Family Matters: Mother’s Day gifts no money can buy
Mother’s Day is but a few days away. Are you ready? Probably so, if you’ve paid any attention to all the reminders advertising has provided lately.
Skeptics claim Mother’s Day was invented by greeting card companies to boost sales. And I believe it. Still, it’s nice to be remembered.
Want to know what my favorite Mother’s Day gift is? Although homemade cards and heartfelt hugs rank high on my list, I think the children themselves are the best gift of all.
Science backs me up on this opinion, too. In addition to all the joys and challenges inherent in motherhood, birthing babies does some pretty fabulous things behind the scenes.
If you’re a mom – and especially if you’ve given birth several times over – here are a few “gifts” you’ve likely gotten from your kids, maybe without even realizing it:
A woman’s body changes in significant ways each time she carries a baby, and I’m not just talking about her bulging belly. Thanks to a process called microchimerism, being pregnant actually leads to the repair of damaged tissues in mother’s bodies on a cellular level. That’s like having a full-body makeover — from the inside out — every time you’re expecting!
Birthing lots of babies has been linked with a lower maternal incidence of dementia. The more time you spend pregnant, the lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s (researchers have noted a 5.5% decrease in risk per month of pregnancy).
Having babies – and breastfeeding them – significantly lowers a woman’s cancer risk. Breastfeeding multiple children for a combined total of 31 months or more reduces her risk of ovarian cancer by 91%. Researchers also report that for every year a woman spends breastfeeding, her risk of breast cancer drops by 4.3%. (After having nursed a dozen babies for nearly two years apiece, my own chance of getting breast cancer is virtually non-existent.)
Deceleration of Aging:
The number of children a woman bears slows down the rate at which her body ages. According to researchers, the more surviving children she births, the longer her telomeres (the protective endcaps on DNA strands associated with aging). Whether or not her apparent age is affected, bearing children definitely benefits a mother’s biological age.
Multiple studies have shown that married women who have three, four, or five or more children enjoy a significantly lower mortality rate than those with two or fewer. In other words, having more children is associated with living a longer life.
Decreased fertility and dwindling birthrates portend deeply troubling problems for societies world-wide, including labor shortages, top-heavy populations, and economic collapse. That’s why countries like Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and France have started paying couples to procreate. Having children helps stabilize the economy!
Of course, there are many, many more benefits to having children. And while I can’t say that any of these findings factored into my own decision to have so many babies, they certainly are a nice perk!
As a mother of 12, Jennifer Flanders loves kids. She also loves science and statistics. For a longer, footnoted version of this article – with links to the referenced research – please visit https://lovinglifeathome.com/2018/10/21/science-9-smart-reasons-for-having-babies/
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