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Your child's ability to remember


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  #1  
April 17th, 2009, 10:34 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Okay - I am sorry that I cannot find a website to reference for more solid info on this....but I tried & all I keep finding is unrelated stuff or stuff on mice/rats in a lab...or things that are too complex, or don't relate to infants & babies. I need to see if I can find some of my old psychology & sociology books to reference some of this......Sooooooo I will try to relay the basics & then hopefully I don't screw it up & someone will understand what I am trying to say enough that we can chat about it. LOL

So here is my pondering....

In the brain the hippocampus is thought to be responsible for all of our long term memory of facts and events. Having a good one means that you can remember details and probably test well academically. Having a bad one (like in Alzheimer's) means that you get lost trying to get home, and this is often the area of the brain that first shows symptoms at onset of Alzheimer's or dementia...

Another area of the brain responsible for memories is the amygdala. It is one of the oldest parts of our brain (responsible for emotional memory).

This site explains the brain pretty well as it relates to healthy adult functioning brains: Brain Structures and Their Functions

Back to my pondering....
The hippocampus - responsible for factual memory - is immature at birth & doesn't typically really form memory in any useful or in a way that can be readily recalled until about age three or so, depending on the person. The amygdala is mature AT birth (at least I know it is in full term infants) and records emotional memory. So it seems to me to be a fore-gone conclusion that we are absolutely deeply effecting our children long term by the things we do in those early years even if it is never remembered on a cognitive (recalled) level, because it is stored on an emotional level...and on a level that they don't even know how they have been effected since they can't recall the event that precipitated the emotions it left behind. A good example of this is a boy that I knew who was adopted after a violent early, early childhood that had major issues with trauma lifelong although he has no recollection of the abuse that took place...it is still in him somewhere...and torments him that he knows it affects him deeply - yet he can't even remember what happened that caused the feelings & reactions he struggles with today.

THIS nails it on the head with why I think AP is so important for your baby. Just because your baby is never going to be able to come back & say "Why didn't you come when I cried for an hour alone before I fell asleep exhausted & scared?" doesn't mean that it didn't harm them or do emotional damage. So when you feel ragged and think that your child will never remember these tender moments & cuddles & all the extra effort you put in day in & day out to make them feel safe, validated, loved...just remember that what the brain forgets. the heart (or amygdala if you want to get technical) will remember for a lifetime...
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We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #2  
April 17th, 2009, 11:04 PM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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do you have insomnia like I do LOL we ponder very similar things in the wee hours, I think
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  #3  
April 18th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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I have very clear memories far further back then you are meant to be able to, and have discussed them with my Mother, so I do know they are acurate. With that in mind I question alot of statements about memory, for instance I have rad that a 3 month old baby can not remeber you the minute you walk out of a room, and you come back in as a stranger, what a load of fertiliser.
But I think things only remebered emotionally would have more effect on you, as you couldnt rationalise or understand where these fears came from. Its my understanding that a serious trauma before the age of being able to verbalise the situation can do far more damage.
I also know a fellow who was adopted, and he is a grown man well into his 30's but just has this complete terror of being left alone. He lives with his parents, and can not even work in an office if there is no other staff there. I've always wondered what happened to him as child to cause this.
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  #4  
April 18th, 2009, 12:26 PM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broxi3781 View Post
With that in mind I question alot of statements about memory, for instance I have rad that a 3 month old baby can not remeber you the minute you walk out of a room, and you come back in as a stranger, what a load of fertiliser.
Memory is one of my "specialties" in psychology. Anything to do with cognition, really, because it's all linked. I worked in the lab of Dr. Zaragoza, one of the leading psychologists in memory studies. I carried out the research and put the data into computers etc. I also worked with Dr. Merriman, who ran studies on infant memory and language of young children.

I'm not throwing that in there to sound like a know-it-all, but just to let you know where I'm coming from. The quoted statement IS complete bulls*** pardon my french, but that is what it is. You're right broxi, and I still don't know how such a grave misconception is construed into the mainstream of psychological understanding of the infant. There is no way that an infant forgets who you are. Object permanence has been badly misrepresented to the public and suddenly people think that infants forget about the existence of anything not in their direct view BS. Think of the evolutionary consequences of such a mechanism. Your baby would have to bond with you after every time you stepped out of his sight! If this were true, then any one would be able to just walk into the room, bond with the baby, and have that mother-child bond. Adoptive parents can tell you that it takes a long time to form that bond. Babies are 'programmed' to recognize and remember their mother from other strangers at birth, and they soon learn to do the same with their father. Infants have recognition of things they've experienced in utero, such as languages, voices, stories read to them. They have short term memory by AT LEAST three months... meaning that they can remember certain events, not objects or people. Who knows, we might not have sophisticated enough labs to tell that they have this ability earlier. Object permanence as it is understood by the general public is plain gobbledyguk. Anyone who feels otherwise, I'm sorry, feel free to PM me or confront me about it. It's just as bad as centrifigul force is to physicists. Broxi, anyone who tells you this is true, send them my way!!!!

As far as emotional memory, phobias are started in this way. Here is the most prominent study. I can't believe anyone would actually conduct such a study on a poor infant. It is sad what happened in my field before any code of ethics was established.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Albert

It is shown in studies (which have been posted on this board before, so I won't do it again) that when an infant is left alone to cry, he becomes physically distressed, much as Baby Albert did with the noise. While a lot of people simplify the baby Albert expiriment down to association and classical conditioning, I think it is more complex then that and goes into Albert being emotionally harmed. Much in the same way that infants who are distressed by CIO alone are emotionally harmed. Will they remember every single time they were left alone in their beds, crying? No, most likely not. But will they remember the feelings of constant distress. I'm almost definite.
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  #5  
April 18th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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^^ I totally agree with you regarding pretty much everything - but especially on the object permanence thing. I read up on this when Jonah was small as my MIL was certain he was forgetting them between visits. Much of what I found said that if he saw them at particular intervals...it would actually help him remember them...I think it was something like at least every two weeks (I can't swear to that though as I would have to dig it up)...anyway, he was seeing them that often in the Summer anyway...and I could tell as him momma that he remembered them, as he warmed up to them MUCH quicker than say a stranger. I just think that because he wanted me or Joel to hold him so much - others interpreted that as NOT wanting to go to them (and maybe "not knowing them") vs seeing it as WANTING to go to me or Joel...if that makes sense.

I also believe I have real memories before age 3. In particular I have described things to my mom (events & places) that occurred at 2 & even one that is younger...my earliest memory is at about a year...and it's a simple memory..all I remember is a part of my aunt's old house. No people, not an incident or anything...I just remember her kitchen. She moved around the time I turned a year. I have no idea why I even remember it.
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We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #6  
April 18th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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I know scientifically we are discovering more and more about the infant brain but we simply can not ask an infant so we dont know for sure and I believe we vastly underestimate the capacities of infants. I wish i could remeber which book i read that in, but I can tell you a newborn animal knows its own mother, what makes people think a human baby is so much less intelligiant then a dog or horse? Of course I also remember when they said newborns didnt have the ability to feel pain yet, which made circumcision without any pain relief ok.
Where on earth did people get these ideas?
I was taught a baby could not form permanent memories before the develoment of speach, because only by converting an event into words are we able to remember --- more fertiliser to be polite.
I will accept the possibilty that many early memories could be the result of having heard the family discuss them, but not this one; the memory is of being in a park the smell of grass, heat, my uncle wanting to put me on the swing my mom not wanting me too and my mom just being very upset and something wrong. i really wanted on the swing too, i remeber the feel of wood, the peeling paint chips the colours of everything. I thought i must have been about 2 or 3. My Mom remebers the day, my uncle was going to basic training before Vietnam and i was not yet 2, but it has never been spoken about, so i am quite sure its an actual memory. Of course I remeber hearing he went to Vietnam, but i did not associate the memory with vietnam until my Mother told me as an adult. And I would have had no way of knowing that he took me to the park and put me in a green wooden swing the day before leaving.
The memory is different then most memories in that it involves more colours, smells ,sensations, and feelings. It makes me think twice still about what children may be able to remember. and also how much children pick up on feelings.
Object permanence - yet more fertilser, Piagets daughter must have been a bit slow because Ian would lift the blanket if something dropped under way before that age --- and how many baby's pull at your top? They dont forget where that is do they?
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  #7  
April 18th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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I have nothing intelligent on topic to add, but just wanted to say that I appreciate discussion threads like these from those with a background in pyschology or related, because I find them very interesting (with the exception of the Baby Albert link, as I am not brave enough to click on it LOL).

CIO is such an emotional subject, that I find it really tough to get hold of information that isn't either (a) anecdotal evidence or (b) emotive rather than scientific. For example, I see an awful lot of "CIO is ok because my mum did it and I turned out fine" or, on the other side of the fence, the big spiel on the suffering of a crying baby. Both types of argument are obviously are effective in convincing or dissuading someone to try CIO (else why would they be so prevalent), but neither is really evidence for or against whether it has long-term effects.

It's also easy to find and read articles from experts that describe their views and opinions on how to teach and raise your baby, but rarely do they ever discuss why you should use their techniques - at least never beyond the point that it will make your life easier and more convenient (the only exception to this I have found so far is The Science of Parenting). Personally, I don't think that I could use a harsh technique like CC or CIO (or similar), until someone presents the method along with very solid evidence that there would be no long term effects from using it. Maybe then I would re-consider my position on it. So far, although nothing I've yet read has been bullet-proof, it's all pointing to the opposite, so I'll carry on erring on the side of caution and trusting my instincts.

Maybe it's because my own background is science-based and logical (computing) that I'm always seeking science-based validations to my parenting choices**? I guess if I was 100% confident in my parenting I wouldn't feel the need! So apologies for my reply going completely off on a tangent LOL, but just wanted to let you know, in a very lengthy and roundabout way, that I am lurking in this thread and interested!

** Hmm, I phrased that an interesting way round LOL! Do I make a parenting choice first, then seek to back it up, or do I base my parenting choices on the science I have read? Probably a little bit of both, if I'm honest
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  #8  
April 18th, 2009, 09:16 PM
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Nothing to add right now, but this is interesting and I appreciate you ladies putting your thoughts out here.
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  #9  
April 18th, 2009, 11:08 PM
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Wow, Broxi, I didn't realize that these misconceptions are still floating around. Let me tell you that the majority of cognitive psychologists would agree with you. Many of us do not follow Piaget's model of development, but kind of use it as a basis. We learn about it to form a historical view on child development studies, but there is a little bit of something there. Although most wouldn't agree with the ages, or the definitive blocking of stages, there seems to be a universal order to the way we learn as infants. Some of this is because of mental capacity, and some because of physical. While your son may have done things before Piaget's model says they should be done, he probably did them around about the same order.

Object permanence, today, is used mainly in discussing problem solving strategies. It is a misnomer, because I don't know a valid scientist today who would say it has anything to do with the infant's belief that the object still exists
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  #10  
April 18th, 2009, 11:20 PM
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I also have to add that there are studies that show infants can recognize their mother's face, scent, and voice shortly after birth. At birth they can recognize the voice, and only hours later they can distinguish their mother's face from other faces presented to them as well as their scent. They can also recognize their father's voice.

Infants prefer to look at their mother's face at birth, and they also prefer to hear her voice over others, and they prefer her voice speaking her primary language.

It amazes me that we can learn these things, because as you said we cannot ask them. But there are certain infant habits that allow us to gauge preferences and items that they recognize. Sucking rate (infants suck faster when they are interested in something) is one thing we use, and also we actually have eye-tracking machines that can track each little movement of the infant's eyes. They look longer at something they prefer, is the assumption.

It's also true that infants and young children used to be severely misunderstood in their emotions, psychological needs, and even their senses. People think babies are colorblind (they aren't) and as Broxi mentioned they used to think that they couldn't feel pain. I am not sure if this was just a way of brushing children "under the rug" or what. I'm really glad that this part of psychology has really begun to blossom really in the last decade or two. I just wish that the findings made their way into mainstream thinking a little better. Even now, I have a hard time finding the studies that I want to read or learn more about because I am no longer attending university. I no longer have access to the journals and archives that these things live in. I find that so sad. I think that this is very important that it be made public knowledge, and not just something that is discussed amongst the cognitive psych and child development community. Every once in a while I'll read a blurb in parenting magazine, but of course it is about something that was discovered about the infant brain years ago

I also have to add that there are studies that show infants can recognize their mother's face, scent, and voice shortly after birth. At birth they can recognize the voice, and only hours later they can distinguish their mother's face from other faces presented to them as well as their scent. They can also recognize their father's voice.

Infants prefer to look at their mother's face at birth, and they also prefer to hear her voice over others, and they prefer her voice speaking her primary language.

It amazes me that we can learn these things, because as you said we cannot ask them. But there are certain infant habits that allow us to gauge preferences and items that they recognize. Sucking rate (infants suck faster when they are interested in something) is one thing we use, and also we actually have eye-tracking machines that can track each little movement of the infant's eyes. They look longer at something they prefer, is the assumption.

It's also true that infants and young children used to be severely misunderstood in their emotions, psychological needs, and even their senses. People think babies are colorblind (they aren't) and as Broxi mentioned they used to think that they couldn't feel pain. I am not sure if this was just a way of brushing children "under the rug" or what. I'm really glad that this part of psychology has really begun to blossom really in the last decade or two. I just wish that the findings made their way into mainstream thinking a little better. Even now, I have a hard time finding the studies that I want to read or learn more about because I am no longer attending university. I no longer have access to the journals and archives that these things live in. I find that so sad. I think that this is very important that it be made public knowledge, and not just something that is discussed amongst the cognitive psych and child development community. Every once in a while I'll read a blurb in parenting magazine, but of course it is about something that was discovered about the infant brain years ago
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  #11  
April 19th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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Most of them are gradually being done away with, but I honestly believe we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. I believe babies are so much more aware then given credit for and form memories before birth ( which is now being supported by some research as well) On Piaget, yes of course he had some useful information, I basically chop and choose and take what i find useful from each set of theories. But we dont know that infants dont recognise object permanece from birth, they just dont have the coordination to move blankets yet, and I dont think they believe Mommy no longer exists when she leaves the room. Of course we now do have much more evidence that yes babies definately recognise parents.
But this all had me thinking last night. I mentioned Billy is severely phobic of doctors. He went really bonkers when we took Ian for his injections as was crying and shouting "I dont allow that doctor to give my baby shots!", as to getting him injected, I am putting it off 6 months, but if things havent changed it will require a housecall and physical restraint, I'm not exaggerating he is really abd with this, but he isnt really frightened of anything else.
Well I've been thinking and thinking and he has been frightened of dr.s even as a very small baby. When we took him for his first injection, the child ahead of us took a very serious reaction. They had everybody wait while they hoped she would recover. She screamed horribly for 1/2 hour before sent to hospital. Billy seemed very upset as well.
They cancelled all remaining visits as they were going to test to see if it was a bad batch, or just an allergic reaction. Needless to say I was a bit nervous when we went back the next week and Billy was screaming from the moment we walked through the door. Its been like that with dr.s ever since. He also gets very ill after jags, as does Ian. Now I am wondering, am I being silly, or could the experience have affected him, even to me it seems impossible a child that young could have a clue what was going on. What do you all think?
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  #12  
April 19th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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This has been interesting to read, thank you ladies!

I have very vivid memories from when I was 2 years old. I can still visualize events that took place. 2 year olds definitely have a very good memory, IMO. Last summer, Abby and I walked into the Meijer pharmecy and she said "Mommy, can I have a sucker?" It had been well over a month since we had been there and sure enough, they had given her a sucker. She even pointed to where they kept them. I was impressed, I didn't realize her memory was that good already.
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  #13  
April 19th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by broxi3781 View Post
Most of them are gradually being done away with, but I honestly believe we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. I believe babies are so much more aware then given credit for and form memories before birth ( which is now being supported by some research as well) On Piaget, yes of course he had some useful information, I basically chop and choose and take what i find useful from each set of theories. But we dont know that infants dont recognise object permanece from birth, they just dont have the coordination to move blankets yet, and I dont think they believe Mommy no longer exists when she leaves the room. Of course we now do have much more evidence that yes babies definately recognise parents.
But this all had me thinking last night. I mentioned Billy is severely phobic of doctors. He went really bonkers when we took Ian for his injections as was crying and shouting "I dont allow that doctor to give my baby shots!", as to getting him injected, I am putting it off 6 months, but if things havent changed it will require a housecall and physical restraint, I'm not exaggerating he is really abd with this, but he isnt really frightened of anything else.
Well I've been thinking and thinking and he has been frightened of dr.s even as a very small baby. When we took him for his first injection, the child ahead of us took a very serious reaction. They had everybody wait while they hoped she would recover. She screamed horribly for 1/2 hour before sent to hospital. Billy seemed very upset as well.
They cancelled all remaining visits as they were going to test to see if it was a bad batch, or just an allergic reaction. Needless to say I was a bit nervous when we went back the next week and Billy was screaming from the moment we walked through the door. Its been like that with dr.s ever since. He also gets very ill after jags, as does Ian. Now I am wondering, am I being silly, or could the experience have affected him, even to me it seems impossible a child that young could have a clue what was going on. What do you all think?
(Well I have lots of things I would like to say about that on the choosing not to vaccinate board along with tips but to stay on subject,) at an emotional level I totally think it stays with them. The whole concept of gentle birth ties into this too. Of course it's mainly disregarded so it's the small studies that AP-style organizations only seem to tie this altogether with room-sharing and more. (I don't know why mainstream disregard Dr. Michel Odent and don't incorporate his findings.)
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  #14  
April 19th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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LOL I'll bring it up over there when i come back. I love Odent too - why it isnt used more? Why would doctors want to do themselves out of business, less complications, less overtime
I think you are on to something with your post on birth rape too, dont want to think about it before my holiday, but its well past time something was done to protect womens most basic human rights in childbirth as well, I'll talk to you more when i come back
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  #15  
April 19th, 2009, 02:13 PM
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((big hugs to you girl))
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  #16  
April 19th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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You know who I was reminded of just now? Barbara Harper from Waterbirthing International. I took a seminar from her and she talked about people remembering their trauma at birth.
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April 19th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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What Babies Want

The Birth Scene
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  #18  
April 19th, 2009, 02:39 PM
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^ Both of those links have some great research supporting baby's brain's and abilities.
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  #19  
April 20th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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interesting reading here. i don't have anything to add really but ..
when my sister was 3 my mum asked her if she remembered what it was like in her tummy, (i was there i remember the conversation well!) and my sister went on to describe some of the things that she had felt and heard in the few hours before she was born!
She told my mum how she heard babies crying (my mum was put onto the ward as her labour was progressing slowly) one lady was having trouble settling her baby and my mum had gone over to help her.
my sister then said she heard music, and my mum told us how she put headphones of the hospital radio on her bump.
and then my sister put her hand on her head and pushed down and said 'then it did this and then it was black' she didn't remember anything more.

fascinating stuff...
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  #20  
April 20th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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Is it possible to remember being born? | Notes and Queries | guardian.co.uk
Here is a site of different people talking about this subject. Check out David Sant's comments ( I think he is number three) - I need to go tell Dh we're over..this guy & I must be soul-mates...LOL

Seriously though - it is interesting.

BTW - I do love this discussion & everyone's input...how fun!
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We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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