The Mother-Child Bond [Free Resource]

Posted by Christina Leblang on Sep 22, 2020 4:44:23 PM
Christina Leblang

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We can look to the heavens, or the mountains, or the vast ocean and marvel at the work of our creator. The Lord reveals himself to us through his creation, and when we take a moment to stop and behold his majesty, we are in awe. But what about the pinnacle of God’s creation? What about the human person? 

We may know that God knew us before we were even formed in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), that we are created in the image of the triune God (Genesis 1:26). The story of creation speaks to our need for companionship and community (Genesis 2:18), and this need for community and relationship brings to the forefront the communion of the three Persons of the Trinity. 

We can know so very much about our God, and yet so very little of his infinite glory. As we continue to learn more about the world around us, God continues to reveal himself to us. The Office of Life and Human Dignity has recently released a new resource on the maternal-child bond in utero: Maternal-Child Bond in Utero and in the “Fourth Trimester.” At first glance, this may seem irrelevant for a majority of individuals—a resource only for high school science teachers or those preparing to welcome a new child perhaps—but through these few pages, Dr. Kristin Collier, assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and Director of the University of Michigan Medical School Program on Health, Spirituality, and Religion, draws the average reader into a greater appreciation of one’s self and one’s family by shedding light on the beauty of the unique relationship between a mother and her pre-born child from the perspective of medical science.

The maternal-child relationship is one of the most intimate bonds shared between two human beings. But what is the nature and shape of this bond? “The maternal-child bond refers to the biochemical, physical and emotional bond that exists between a mother and her prenatal and postnatal child in the ‘four’ trimesters of pregnancy” (Maternal-Child Bond in Utero and in the “Fourth Trimester,” 4). Why is this bond important? Because every person has lived within this particular bond, since every person has a mother, and because understanding this bond, this relationship, reveals something beautiful and true about ourselves and about God.

This new expert guide uncovers the fascinating cooperation that occurs between mother and unborn child from the earliest moments. It speaks about mother and child working together to create the placenta so that life may be nourished. Dr. Collier highlights the discovery of microchimerism: while a child is growing in her mother’s womb, cells from the baby and mother pass to one another through the placenta. In other words, we are walking around with remnants of our mother and potentially even siblings in our bodies. These cells can help promote healing and other functions. 

The guide goes on to speak about other aspects of the child-mother bond, including the importance of the mother’s voice in brain development and language acquisition, and the benefits of physical contact and breastfeeding in lowering stress and decreasing chances for SIDS and other diseases. The overarching takeaway is that we as humans are relational, even at the cellular level. 

This radical interconnectedness proclaims the glory of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, existing for eternity in loving communion. We are called to become an icon of God in our relationships—to live in a radical communion of love not only with the Trinity, but with one another as well, and our very cells speak to this radical communion. 

To register for FREE access to our Office of Life and Human Dignity's resources, visit our website. Once you've registered, "Maternal-Child Bond in Utero and in the 'Fourth Trimester'" can be found at the top of the 'Expert Guides' page.

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Topics: communion, pro-life, Trinity, human dignity, motherhood, science and religion, downloadable resources, Office of Life and Human Dignity

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