Last week I had a nice conversation over lunch with my husband. The conversation went more and more in depth, very nice! This gave us both a huge insight. A while back I had read about early life stress in Charlotte Labee’s book. So I knew about its existence. I just didn’t really do anything with it, you sometimes have that. My husband told me about a friend who gets help from a homeopath. It was striking that the homeopath asked him about his birth. Then suddenly quarters fell with us…
- when my husband was born, his mother was under a lot of stress. She was given contraction inducers, causing a total rupture. Immediately after birth, his mother naturally needed a lot of help.
- when I was born I no longer had heart sounds. So the vacuum pump was taken and the delivery also ended with a total rupture of my mother. Another mother who needed help.
- when my daughter gave birth, it went a step further. There was arterial bleeding at my cervix, so I was in the OR in no time and dads was full of stress alone with our daughter.
Fortunately, it all ended well for all of us and we were not traumatized. Yet you can say that our first survival mechanism arose in this way. The mechanism of: ‘I don’t need anyone, I can do it myself’. As a result, all three of us have quite a hard time asking for help. A nice insight, which I dug deeper into. Because it also brings us a lot. We are very independent!
From safety and security to a stressful delivery
If you imagine what happens during childbirth, you will understand that giving birth is a stressful situation anyway. As a baby you sit in a nice warm bath and you have a good time there. Then suddenly you go through the birth canal to the cold, light outside world. Especially in a hospital, I can imagine that the fluorescent lights are quite intense. Then of course you need warmth and security. Who can give you the most? Sorry dads, but that’s actually always the mom, because when you lie on her stomach, you hear about the same sounds as when you were in it.
In our situation, the warmth and security was missing immediately after giving birth. In fact, there was just more stress.
Bee early life stress there is mainly talk of a longer period of time or chronic stress. Still, I believe that the stress surrounding childbirth caused us to develop this mechanism. We have all three. Maybe my husband and I have also passed it on through our DNA or as an example to our daughter. It’s difficult to measure. Yet we find it striking that we within our family, independently of each other, were born with similar problems.
It has not had disastrous consequences for us, but it is possible. Especially if a child has already experienced stress before giving birth and/or in the first years of his or her life. Then this can have major consequences for the rest of life. Long-term stress, including babies, can lead to brain damage and reduced production of neurotransmitters. Experts suspect that this is even more the case in the young brain than in adults.
The Netherlands Center for Youth Health has conducted a literature study, which shows that the consequences can be major:
- heart and vascular disease
- eating disorders
- intestinal complaints
This was only from a Dutch literature study, so that is not really sufficient. Read the full publication Stress in children: how do we keep it healthy? A request for more research has been submitted to the National Science Agenda. I can’t find a follow-up to this, only a publication about the effect of the stress surrounding corona on young children. Who knows, it may have been postponed a bit because of that and we will read more about it later.
A small quote from the publication mentioned above:
“Early Life Stress is chronic stress during growing up. Especially during the extra sensitive periods (pregnancy, the first two years after birth and adolescence), Early Life Stress has major consequences. During these periods, the brain grows and develops strongly and rapidly, in an integral process in which brain cells (neurons) arise and die programmed and in which connections between neurons are made and pruned. This process is controlled by genetic programs (DNA), but also strongly influenced by environmental factors, hormones and by the functioning of the brain itself. Connections between neurons that are used a lot become stronger, while connections can disappear if they are not used much. Chronic stress interferes with brain development in several ways, including through the action of stress hormones. This leads to long-term, difficult to reverse consequences.”
Dawson Hadges and Fu Lye Woon indicate that there are a number of scientific studies that show a link between early life stress and brain development. They themselves have delved into the connections between early life stress and cognitive development. Their conclusion is that exposure to stress in the younger years can be associated with later deficits in cognitive function, such as memory, intelligence, concentration and language skills.
There are also many studies (about 50 studies according to this article on orthophyto) that indicate that there is a demonstrable connection between early life stress and inflammatory response of the body.
In short, an interesting fact that I think is still in its infancy. Because it is certainly not standard for a consultation with a doctor that they dive so far back in the past. Certainly in the case of inflammation, this could provide interesting insights for further treatment.
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Together with Jenny I own Good food Healthy living. After my study period I mainly worked as an online analyst and made great career moves. But my real passion lies with healthy food and cooking! I have often worked with Jenny and I was often able to advise her on which food was right for her. We enjoyed exploring together. What exactly is a healthy lifestyle? What effect does nutrition and exercise have on how you feel? Why is the power of thoughts so strong? This website is my passion. Together with Jenny I like to share tips about a healthy lifestyle. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give health advice. However, I can give tips about a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. I like to share recipes and also like to try something new in the field of nutrition.