I was told about this book by Leah's sister, Kelty. It is truly empowring and inspiring to read about the research this lady has done on how Motherhood can make you smarter! Generations of mothers have been told—and believed—that having a baby means checking their own brains at the delivery room door. “The Mommy Brain” usually refers to a head full of feeding times, soccer schedules, and nursery rhymes, at the expense of creative or challenging ideas.
I like the book because she references hundreds of legitimate social and neurological studies that back up her conclusions that Motherhood increases your abilities in efficiency (including learning and memory), your motivation, your stress-coping mechanisms and your social skills or emotional intelligence.
Here are some of my favorite points:
"There are many surprising and fundamental ways in which, despite all the boring time you now have to spend picking up Lego bits from the floor, the experiences of having and rearing children can stimulate and enrich your brain and make you smarter."
"The definition of 'smart': [in Merriam-Webster's] is "causing a sharp stinging." What better description of children! They really tax you, push you to grow mentally. I felt smarter primarily because I could feel myself learning all kinds of new things at what seemed to me like an unprecedented rate. I was learning, and still am learning lessons every day about what we think of as "emotional intelligence"--how to understand and manage one's own and others' feelings. And I didn't get thrown so much by distractions, because there were so many, and I got used to them."
"There are concrete changes to the brain during motherhood. Having dissected rats' brains scientists found that during pregnancy there was a tremendous blossoming of what are called dendritic spines--the parts of the neurons that reach out and form synapses, necessary for new learning. (During the third trimester of pregnancy the human brain can shrink up to 7% in preparation to go into hyper drive after delivery!). Dr. Kinsley compares it to a computer acquiring extra bandwidth to help it run more than one program at a time. There has also been some intriguing recent research on the impacts of two hormones important to motherhood, oxytocin and prolactin, on mental functioning--specifically, learning and memory and the reduction of fear and anxiety.
"I would say that there is likley no better thing you can do for your brain than to have a child.
"New mothers tend to make extraordinary kinds of friendships, based on their deep need for other people. Research shows that it is great for your brain to make and keep strong social connections. It's also probably good for your children. One study on baboons in the wild found that the more social the mothers were, the better their babies' chance of survival."
"In one study, researchers found that pregnant women overwhelmingly felt they were weaker in mental strengths, such as focus and memory, whereas tests showed they weren't. The researchers speculated that this might be because of what they had internalized about others' expectations. One legacy of feminism has been this uncomfortableness about women rearing children and getting close to children. We've come to see our children taking things away from us, and we've lost the sense of how much they're adding to us, as people, as thinkers."So, it's under a dollar on Amazon.com and Half.com. With shipping, it's less than a dessert - so treat yourself and get empowered!
This next one is also something I got on Amazon.com. I was impressed with the book that comes along with it and the research they've done in making these CDs. From research by linguist experts, speech pathologists, and other language professionals, they have found that babies onlyhave a short window of time to pick up specific sounds in language. For example, because you don't have to distinguish between l and r in Japanese and chinese, people that learn english later on in life have difficulty hearing such sounds. Same with english people learning the rolling r in Italina or spanish - or the tones in Chinese!
After that window of time that the brain learns such sounds in lanuage, it is difficult for people to hear the differences in certain sounds and thus, when they learn a foreign language later in life, they speak with an accent!
"Before they focus in on their native language, babies have an amazing ability to hear and absorb sounds that adults unconsciously block out, like the subtleties of a foreign language." They have the CD in several different languages like Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish where they introduce the sounds of these languages and “lock in” a child's ability to learn these sounds.
I just play the CD for her 3-4 times a week so she can hear the different sounds of the Chinese language with the right accent. Hopefully she'll be able to speak Chinese without the funny accent that I have! Trey speaks regularly to her in Chinese too.
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