*epigenetics

Messier 71:  a globular cluster in the northern constellation Sagitta that spans 13 light years.

I became in a family way when I was 17. My foster mother started to accuse me of sleeping with her jobless boyfriend and changed the locks, leaving me to sleep outside many nights when they went out to clubs. I reported it to services, my teachers, and my nurses. I told my health teacher that I felt the stress affecting my child. I trusted him, I had no one. He told me not to worry.

At 30 I began to explore epigenetics and the research suggesting that trauma can be passed down through generations. Epigenetics translates literally to “above genetics”, referring to external modifications to a person’s programming. I say programming because that’s how it makes sense to me. If you’re familiar with binary, how the 1’s and 0’s turn lines of code on or off, outside forces can do this to traits within us, turn them on and off.

If you’ve created a child at any time, the 1’s and 0’s within you get passed down as they exist in that moment. In short: these modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but rather, they affect how cells “read” genes. I think about the shared trauma in the world and how it’s sinister nature infects the future; contaminates quite literally the gene pool. Ignorance is certainly not bliss.

Paige Six | 2021

16 Comments

  1. Paige, I am the mother of a biological daughter, age 51, and two adopted children, 30 and 29. My adopted children came with many existing problems at ages 4 and 6. Some things could not be changed, but they have a better life than they would have had where they were.

    Though you may not be able to undo the past completely, you can certainly modify the present and the future as you and your child learn and grow together. The most important thing you can do is love your child and show them that you love them. All parents make mistakes and you will too, but if children know they are loved, they will probably turn out OK.

    I am sorry for all that you have suffered, but I believe that day-by-day you can make life better for yourself and for your child. I wish you all the best! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried to post on your website about your Hanging Out with Wild Animals post, but it keeps sending me an error. ):

      I hope to get to know you better. Thank you so much for this hopeful and kind comment. I don’t have a lack of hope, but I do wish to address all the feelings with honesty. I feel very alone in these musings, but I know that I can’t be. A way out will be a testament to my writing if I can find it. I have a strong faith that things will all fall into place, however. But that’s just an intuitive feeling. Life has a way of making me eat my own words. We will see!

      I look forward to getting to know your work better. I hope my future comments will not bring up errors! I love to repay the kindness. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment, again. This is really a beautiful string of encouragement and it has not gone unnoticed.

      Like

    1. There is such a vast amount of information out there that now the hardest point is finding the right information before it’s too late! Thanks for leaving your feedback. I’m sorry you had a similar situation. I look forward to getting to know your story more deeply as well. Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know a little bit of mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paige6, first timer here. This is interesting and I am sorry you were exposed to such trauma at an early age. To support your contention, we underestimate the impact our environment has on our health, both physical and mental. So it makes sense that our environment, including sustained or acute incidences of trauma will have an impact as well. For example, kids who have been victims or witnessed domestic violence are more prone than others to commit DV or be attracted to a DV perpetrator. Now, is that genetics or imprinted trauma., I don’t know? But, there is a correlation and is likely causal. Now, the key test is would an offspring not so impacted be prone? Good discussion. Thanks, Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this perspective because it offers a sign of hope without dismissal of the fact that these things seem to be scientifically proven to be passed down. Trauma is passed down, and with us now being capable of being educated on that, knowing the truly long term consequences, can we minimize the impact? I think we can, but only if we start taking this seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. I referenced the DV trauma, as a group I volunteer with helps working homeless families, about 1/3 of whom are homeless due to domestic violence. So, the mothers (and sometimes the kids) were beaten AND lost their homes. Our social workers use a concept called “trauma informed care,” so they had to adjust their care model to recognize the PTSD due to domestic violence, as well as the lost home. It should be noted the kids are impacted by PTSD just seeing their mother (or father) go through homelessness and the DV stuff. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think your realized trauma of the experiences you’re living through during pregnancy are particularly damaging. I went back and forth between ending this with, “I wonder if she ever had a chance”, because I don’t know if I believe either of us ever did.

      I don’t feed into that, because it doesn’t help anyone to wallow in these things. But the time of my pregnancy with my daughter was a horrible time in my life. I experienced much of the worst physical and emotional abuse I’ve ever been victim of during that time. I wonder how she might have been wired differently had I not experienced life that way at that time.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s hard to look at our little ones, think of the challenges they’ve lived through and feel nothing but regret for our actions. I feel that.

        I agree though, those thoughts don’t need fuel, but it takes almost every ounce of energy to resist them sometimes.

        As for the past, we do the best we know how in each moment, and all we can do next is move forward. Whether or not you could’ve changed the horrid situations you were forced to live through, or chosen a different path, doesn’t matter anymore.

        She does. And I feel that through your words. Your love will hold her up, your flawed, imperfect love for your child. It may not be obvious in the day to day, in the little arguments and the lost tempers and the many mistakes, but in that magical bigger picture littered with regret and pain but lit with persistence and love.

        Hang in there. The future is bright.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh definitely. I’m not ‘letting go’. But things also are what they are. I think there’s a thing as toxic positivity and it’s what makes disenfranchised people settle for less every day. We do no one a service by putting fresh paint over rotting wood.

          Liked by 2 people

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