Health Scan: Childhood memories affect expectations of motherhood

Women who tend to deny negative experiences in early childhood expect to experience a relationship with their children.

beduin woman and child (photo credit: Orly Halpern)
beduin woman and child
(photo credit: Orly Halpern)
Early childhood relationships with parents influence the expectations of first-time mothers regarding their own identity as mothers. Pregnant women who recall having a well-balanced relationship with their parents will experience fewer difficulties in the transition to motherhood than women whose relationship involved unresolved anger or rejection, according to a new study at the University of Haifa. In addition, women who tend to deny negative experiences in early childhood expect to experience a relationship with their children characterized by less warmth compared to others in the study. The results of the study, concluded the researchers, "show there is great importance in evaluating thoughts, perceptions and feelings about parental identity during pregnancy. Such an evaluation will enable early identification of women who are concerned they will have difficulty contending with parental roles, and offer them ways that will help them adapt better." The research, conducted by Ora Gazit under the direction of Dr. Miri Scharf, examined 160 Jewish women in the last trimester of their first pregnancy. They studied the expectations, thoughts and emotions of the women about being future mothers and their future relationships with their babies. They based this on two approaches related to identity building - with a focus on the way people perceive their early relationship with their parents and how this is reflected in their thoughts, perceptions and behavior during their lives; and on differences between people who aspire to success or to avoid failure. They found that women whose early childhood relationships with their parents were characterized by negative experiences expected to experience a high measure of separation anxiety, thought their child would be more demanding, and that they would set a lot of boundaries. Among women who described parental rejection as young children but had difficulty recalling many such events, most had positive thoughts about their impending motherhood and their unborn child - but they also expected to develop a less close relationship with their baby. Women who had a balanced view of their early relationship with their parents were likely to expect a minimum of separation anxiety from their child, thought childrearing would be easy, and that their relationship would be warm. The study also found that women who wanted to reach set goals were positive and more optimistic compared to women who were concerned with self-defense, security and responsibility. PILLCAM FOR COLON APPROVED Given Imaging, the pioneering Yokneam-based company that developed capsule endoscopy, has announced that the Health Ministry's technology and infrastructure administration has approved its swallowable PillCam-Colon capsule for examining the colon. "We will be working with gastroenterologists throughout the country to educate them on this noninvasive alternative," said Homi Shamir, the company's president and CEO. The first swallowable PillCam was designed to examine the small intestine, and was followed by one for the esophagus. Colon cancer, which kills 1,500 Israelis a year, is preventable if detected early, when there are only pre-cancerous polyps in the bowel, but only a minority of Israelis over 50 are screened for it. PillCam-Colon offers a non-invasive alternative for individuals who do not wish to undergo colonoscopy, added Prof. Rami Eliakim, chief of gastroenterology at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. PillCam-Colon enables a physician to directly see the interior tissues in their natural state while not requiring sedation, intubation, hospitalization or radiation. Only 11 by 31 millimeters, the plastic capsule is swallowed with a sip of water. Tiny video cameras at each end capture four images per second for up to 10 hours. But it is expensive, so adding it to the basket of health services is unlikely in the foreseeable future.