Wanda Says…On the Subject of Toddler Memory and Childbirth.

mother and childMy son Bryce gets physical therapy for a slight gross-motor delay.  During one of our sessions with his PT, she asked if my kids ever talked about their early childhood memories.  My daughter has a really good memory and she can recall things from her toddler years that surprise me.  I’ve never really thought about it with Bryce, but once I did, I was surprised to realize that Bryce can also recall various events from as much as two years ago, and he’s only four.

Anyway, our PT went on to explain that she has a colleague who’s interested in early childhood memory, and had recently read about a study that showed evidence that some toddlers, if questioned before the age of three, could recall events from their birth experience.  (Keep in mind we weren’t having a scientific discussion here.  It was more sharing this cool story about kids who can accurately recall memories from their birth, which I thought was pretty amazing).

So, PT told me that one night she decided to ask her own two year old daughter, just to see what she would say.  As she was putting her to bed, she asked the child if she remembered anything about being born.  She said that her daughter got very quiet, and then responded by saying that her arm hurt, and she cradled her arm to her chest.  PT then told me that when her daughter was born, her arm had been in a difficult position, which made the birth a bit complicated.  Her baby’s arm was wedged up and pinned, and the result was a rather large and colorful bruise on her arm for over a week after the birth.

Holy shit!  For a two year old to recall her arm hurting and gesture that seems pretty amazing to me.

I guess the idea behind the theory is that toddlers are like free-thinking sponges, and their brains aren’t bogged down by preconceptions of what they’re supposed to know and not know.  They don’t know how to second-guess themselves, so their reactions and recollections are genuine and open.  There are many studies that prove that learning begins in the womb, and what prevents babies and toddlers from expressing these memories is a simple lack of developed communication skills.  I did an internet search for toddler memory studies and there were all kinds of cool things that popped up, but I was unable to locate the specific study on toddler memory of childbirth.

But I decided to ask my son Bryce and see what he had to say.  Bryce is four, so I knew it might be too late for him to remember anything, but I asked him anyway.

We were snuggling together, just the two of us.  It was quiet and I had his full attention. He was sitting on my lap and playing with my hair.

Me:  Bryce, do you remember when you were born?

Bryce:  Yep.  (There was no hesitation in his answer).

Me:  What do you remember?

Bryce:  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!

(OMG!  Does he remember the counting through the contractions?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this process, the nurses will usually count to ten while you are pushing through a contraction).

Me:  Wow.  Do you remember anything else?

Bryce:  Yep.  I remember shapes………..and power.

(Could the “power” be the contractions?).

Me:  What kind of shapes?

Bryce:  Circles and ovals.

(Does he mean the overhead lights in the birthing suite or bassinet?  There were warming lights over the newborn bassinet and over the bed).

Me:  That’s pretty cool, buddy.

Bryce.  Yep.  It was cool.

So, I have no idea if these were true memories or just something he decided to say, but I think the concept of toddlers remembering their birth experience is pretty awesome.

What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Wanda Says…On the Subject of Toddler Memory and Childbirth.

  1. Interesting. Wish I could add something of value. I’m going to run this by my sister-in-law and ask her to ask her 6-year-old son (maybe too late) and her 4-year-old daughter about their birth experiences. I don’t have any of my own kids to ask and cats don’t really say sh*t. I tried Googling my own memory and let me tell you that when you’re 46, it’s DEFINITELY too late to remember anything like that … even what I ate for lunch the day before is a struggle.

    Fascinating. Maybe you could do a part II or a follow-up on this post???? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will try and do a follow up! I mentioned my son’s responses to his PT and she said all the parents she mentioned the study to asked their kids about it and she said the responses and recollections from the children have been almost spot on. Crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wanda!!!!!! Where are YOU! I miss your blog posts! I miss you … and yes, I do understand you have a life (with kids) outside of blogging … but I don’t! …. so get your butt back here and blog!!!!!! 😉

    Hope you are well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • LMAO! I miss you too! LIFE IS CRAZY! Basically, in the past two weeks, I’ve had no time for anything that is not family or other people related, which means no time to sit and write, or read what other brilliant people write! My kids were sick and on Spring Break last week, then my brother came to town, threw his back out while he was here, and my mother-in-law arrived today to take care of my kids because I leave tomorrow for my annual high school girls trip and my husband is in NYC. Soooooo, mother in law is filling the gap between when I leave and when my husband gets home tomorrow, and I will have six hours of airplane time to catch up on all my blog reading and maybe find something good to write about. I’m headed to Charleston, SC tomorrow for four days, so I’m thinking I’ll have fun stuff to write about when I get home. 😉 How have you been? (And thanks for the note…it’s feels good to be missed!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, aren’t you just full of excuses missy! The next thing you’re about to say is that you were too busy birthing ANOTHER baby! With all you’ve been going though … all the fan stuff … you’re going to have plenty blog food to feed us blog fishies!

    Have a good time in Charleston!

    I’ve been OK … secretly hunting for a new job because I can’t see myself doing what I’ve been doing for the last decade for another 20+ years until I retire (or die). I cannot believe I’ve been at the same job for ten years — what’s wrong with me??!!! I have the perfect job … but some of the coworkies could use a personality rewrite! So … that’s where I’m at. No exciting family stuff — just the way I like it! 🙂

    I asked my sister-in-law (SIL) by the way, to ask her 4-year-old daughter about the birth thing … she said she would, but I haven’t followed up yet. I’ll let you know if it’s a good story or not. My mother-in-law seemed to be ever-so amused when I posed that question to my SIL … either that or she was lost in translation … her 1st language is NOT English! Blah, blah, blah and more blah blah.

    Miss you. Come back. Simple as that with simple syrup and a cherry on top.

    Liked by 1 person

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