Average Reading Time: 2 minutes and 2 seconds
The melody of a meadowlark or the coo of a morning dove may be more important for the unborn chick than for their adult aviary communication skills. New research from the University of Australia has found evidence that an unhatched chick may learn how to quack like a duck or carry the complex tune of a songbird from listening to the mother’s call from inside the egg. (1)
Mother birds were found to repeat the same call over and over to their unhatched chick and, when the chick hatched, it was able to repeat the same call – which researchers interpret as the “feed me” call. The chick who could mimic the mother’s call more precisely was fed more regularly by the mother.
In utero, human babies can also tell the difference between voices and sounds, and even distinguish the difference between the mother’s voice and another female voice. (1)
A recent Stanford study has found that the sound of a mother’s voice extends more deeply into the brain than just the auditory centers. Brain scans of children listening to their mother’s voice lit up areas of the brain involved in emotion, reward processing, social functions, the ability to discern what is personally relevant, as well as facial recognition. (2)
Children whose brains showed a stronger degree of connection between all of these regions when hearing their mom’s voice also had the strongest social communication ability – suggesting that increased brain connectivity between the regions is a neural fingerprint for greater social communication abilities in children. (2)
Mom’s Voice as Good as a Hug
In another study, when a group of teenage girls were stressed out, researchers had them either get hugged by mom, have a phone call with mom, or watch a feel-good movie to soothe their nerves. Surprisingly, when the girls heard the mother’s voice on the phone, their cortisol stress hormone levels lowered and the bonding love hormone, oxytocin, was boosted – just as powerfully as the mother’s hug. (3)
The girls that watched a feel-good movie saw no decrease in cortisol stress hormone levels and the oxytocin levels did not increase. This is the first time a mother’s voice was shown to be as powerful as the physical touch of a loving and caring mother.
A mother’s job is never done, as hearing your mother’s voice creates a stress-reducing, reassuring and bonding feeling that makes everything feel better.
While the science hasn’t linked our early speech to the mother’s voice during her pregnancy, Ayurveda made this connection long ago.
The job of the father during the wife’s pregnancy is to make the wife happy and comfortable, and that is a strict rule for the full nine months. This makes the job of the mother – which is to make the baby happy and comfortable – much easier.
Sattvic or loving speech, along with peaceful harmonious actions in a supportive and positive environment, are the Ayurvedic mandates for a healthy and happy baby.