Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Amazon Wish List - The Female Brain

I have  been visiting and re-visiting my amazon.com wish list for the past several weeks.  I dream that when I get a windfall, one of the first things I will do is finally proceed to checkout. My wish list is not expensive at all, but, with all the other things I need to pay for, it will have to wait.

One of the books, I am so eager to get my hands on is Louanne Brizendine's The Female Brain. I have exhausted all the snippet view and limited view I could find in google books as well as the extensive excerpts from oprah.com. I even left a question on Dr Brizendine's blog message board about infertility around last year and, I am happy to say, she quickly answered. It doesn't hurt that of the 119 reviews on amazon alone, 65 of those gave her 5 stars even if they do not all agree with the contents of the book.

Reading her book will help me understand the changes that continuously take place in my body. My eventual understanding of these changes will help me cope better and live fuller. Below is an excerpt:

The "nervous system environment" a girl absorbs during her first two years becomes a view of reality that will affect her for the rest of her life. Studies in mammals now show that this early stress versus calm incorporation—called epigenetic imprinting—can be passed down through several generations. Research in mammals by Michael Meaney's group has shown that female offspring are highly affected by how calm and nurturing their mothers are. This relation has also been shown in human females and nonhuman primates. Stressed mothers naturally become less nurturing, and their baby girls incorporate stressed nervous systems that change the girls' perception of reality. This isn't about what's learned cognitively—it's about what is absorbed by the cellular microcircuitry at the neurological level. This may explain why some sisters can have amazingly different outlooks. It appears that boys may not incorporate so much of their mothers' nervous system.

Neurological incorporation begins during pregnancy. Maternal stress during pregnancy has effects on the emotional and stress hormone reactions, particularly in female offspring. These effects were measured in goat kids. The stressed female kids ended up startling more easily and being less calm and more anxious than the male kids after birth. Furthermore, female kids who were stressed in utero showed a great deal more emotional distress than female kids who weren't. So if you're a girl about to enter the womb, plan to be born to an unstressed mom who has a calm, loving partner and family to support her. And if you are a mom-to-be carrying a female fetus, take it easy so that your daughter will be able to relax.

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