I’ve written about maternal-fetal microchimerism before. It served as the foundation of a poem I wrote about two years ago, “Animaeporosis.” It’s a topic that has come to the forefront of my thoughts again when recently, someone on a Facebook posted the article “Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains,” which states:
“The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm. . . .Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid, muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin.”
Profound psychological and physical bonds shared by a mother and her child – shared by me and my child. Her fetal cells that have taken up residence in my brain, lungs, thyroid, muscles, liver, heart, kidneys, skin, bone marrow . . .and yet. And yet I am told I should just “let go” of her. “Get over” her. “Move on.”
How do I “move on” when my relinquished daughter – in a very literal manner, thanks to maternal-fetal microchimerism – lives in every thought, in every expansion of my lungs as I inhale and exhale, in every beat of my heart, in the very thing that covers every inch of me? How does any woman “get over” someone so deeply embedded in her physical being?
It’s been almost 22 years. I am still seeking an answer that provides lasting relief from this bone-deep ache for my relinquished daughter.