Every mother I know will admit that motherhood has changed then in some way. Even mothers who choose not to raise their offspring are changed. It may be dramatic, like giving up whole sections of our lives or having our bodies reshaped permanently. It is also often very subtle, like discovering new emotions or finding that we think differently after birth. Science had found that the motherhood changes us at the cellular level, too.
Studies have long found male cells in women's brains. It is speculated that these cells crossed the placenta and took up residence inside the mother's brain during pregnancy. More recently, researchers at Arizona State University have found that fetal cells can be found in many other parts of a mother's body. Breast tissue, thyroid, and neurons all can be fetal in origin, a phenomenon they call microchimerism. These researchers are interested in figuring out why these cells migrate and what they do. They may influence our risk of cancers, autoimmune disorders, and even our mental health.
Sometimes, I am genuinely amazed at the way science sometimes tells us what we already know, but in a way we don't expect. The world is an amazing place, and our bodies are incredibly powerful places in which we host a galaxy's worth of organisms and where we even create new ones. If you haven't already had a moment of appreciation for your body today, and all of its parts that aren't you, I hope you can take a moment to appreciate that even internally, we are never truly alone. Once we make the decision to become mothers, we are also never the same on any level, including the cellular.