According to Ascend fellow Dr. Sarah Watamura, and the research of some of her colleagues at Stress Early Experience & Development Research Center, it’s not just your life that is permanently changed by parenthood, but also your brain. We partnered with her on this easy-to-read report on it. Meanwhile, check out some of the surprises they’ve uncovered:
- The reward circuit in new parents’ brains shift so that, whether your baby is cooing or sobbing, you experience a hit of dopamine from being connected to them.
- Fathers, like mothers, are at risk of depression after their children are born.
- Parenthood changes you forever and it changes your brain forever.
The good news is that Watamura and her colleagues emphasize that though some of these fundamental brain changes might sound daunting, we are profoundly resilient creatures as parents. Inequity isn’t inevitable. There are plenty of things one can do to support holistic wellness, despite the challenges of raising kids in a country that doesn’t provide necessary supports and, let’s be honest, sleep deprivation. Hang in there!