The Filipinos have an ‘old wives tale’ that babies conceived in heartbreak grow up to be grumpy while those conceived in bliss grow up to be cheerful adults. This has been passed from generation to generation. It has been used to tease irritable people as “ipinaglihi sa sama ng loob” (conceived in heartbreak). Here’s what modern thoughts say about it.
“Fetuses exposed to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which possibly gets released in the mother's body when she's stressed out, could have trouble paying attention or solving problems as they grow up… “fetal programming,” the idea that events in the womb could prime the developing child for long-term health and developmental outcomes.” (LiveScience.com)
“In fact, given the intricate physiological relationship between mother and fetus, it would be somewhat surprising if dynamic aspects of the maternal environment did not serve to shape fetal development.” (child-encyclopedia.com)
“It is thought that high levels of stress hormones in the womb affect the delicate development of the unborn baby’s brain…The research, which tracked thousands of babies from the womb to school, found the hormones raise the odds of a child experiencing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other behavioral problems… The study found that mothers who were stressed in pregnancy, or had suffered a relationship breakdown or bereavement were twice as likely as others to have a child who was ‘mixed-handed’ at the age of five... Those who are mixed-handed use one hand for tasks such as writing and another for things such as throwing and catching a ball.” (dailymail.co.uk)
The good Filipino husband knows, by tradition, to give in to the pregnant wife’s whims during pregnancy. Apparently, it also makes him a good father to the unborn child. The mother’s ‘blissful state’ contributes to the child's well being.
“Ayurveda, the ancient scientific system of Indian medicine, recommends that expectant mothers should be happy, pleased, always calm and satisfied. Ayurveda also suggests that their wishes should be fulfilled to keep their body, mind and spirit, in a blissful state...Research studies prove the theory that fetuses recognize their mother’s voice and start learning while they are still in the womb”(completewellbeing.com)
Hence, it follows that the mother’s weeping, or the sound of someone yelling at her, the issues argued, verbalized disappointments and difficult situations that confront the mother during pregnancy will be ‘learned’ by the fetus.
The Filipinos’ ‘old wives tale’ about babies conceived in heartbreak seems to have a scientific basis, proving once again the wisdom of the ages.