An article that was written by Craig Howard Kinsley and Elizabeth Meyer ‘Maternal Mentality’ concludes the implications of pregnancy and childbirth on women’s health. The content of the article is particularly appealing as it contains the elements of a personal story. Based on the story of a neuroscientist who was giving birth to her child, scholars then discuss the list of factors, which particularly influence mother’s brain during the period of pregnancy. What is in fact interesting is that most of the revealed alterations marked a positive effect on mother’s health. Most of the information presented in the article was, in fact, revolutionary and not based on the common perceptions about pregnancy. For instance, one of the revolutionary aspects presented in the article releaved that during the period of pregnancy, mental sharpness improves in many ways and does not get worse. Previously, a common belief was that mothers would lose their sharpness during the period of pregnancy. Moreover, the article also discusses changes in women’s brain in the course of pregnancy. The authors state that after the period of pregnancy and childbirth, women become more tuned to the threats. Moreover, they become more sensitive to the implications of danger. Certain changes in the brain structures were detected in mothers’ brains, too. A zone responsible for infant care was intensified in the gray coverage, which illustrates a more sensitive reaction to changes in care. As for the testing method, these conclusions were drawn based on the female behavior of animals. That is why the testing method may be contested on the matter of its accuracy.
Sensory implications of pregnancy were presented in the article, too. Throughout the period of gestation, females have a stronger smell sensitivity. Some of the extreme examples of the power of smell such as Bruce effect were presented in the article, too. Besides the increase of the sensory abilities, women’s perceptions of smells overall change, too. It could be followed based on the brain reactions while providing childcare.
The reaction based on the hormonal actions is another vital source of information about maternal mentality which is provided in the article, too. They contribute towards shaping a neutral shield that would protect mothers from the potential ability to compromise her care to a child. This conclusion was described in the very details based on Liz’s reactions towards her second child, to whom she has given birth.
One shall certainly note that the analysis provided in the article could be split into two parts: a psychological analysis and a respective physiological change. One of the essential elements comprises the reaction of women towards changes throughout the period of pregnancy and childbirth based on behaviors of mothers. Yet, another essential element in that process was understanding of brain structure and reaction towards hormonal changes. Thus, given that the article was published in the public magazine, the authors also presented a visual material called ‘Brain under Construction’ where various elements of brain structure were described with their respective areas of responsibility for mother’s care.
Overall, the main aim of the article was to present a detailed process of remodeling that takes place within the female brain structure. The phenomenon of often complains known as ‘pregnancy brain’ was presented in the very comprehensive way so that one could understand gains and damages in the aftermath of giving birth. What is interesting, is that article ends with presented not only the beneficial aspects of female health in the aftermath of pregnancy but also presents potential downsides of motherhood. In the case of Liz, these downsides came from her heart. It yet ends on a rather neutral note claiming that the neurobiology still cannot entirely explain the existing bond between a mother and a child.
2. Personally, I find some of the argumentation presented in the article incomplete and note entirely trustworthy. For instance, some of the conclusions were based on experiments on rats and other animal testing. It is yet not scientifically proven whether one could compare a brain structure and its remodeling of a rat and a human individual. That is why I do not find these conclusions as valid. I am aware of the scientific limitations of testing female body in the course of pregnancy.
The presented factsheet with the respective changes in the female brain presented in a box was particularly interesting. The overall information was concisely collected. Moreover, the authors used a very comprehensive language, so that the information was understood to the general public, where not everyone is a neurobiologist. Besides that, these facts were based on the research and proved to be truly revolutionary, as not many understand the real process that undergoes in female brains. Most importantly is that the implications of pregnancy on female brains are mostly positive so that women do not risk their health so much. As mentioned above, the content on animal testing was really confusing, as one could not really follow what the connection was between rats and human brains. If the authors provided the material in a more elaborated way, potentially conclusions could have been more trustworthy.
Potentially, I would like to learn more about the use of animal testing in neurobiology and understand the real effects this research may have on understanding the female mentality. Also, I would like to learn further effects of pregnancy on female attitudes during pregnancy in general.
- Kinsley, Craig Howard and Elizabeth Meyer. “Maternal Mentality”. Scientific American Mind 22.3 (2011): 24-30. Web.