Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.
I have never met grandma. As a child, when I sang children’s songs and came to the part that ran as follows “Rock, rock, rock, rock to grandma’s bridge”, I used to feel envious of other children who had grandmothers! War and politics separated my grandma from me. Thirty years later, when I first returned to my hometown, she had already left this world.
I met my cousin for the first time last year. Although we led different lives for about half a century, our family bonds made us feel close to each other the moment we met. I asked my cousin for details about our grandma, since she had stayed with grandma for some time. During our conversation, I realized that my cousin’s voice was gentle and soft. Friends commented that her intonation was like those from the Jiangsu province. Although our mothers were raised in Hunan province, they had grandma’s Jiangsu intonation. Like our grandma, we also had a Jiangsu intonation even though we are from the third generation. In actual fact, not only than our intonation, our bodies and minds are also influenced by grandma because we came from grandma’s womb!
When our mothers were five-month fetus in our grandmother’s womb, we were already eggs in the fetus. Many medical experts have observed that the womb is the source of health and illnesses. The health of our grandmother can influence the health of third-generation offspring. Dr Peter Nathanielsz holds three degrees (medical degree, doctorate, and science degree) from Cambridge University in the U.K., and is currently a professor at Cornell University. In his book “Life in the womb: The origin of health and disease”, he introduced the accidental discovery made by Dr David Barker. In 1984, Dr Barker was compiling England’s national health distribution. He noticed that between 1968-1978, the districts with the highest incidence of heart problems suffered by males between the age of 35-78 was the same as the districts with the highest infant mortality rate at the beginning of the twentieth century. These districts were the industrial and poor areas in England and Wales.
At the time when Dr Barker made this observation, the popular belief was that heart problems were products of affluent lifestyles. Why, then, did Dr Barker find that heart attacks occurred most frequently in poor districts? Could it be that there is a close relationship between the health of the fetus and the health of the grown-up? This was indeed what he found. He retrieved the birth records of infants born a century ago, and found that the size of the placenta, the width of the infants’ waist, and their body weights were related to their health after they reached middle age. When the womb lacked nutrition in the first three months, this would lead the placenta to enlarge in order to transport enough blood and oxygen to the fetus. The lack of nutrition caused the infant’s waist to be small. Because the development of the brain took priority, this caused the liver, intestines, spleen, and pancreas to be small, and the infant’s weight to be lighter. Infants who had inadequate nutrition in the womb tend to develop heart attacks, obesity, and diabetes in later life. Dr Barker’s research was extended to, and his findings corroborated, in Europe, India, and China.
Another research study in the U.S. found that in a sample of 700,000 nurses, those who weighed less than five pounds at birth were twice as likely to develop heart problems when they grew up. Towards the end of World War II (September 1944 to May 1945), the Dutch people in Holland went through a hungry winter. The German army had cut the food supply on the eastern part of Holland to punish them for helping the united army successfully seize a bridge. That was a particularly cold winter, but the citizen’s food supply was cut from 1500 calories to 750 calories (and even down to 450 calories) per day. The ideal calorie intake of pregnant women should be about 2500. Women who became pregnant during that period gave birth to babies who were harmed by the famine, and this extended to the third generation offspring.
Fetus that endured famine during the entire nine months in the womb are worst affected, and had body weight, height, and brains that were smallest. Those that endured famine in the three months before delivery suffered the next greatest level of harm. Those that endured famine in the first three months of pregnancy suffered the least harm. In fact, these infants turned out to be especially large because their placentas were larger, and the pregnant women were able to resume their normal calorie intake after the united army saved Holland and began to ship large quantities of food to the nation. People who suffered from malnutrition while in their mothers’ wombs grew up with a higher incidence of diabetes, heart problems, obesity, and schizophrenia. In turn, when the females (who had malnutrition as fetus) became mothers, their offspring also had a higher incidence of these ailments. This multi-generation influence was not due to genetic reasons, but arose from the conditions at the fetal stage.
This discovery explained the puzzle behind the abnormally low incidence of heart problems among the French. One hundred years ago, the French led the world in terms of health maintenance benefits for pregnant women. French doctors had discovered that washing women who worked till delivery date were more likely to have premature deliveries. To protect the next generation, the French government provided many privileges to pregnant women. This far-sighted move benefited the future generations of French citizens, and testified to the truth of the saying “the merits cultivated by ancestors will benefit their next generations”. Every pregnant woman can be the grandmother of the next generation. Protecting the bodies and minds of these pregnant women from harm can work only with the involvement of the entire society.
The founder of anthroposophy, Dr Rudolph Steiner, warned of the adverse effects of chemical fertilizers on the health of future generations. He said that the first generation to consume food grown from chemical fertilizers may not feel the effects, but second and third generations will progressively suffer from weakened nervous systems and weakened ability to tolerate stress. The use of chemical fertilizer now has over 50 years of history. Currently, natural organic products occupy less than 0.5% of the market.
Suicide is now the third most popular cause of death among children between eight and fourteen. This statistic was unheard of fifty years ago. The incidence of mental illness has also gone up dramatically. Is this the price that we pay for our ancestors’ eating food grown from chemical fertilizers? Contamination from chemicals, nuclear waste, electromagnetic radiation, and microwave radiation causes severe harm to the fetus and all future grandmothers. To welcome healthy children and grandchildren, we have to re-adjust our lifestyle, and do our best to clean up our earth home. Grandma, if you come back to this earth again, I pray that you will have a healthy, happy, and blissful life. In the nine months that you spend in the womb and in the time thereafter, I pray that you enjoy the following conditions:
- Have adequate food and clothing, and live in a peaceful time without war.
- Your parents have a warm and loving relationship, and they are mentally and physically well prepared for your arrival.
- Your parents have long adopted an organic vegetarian diet, and have avoided all forms of contaminants.
- During her pregnancy, your mother will engage in appropriate exercise and rest. She will embrace nature, be happy, and have full confidence and control over her body and mind.
- You will be naturally delivered in a peaceful and warm environment. During her delivery, your mother will have someone to give her mental and physical support, and your father will be beside her. You will be placed on your mother’s abdomen before your umbilical cord is cut, and after appropriate rest, you will naturally crawl to your mother’s breast to suckle. You will then gaze at your mother’s loving face, get to know each other, and establish a loving mother-child relationship.
- Your father will be beside you to welcome you.
- Because you are conceived and nurtured in a peaceful, loving environment, you will have well-developed forebrain and cerebrum, as a result have an intelligent and wise mind, loving heart, and healthy body. You will have the conditions to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
May every future child and grandchild have such a beautiful start to life.
Extracted from Lapis Lazuli Light Magazine 2002 Aug Issue
Translated by Lapis Lazuli Light Singapore