Hormonal function is reverse selected at the baby stage, and trickles out into adult sexuality. Adult female sexuality is a secondary expression of this selection. The primary selection is at the foetus and new-born stages. Hormones in this instance are primarily a foetus creation tool, not adult sexuality tool. New-born development and survival is highly selected and conserved.

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Baby brain, a theory of hormonal regulation. Hormonal function is reverse selected at the baby stage and trickles out into adult se

Hormonal function
Baby brain, a theory of hormonal regulation. Hormonal function is reverse selected at the baby stage and trickles out into adult sexuality. Adult female sexuality is a secondary expression of this selection. The primary selection is at the foetus and new-born stages; hormones in this instance, are primarily a foetus creation tool, not adult sexuality tool. New-born development and survival is highly selected and conserved.

So, this first paragraph is a chicken and egg question. Do people have sex and have babies? Or do babies make people have sex and have babies?

But for the sake of this topic, what I’m saying here is that the way hormones work, and we know very little about the purpose and the function and the ramifications of the so called female hormonal pattern or cycle or regulation If you’ve seen the graph with oestrogen, progesterone, FSH and LH, which is taught in GCSE, as part of the menstrual cycle, you will see that it just goes up and down and left and right; there isn’t even much of a clear relationship of what’s going on and why. We understand the main gist, but we don’t really know, more specifically what is going on and why.

What this paragraph is trying to say is, you know, forget about looking at it in terms of an adult person having these hormones and what it does to the adult because not all adults have children, and I don’t think that’s the main selection point for what these hormones do. I think the main selection point is the baby itself, because the baby is that sensitive point in development, that more or less, frames intergenerational selection, and what ends up happening to humans as a species. And because that’s such a sensitive point, it has a very powerful effect on subsequent events in terms of hormones, and functions and behaviours, and just who we are as humans.

So, for the purpose of that, it’s saying, “Don’t look at these hormones as “Oh, they just regulate female adult sexuality””. But look at them as “they create babies”. It’s like ingredients in a recipe and this recipe’s for a baby. These hormones are ingredients to make a baby more than anything else.
Death and powerlessness
Death and powerlessness are the main drivers of a new-born behaviour. To mitigate threats, the body must predict them. To predict them, it must simulate them. In simulating death, new-borns act out bad moods that climax in crying. Therefore, it is a critical adaptive behaviour in the baby. The equivalent adult behaviour has weaker survival function.

This paragraph, then moves on to this connection between the most powerful selection point for the baby. And there’s famous studies about babies dying because of believing that there’s no one there to look after them. There were these disturbing studies, I think a lot of people are familiar with, where they fed the babies, they took care of what we thought were the basic physical needs, like feeding them, cleaning them and things like that; but there was no emotional feedback, there was no touching, cuddling, holding, talking. They had to cut the study short because some babies died because of that.

So, this is a very powerful point of selection and anything that a baby does or doesn’t do, feeds into this selection. Now obviously crying, having a bad mood, and crying serves that vital function in a baby, they can’t talk so this is kind of a powerful communication tool for them. Now obviously, for adults, if adults get upset whatever their issue is, and they start crying, it’s not the same powerful selector as it is for a new-born baby. And adults cry for various reasons.

Activation of β€œBaby brain”
It is critical for the new-born to respond to being born and activate “baby brain”. This brain is the state, responses and functionality required to bring about the most adaptive behaviours. Being born is signalled by many changes. (Oishi et al., 2019). A key one is the sudden withdrawal of female hormones

So, this is where this concept of baby brain comes in. The concept is that whatever the foetus is doing before being born, or whatever is going to have to do after it’s born, is different; this is an important rite of passage just to be born. So, you would expect it physically and physiologically to mirror, the fact that it is an important transition by similar physiological events, and one of those is the sudden withdrawal of female hormones.

Now, of course, this is also experienced by whoever’s pregnant with this baby, experiencing that gradual surge in hormones over the course of pregnancy, and then at birth, drops, sudden withdrawal. Now, what it’s saying here is, this sudden withdrawal is a signal and it’s probably a big signal; starting to breathe, and other things are also big signals. But this is one of those things that is correlated and is part of this package of “time’s up, you have now been born; things are going to have to happen a certain way from this point onwards”

Hormonal changes
This is essential as part of the new-born selection, but it risks being triggered repeatedly in the adult hormone-cycling individuals experiencing negative side effects, for example, during the menstrual cycle. Mood issues, crying and anticipating death, are adaptive new-born functions, but in the adult, these are wholly unpleasant. The adult brain can process emotional simulation as conscious thought. Anticipating death to prevent it can become interpreted as a desire for suicide, which unfortunately, sometimes materialises, notably in post-partum depression.

Okay, so this paragraph brings it all home; why is it important to know about baby brain and what happens in the brain? And how hormones can trigger those states in the brain? And how that applies to adults, right?

Of course, babies are born, it’s probably a big deal but we don’t really think about their actual perspective, what are they going through. And this is really the main argument, the baby brain is the brain of a baby that has just been born and is starting to behave in ways and do things that have been very powerfully selected as part of that baby surviving and growing up and so on.

So, this is one of the examples here. This is very topical and is something that a lot of people have grappled with in one way or another. There’s so many different examples of how various hormonal imbalances or issues can play into this concept. I’ve experienced some of this which will be covered in a different episode, but this is one of the main ones. A lot of people are no longer going through (and this is what we’re going to touch on later as well) what I assume they used to, a long time ago and maybe not that long ago, pregnancy after pregnancy after pregnancy after pregnancy after pregnancy. But rather, no pregnancies or very few pregnancies, and mostly defaulting to the menstrual cycle instead. And of course, PMS, PMDD, and all the associated experiences. Let’s find out more after this short break.

Baby brain in adults
One of the highest risks in adults is indeed at the same time as their baby is born, manifested in postnatal depression, and indeed with the monthly hormonal changes. This may also go to explain the prevalent observation that mood instabilities leading to anxiety or depression are dominant in adults with female hormones and less common in adults with male hormones. The aforementioned state of negativity and helplessness is critical to new-born bonding and survival. This is “baby brain”. When activated in adults, it presents issues.

Essentially, PMS, PMDD (Beddig et al., 2019; Petersen et al., 2019), postnatal depression (Putnick et al., 2020) and related conditions do not give rise to new experiences in the adult – they are basically going through β€œbeing born” neurologically and emotionally. Postnatal depression is not a separate condition but simply the adult brain being triggered into being born just as the new-born has just been born (Wang and Chen, 2020).

When patients suffer these symptoms, they are experiencing having just been born, it may be a rewriting or reset of the emotional response in the adult. It is unpleasant, and thankfully not always triggered in the adult but because it is so non negotiably essential to the primary selector, the baby, it cannot be eliminated from the human blueprint.

This is really where the ball drops and it might sound a little bit out there to say that people having various conditions and issues are going through being born. Why would an adult be born? but I think on the on the brain level, on the nervous system level and a lot of these symptoms of very much nervous system symptoms, mood issues, regulated by neurotransmitters. There are all these studies, I’m not going to mention them but there’s all sorts of things that tie into potential treatments for PMS, for example, you’ve got magnesium, calcium, all of these contribute to the proper function of the nervous system.

The Nervous System
You’ve got neurotransmitters, a lot of these symptoms are nervous system symptoms; mood, invasive thoughts that you have, the reward system, depression (again this is neurotransmitter based). You’ve got dizziness, you’ve got nausea, you’ve got digestive system issues, all these things seem like very random symptoms, but they are just a plethora of things that come from this underlying reset or imbalance in the nervous system. The hormones and the nervous system are another thing that is taught as early as GCSE; we talk about homeostasis and the two systems that we introduce, that again may seem not particularly related, are the endocrine system with all the hormones and the nervous system within your transmitters.

These are the main communication systems in the body and the hormones talk to the nervous system, and vice versa. This is really the bottom line of baby brain, which is, why do people have these issues? there must be a reason, they don’t just happen for no reason. Usually, if something is quite strong, it probably has some sort of a function somewhere else and based on what these hormones are, this was really my insight after a long time, struggling with a lot of this. I just thought, “You know what; this is it”, there’s a powerful selection at the baby stage, the hormones are not so much sexuality hormones, they create us, that is the main function.

Over pregnancy, you can see that the levels of so-called female hormones rise, so it’s really about the moment of creation, and the selection of that point. And as those hormones tank at birth, that is the wake -up moment of “Congratulations, baby, you have just been born. Welcome to the world!” And the baby must behave differently, the baby doesn’t cry when it’s in the womb, he doesn’t struggle for bonding, when it’s in the womb, it doesn’t behave like a baby when it’s in the womb, in that sense. All these things that happen, they can’t happen because of a baby figuring out that that’s what he needs to do, it’s just something that happens automatically. So those hormonal changes just automatically signal to the nervous system to do the things that it does, whether that’s smiling for no reason, or whatever babies do and some of those negative things that are positive for the baby, because it is positive for the baby to be a baby and to survive.

In the adult, experiencing similar hormonal shifts that cause a similar thing to happen on the brain level that causes some of those symptoms, is problematic because we don’t want to not know what’s going on with us in terms of the moods being all over the place, being depressed, not having any motivation and in the worst case, having suicidal thoughts.

What is this idea of simulating things to predict them to avoid them? I think there’s some synchronicity, between living things and their environment. Every time a new organism comes to life, it doesn’t look around and figure out, “I wonder how much oxygen there is in the air” and “I wonder when winter comes”. They already know this, we’re back and forth of our environment and we have these predictions built into ourselves. Plants already know that when the temperature’s low, that means it’s going to get warmer, and they start growing their flowers, for example. Our feet already formed in the shape that is going to allow us to run on two legs. We already have the memory of the function of our species and a lot of that memory in this example, is to do with avoiding death.

Babies have been selected to survive, that’s really the bottom line, I think, just survive, just make it. And the reason they are the way they are is because this is what’s worked best; it might be inconvenient to the parents, maybe, but this is what’s worked best so this is what they do. I say that babies of course try to avoid death and to avoid it, they try to simulate it. Whenever someone’s not looking after them, for example, going back to those horrific studies that were done, there’s an expectation. If there isn’t closeness, if there isn’t a certain kind of stimulation, then the psyche of the baby, obviously not consciously but the totality of the baby’s experience anticipates the fact that he might be left alone which means that he will die. He’s obviously very attuned to these signals of, “am I being looked after or not?”, “am I potentially going to die or not?” This is the simulation part, now obviously, the baby is not necessarily consciously aware of that, it’s not mentally computing the events.

But the reason this is important is because in the adult, going through the same motions, the same signalling and perception that says “Uh-Oh, I think you’re about to die, something’s about to go wrong”, the adult does have the capacity to consciously process those signals. On an emotional level, that message of “Uh-Oh, you’re about to die” is going to be picked up by the conscious brain and it’s going to be read. It’s not going to be read as “someone’s going to kill you”, or “you’re going to die”, it’s going to be read as “I want to kill myself” because the interpretation of the translation of that inner emotional state is very first person. So, you identify with your thoughts, you believe your thoughts, so if you feel like, “Uh-oh, you’re going to die”, your brain is just going to think “I want to die, I want to die, I want to die” because that is what your emotional system is perceiving.

In the baby, that’s kind of a “I’m going to passively die” because that’s what babies do, babies will die, the default destiny of any baby is death, unless it knows that it’s receiving those signals and that feedback that someone is looking after them, and then they know they won’t die but the default is that they will die. Obviously, for adults, that’s not the case. Adults obviously should have that sense of independence where they won’t die by default, they don’t need someone to look after them, they can be independent, but our emotional system doesn’t know that. When you’re internally, picking up those signals, you will think you want to kill yourself, because that is what you’re picking up. I hope that makes a little bit of sense.

Shifts in cycles
The natural cycle is a cycle of pregnancy and birth. The menstrual cycle is a secondary cycle. The pregnancy cycle is much steeper in hormonal shifts than the menstrual cycle By changing, so that the pregnancy cycle has become an exception in developed countries, and the menstrual cycle the rule, shifts to the cycle become more difficult to navigate and respond to positively, We’re less able to withstand the shifts and experience adverse effects and a lost ability to rebalance.

It may be difficult to accept, the best treatment for baby brain may mirror that which the original state of the baby itself requires, constant care from others better positioned to give it, acceptance, affection, patience, and of course, any drugs required in severe cases.

Part of me is thinking, “Wow, you’ve just put a lot of things out there”. At least five of them could be obscenely controversial, at least 10 of them could be totally misinterpreted but this is what we risk when we come up with new ideas. And after a very, very difficult time that I went through myself, I came to a place of insight and clarity, and peace and confidence that this was what I wanted to share as I came out of that place. I suppose even in my darkest moments, there is still this little curious natural philosopher at work, who’s asking questions and trying to find answers. And this is some of the things that I came up with. To me, this made perfect sense.

And separately, there will be an episode about perhaps more detail as to what I personally went through but for now, thank you for listening. And remember, there is always a fun fact at the end of the episode. Where’s this fun fact? I don’t think this episode needs a fun fact. I think this whole episode is its own fun fact.