A Mother’s love for her child is both an art and a science. It is a form of self-love. Mother’s love, acceptance and positive thoughts play a important role in the development of the foetus. The unborn child gets affected strongly by the mother’s negative or ambivalent attitude toward pregnancy. The most traumatic experience that an unborn child faces is when, due to some reason, the mother withdraws her love and support from the child.
A stressful relationship between the parents also affects the child. An anxiety-ridden mother can leave a deep scar on the personality of the developing foetus. Likewise, a self-assured and confident mother instills in the child a deep sense of content and security. The bonding between the child and the parents that begins prenatally is vital even after the birth.
Empathy with the child and the ability to see things from a child’s perspective are key factors to a parent’s success in stimulating and interacting with their children. The tools that a mother uses the most to make her child happy are her thoughts and feelings for the child. During the gestation period, the foetus senses the comforting maternal heartbeat and it is the child’s main source of life, safety and love.
The mother’s steady heartbeat reassures the child that all is well. A helpless newborn requires continuous close proximity of a caregiver. Who can be a better caregiver than a mother? She is the eternal caregiver, and her heart has a biased mind; a mind that has pure bias towards her child.
Science says that mother’s love acts as a template for love itself and has far reaching effects on the child’s ability to love throughout life. Developmental neuroscientists say that babies are born with a certain set of genetics, but they must be activated by early experience and interaction. Researchers believe the most crucial component of these earliest interactions is the primary caregiver — the mother. “In nature’s nativity scene, mother’s arms have always been a baby’s bed, breakfast, transportation, even entertainment.” Newborns are born expecting to be held, cuddled, rubbed, kissed and maybe even licked!
The mother-child bonding is influenced by the smell, the skin-to-skin contact, facial expressions, eye movements, body language, the kissing, the cooing, the cuddling, the tone of the mother’s voice, the baby talk. The stresses of childhood can leave a biological residue that shows up in midlife. But mother’s love is not only priceless, it can even prevent illness in the middle age, scientists claim.
There is nothing like mother’s milk. Breastfeeding leads to better mother-child interaction. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “A pair of substantial mammary glands has the advantage over the two hemispheres of the most learned professor’s brain in the art of compounding a nutritious fluid for infants.”
The Darwinian theory of evolution suggests that infant feeding should benefit both the mother and the child. In other words, “an infant should be breastfed as much as possible to maximise its chances of survival, whereas a mother must balance her current metabolic investment in milk production with her potential investment in future offspring.”

(The writer is a biotechnologist and ED, Birla Institute of Scientific Research, Jaipur)
Purnendu Ghosh