As a mother, you feel an inexplicable bond with your child. You can sense when he is upset or hurting in some way. This maternal instinct that we develop can be attributed to countless factors. But for most, we feel that our children are still a part of us, long after we’ve given birth. Not surprisingly, there is science to back up the fact that this is indeed physically true.
According to Robert Martone’s article in Scientific American, “[c]ells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body…” Studies have been done to detect cells with Y-chromosomes in mothers. Since a woman would not have any naturally occurring Y-chromosomes in her body, it is easier to detect these foreign cells than to study women who have had only given birth to daughters.
In one study, “male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades.” So it is very likely that mothers carry the cells of their children not just in their bodies, but in the very organ that controls intricate thoughts and emotions.
Scientists are just beginning to unravel the ramifications of this fact, especially since the cells that are passed to the mother from a fetus “are similar to stem cells in that they are able to become a variety of different tissues and may aid in tissue repair.”
The next time you have an overwhelming feeling that your kids are forever a part of you, take comfort in knowing that it is literally and undoubtedly true.