.
For the study, researchers examined emotion and heart rate in babies whose mothers were put through a stressful task. The study included 69 mothers and their 12- to 14-month-old babies, all of whom had cardiovascular sensors attached to them to record heart rate.
The researchers separated the mothers and babies so that the mothers could give a five-minute speech and go through a five-minute Q & A session. Evaluators were assigned to review each mother’s speech and Q & A session, giving either positive, negative or no feedback. The mothers who received the negative feedback had more negative emotions and fewer positive emotions, as well as increased cardiac stress, after undergoing this experience.
Then, the researchers reunited the mothers with their babies. Within minutes of going back to their mothers, the babies seemed to “track” their mother’s stress response, in the effort of an increased heart rate. And the greater the other’s stress response, the greater the baby’s response seemed to be.
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Image: Stressed out mom, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 10th, 2012
An annual report from the non-profit organization Save the Children has ranked the United States 25th in the world in how the country cares for and supports mothers. The rankings are based on measures of everything from medical care to maternity leave. CNN.com has more:
That puts the U.S. right between Belarus and the Czech Republic. Norway is No. 1, just ahead of Iceland and Sweden.
The report’s ranking of 165 nations factors in measures of education, health and economic status as well as the health and nutrition of children.
“There’s still an awful lot that we need to do,” said Carolyn Miles, the president of Save The Children.
The U.S. has made strides with respect to better care for teen moms and also in electing more women to government positions, which the organization sees as an important measure of how society values women.
But it has to do more, Miles and others stress.
“We valorize parenthood and in particular, motherhood, while at the same time we offer very few supports,” said Robin Simon, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University.
So while the U.S. recognizes mothers for their incredibly important role as the primary caregivers to children, it still hasn’t done enough to help raise the kids.
It’s no secret: Raising a child is stressful and really expensive. A new mother needs a lot of help, Simon said, and other countries provide more government assistance than the United States does.
“Unlike other industrialized nations, we lack the kind of state-level protections and policies that would reduce some of that stress,” she said, speaking of “family-friendly entitlement programs” like universal health care.
Image: Mother and child, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, August 11th, 2011
A survey of more than 26,000 American mothers reveals that many moms feel overwhelmed in ways they usually don’t discuss in public. The “Mom Confessions” study was conducted by TODAY.com, the online home of the NBC morning program, and Parenting.com, the website of Parenting and Babytalk magazines.
Among the findings are “confessions” about secret desires to have “do-overs,” insecurities about the mothers’ weight, and candid admissions about how they judge other moms:
- If given the chance, 23% of moms would choose a different spouse/partner and 21% would have more children.
- Out of the moms who ever wished their child was the opposite sex, nearly two-thirds are moms of boys.
- Weight versus smarts: 45% of moms would choose to weigh 15 pounds less rather than add 15 points to their child’s IQ.
- Nearly 1 in 5 moms confessed to medicating their child to calm him/her down before a big trip — and nearly 1 in 12 do so on a regular night just for some peace and quiet.
- 49% have knowingly sent a sick child to daycare or school.
- More than 1 in 3 admits to judging moms of overweight kids.
- 43% judge moms who still breastfeed their toddlers.
According to TODAY Moms senior editor Rebecca Dube, “The revelations we uncovered in our survey should put a stake through the heart of the myth of the perfect mother. Moms everywhere are overwhelmed and they often feel like they’re the only ones — but our findings show that they’re not; everyone shares the same challenges.”
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