Apparently, the mother-daughter bond is the strongest one ever
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I stubbornly refused to find out what I was having – for fear of ruining one of life's biggest surprises.
Secretly, I think, I really, really wanted it to be a girl. And it wasn't a case of not wanting a boy (let it be known that I have a boy now too, and could not be more obsessed with everything he is and does than I am), it was just that I craved that mother-daughter bond. The one I share with my own mum – and that I so deeply wanted to re-create with my own daughter.
Turns out, she was a girl, in fact – and, I think from the moment they put her on my chest, my instant, mini best friend. My soulmate. My daughter.
According to science, it really is no wonder that the relationship between a mother and a daughter is so powerful. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the mother-daughter relation is stronger than all other parent-child bonds when it comes to the common ways their brains process emotion.
Well, according to the experts, this is because while the connections between mothers and sons, father and daughters or fathers and sons may be built on solid foundations of love too, of course, they aren’t always as strong in the empathy departments. And based on the findings, brain chemistry is responsible for that.
How does it work? According to the 2016 study on 35 families, the part of the brain that regulates emotions is more similar between mothers and daughters than any other intergenerational pairing.
What this means, is that your mum is more likely to understand where you’re coming from when faced with a problem than anyone else – because she can better imagine herself in your shoes.
This can also go a long way in explaining why mothers and daughters are often the ones to but heads too – after all; if you put two of the same sides of a magnet together, you know what happens.
Interestingly, researchers point out that these findings can also have helpful implications when it comes to our understanding of mental health conditions, with associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, Fumiko Hoeft, pointing out that this makes mothers’ mental health experiences good predictors for the daughters.
Many other studies up through the years have examined the close-knit relationship between mamas and daughters, and they all pretty much conclude with that this unique relation remains stronger than any other type of intergenerational family relationship throughout all the changes of life. Not surprisingly then, maybe, is it that even more research has shown mothers and daughters influence each others—for better or worse — in different ways than other relationships.