photo by lildarlings
Before I was pregnant I was one of the healthiest people I knew. I ate right and exercised. I thought I'd be a really healthy pregnant person too. Boy, was I wrong. I inhaled family size bags of potato chips in seconds, scarfed down doughnuts (which I normally don't like), and I had to have McDonald's French Fries (they were the only thing that would stop the nausea—seriously). I was too sick and too tired to exercise so there went any illusions I had of doing prenatal yoga and continuing my daily run right up until my due date. Unfortunately, my lazy, gluttonous behavior during pregnancy has ruined my daughter's chances of success in life. How so?
Richard Nisbett, a psychologist and author of the new book Intelligence and How to Get It says, "Children whose mothers exercised 30 minutes a day scored around eight points higher on standard IQ tests than children whose mothers were more sedentary.” While previous generations of mothers were told to avoid exercise after the trimester, the latest research suggests that using light weights, stretching, and even running can be good for moms—and their babies. "Exercising large muscle groups increases the growth of neurons and adds to the blood supply of the brain," says Nisbett.
That sounds reasonable. But since I didn't lift a finger never mind a leg while I was pregnant, my daughter's IQ is sure to be stunted. Hence, her miserable failure of a life begins. Of course, that's if you agree with what Nisbett says.
He also argues that moms have more control and responsibility over their baby's intelligence than dads do (he's a father of two), and should create "educationally rich" atmospheres at home for their children—especially during summer vacations. Way to put the pressure on, doc. Nisbett speaks highly of a private school chain called Kipp (Knowledge is Power), which trains poor urban children and their mothers to study 12 hours a day. Twelve hours? If I had 12 extra hours in my day, I'd probably spend them eating doughnuts—and French fries.
Enter Ayelet Waldman author of Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace (she's famous for creating a "stir" a few years ago when she said that she loved her husband more than her three kids). Waldman says that mothers are already under too much pressure. “Little you do to your kids damages them for ever,” she says. "Lighten up."
Sounds good to me. I think I'll sit on the couch and have a doughnut, or two. I, for one, think that's an excellent way to create an "educationally rich atmosphere" in which my baby girl can learn to count.
Did you exercise while you were pregnant? Is your baby brilliant?