When does learning begin?

When Annie Murphy Paul’s TED talk came across my facebook feed, I immediately pulled it up to view. I stopped my world to see what she had to say. (https://www.ted.com/talks/annie_murphy_paul_what_we_learn_before_we_re_born?language=en#t-14002)
I was excited and curious to hear of more scientific proof of something I knew innately…that learning begins at conception. From the moment of conception, your baby is already taking in experiences that literally become a part of their internal wiring. I encourage you to copy and paste the link into your browser and view this 16:39 minute recording.

Some have asked, “When does life begin?” By day 4 after conception, the gender of the zygote can already be microscopically determined. After one week, the zygote contains the beginnings of all the major body systems and structures. By three weeks, fetal circulation is in full gear complete with heart and major blood vessels coursing through its quarter-inch frame, thus affirming that the baby is not merely an appendage of the mother but a separate life! At five weeks, usually before the mother even knows she is pregnant or has missed her menstrual cycle, all basic body systems are developing, including the brain and nervous system enabling the fetus to feel pain. Before their brain even has the capacity to process information, they are storing memory and already learning.

In class #2 of my HypnoBirthing series, I focus on prenatal bonding and just when is the best time to bond with your baby! For a number of years I have shown a video called “What Babies Want”. (Perhaps you can find it in your public library system. It’s worth watching!) Psychologists discuss the fact that from the time of conception the baby is aware and taking in experiences. Babies in the womb need a nurturing environment no matter the gestation. What would be the outcome if we truly internalized this reality and took better care of those babes in the womb? If we made certain that they were not harmed in any way? If we made certain to talk about them in loving ways so they knew innately that they were valued?

Recently, I received a text from a young woman who thought she may be pregnant. She wanted to know if it was okay to go to Frightmares at Lagoon in Farmington, UT. I responded that ultimately she had to make that choice. And I reminded her that when a mother feels fear, so does the baby. When all the fear hormones are circulating in the mother’s body with the fight or flight response, the baby is not exempt! When exposed to fear over and over, the brainstem in the baby is much more highly developed than the neocortex of the brain. We really do have an influence on the temperament of the baby.

With all of life’s challenges, we cannot prevent the baby from having exposure to the less than ideal. But we can help them learn to respond rather than merely react. Let the baby know what is going on! Communicate with your baby when challenges in life catch us off guard and we feel fear. Help them to know that it wasn’t their fault! Let them know that you are mindful of their safety and security and doing all you can to protect them, provide for them, and help them feel loved and cherished.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.