Pregnant women experiencing depression or anxiety are under greater stress and may have altered neurobiology themselves, which could affect fetal development via changes in the uterine environment. Indeed, untreated depression during pregnancy is associated with increased miscarriage rates, preterm birth, and low birth weight—some of the very risks associated with maternal use of S.S.R.I.s. Depressed mothers are at increased risk for preeclampsia. Recent research has shown that the fetus of a depressed, expectant mother has alterations in the microstructure of the right amygdala. There is even some evidence that mothers who are extremely stressed during their first trimesters may be more likely to have children who later develop schizophrenia. One review notes that pregnant women’s experience of stress has been linked to an increased risk of mixed-handedness, affective disorders, and reduced cognitive ability. Anxiety and depression during pregnancy are associated with increased risk for future mental illness in the offspring.
Checkout The Price of Silence: A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness by Liza Long. From a review:
Raw emotion propels “The Price of Silence.” Like most parents, Long initially “did not want to admit that my son had a mental illness.” Accepting it meant having to navigate, while at the same time resisting, the school-to-prison pipeline that sees hordes of mentally ill children become public burdens — homeless or incarcerated adults. In most states, public treatment services for young people are operated by the juvenile justice system; children like Long’s son are stigmatized early by being criminalized. Federal laws promising special education are on the books, but the cost of implementation is high. Responsible parents become full-time advocates on behalf of their mentally ill children. “Advocacy breeds resentment both from school district personnel and from other parents, as I learned with my own son,” Long writes.
Most people see the benefits of empathy as akin to the evils of racism: too obvious to require justification. I think this is a mistake. I have argued elsewhere that certain features of empathy make it a poor guide to social policy. Empathy is biased; we are more prone to feel empathy for attractive people and for those who look like us or share our ethnic or national background. And empathy is narrow; it connects us to particular individuals, real or imagined, but is insensitive to numerical differences and statistical data. As Mother Teresa put it, “If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” Laboratory studies find that we really do care more about the one than about the mass, so long as we have personal information about the one.
Ackerman possesses a talent for the incisive aphorism. Humans, she declares, are “the most successful invasives of all time.” “The Human Age” teems with unexpected insights. Who knew that incessant texting prompts a child’s brain map of the thumbs to expand? Who knew that the shift from children playing outside to indoors hunched over screens may be triggering an epidemic of myopia, as studies of young people in Shanghai and Seoul reveal that 95 percent are nearsighted? That fruit flies share 70 percent of human disease genes, including those associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? And that some de-extinction proponents envisage reintroducing mammoths to Siberia?
One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children. Mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.
For men, meanwhile, having a child is good for their careers. They are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.