Pal of my cradle days - an ode to mothers

INFAMOUS for the ridiculous, Irish mothers often claim the downright impossible. Sayings such as, "If you fall of that wall and break your legs - don't come running to me," suggest despite the unlikelyhood, the event isn't that absurd, is it?

MOTHERS are the ones who love us when the rest of the world doesn’t. The ones we off load our troubles. And the ones who fight our corner tooth and nail regardless of the consequence – because love knows no pride.

In return, we steal the ‘gold from their hair’ and ‘put the silver threads there’ as the words of that once popular song goes.

While having a baby may well be an overnight event, for many women becoming a mother takes time and patience. Yet, the moment she catches herself thinking: “I hope Ketchup is a vegetable because it’s the only one my child eats,” or she begins to consider finger paint as a controlled substance – it’s then that the sobering realisation has finally dawned.

While without much fanfare, this momentous occasion is usually coupled with hearing your own mother’s voice when you shout: “Not in your good clothes,” or when you catch yourself questioning the moral standing of the person who awarded the movie classification to the movie Lion King.

The attachment between a mother and her child is one of the most powerful our world can ever know. The enduring image for us all to ponder is that pain suffered by compassion when the mother of Jesus nursed her only son after his body was taken down from the cross on Good Friday.

While we often hear we always carry our children in our hearts, a recent study has revealed this is true on a physical level too. Sometimes science can be filled with wonder and meaning more beautiful than any poem.

It has been proven that cells from a developing baby in the womb cross the placenta, allowing the baby’s DNA to become part of the mother’s organs. These foetal cells persist within her, right through to her old age. This is true even if the baby she carried didn’t live long enough to be born.

The cells of that child stay with her, resonating in ways that mothers have always known intuitively throughout time. Foetal cells that you contributed to your own mother may be found in her blood, bone marrow, skin, kidney or liver. These cells also appear to possess healing properties and can treat her when she is ill or injured.

In one study, researchers noticed the presence of little baby cells in a woman diagnosed with liver failure who stopped treatment against medical advice. Her liver biopsy showed “thousands of male cells” determined to be from a pregnancy terminated nearly 20 years earlier, seemed to naturally rush to an area where they were needed to aid her recovery.

There is also evidence these foetal cells provide some protection against certain cancers. For example, they’re much more prevalent in the breast tissue of healthy women than in those with breast cancer. Foetal cells are less common in woman who develop Alzheimer’s, suggesting they provide protection late into life. They can even help heal her heart.

These cells, it has been shown, carry the imprint of her child’s father and his entire family line. They can also be shared from one pregnancy to another meaning the cells of older siblings may float within younger siblings – leaving us with plenty to ponder upon.

Isn’t it a beautiful expression of our divine creation, proof that love is the most powerful force on earth? It is irrefutable evidence this bond can melt the hardest of hearts, excuse an untidy bedroom or two or overlook the odd temper-tantrum.

Which brings us to the rest of the lyrics of that old song we talked about at the beginning. “I don’t know any way, I could ever repay, pal of my cradle days.”

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