One's Own Child is a Stranger - 2

One's Own Child is a Stranger - 2

A Cold-hearted Immune Response between Mother and Child

There are some cases that mothers make antibodies against their children's red blood cells due to different genetic combinations, however profound their love may be. These babies suffer from a disease called hemolytic anemia of newborn1 , or rhesus disease, which is caused by incompatible blood types.

This happens when a baby with the positive rhesus factors is born due to some genetic combinations, between a mother with the negative rhesus (RH) factors and a father with the positive factors.

How can such an unfeeling thing happen? When the red blood cells of the fetus enter the womb of his mother through a small scratch of the placenta, the mother's immune system forms the antibody against the rhesus factors on the blood cell surface of the fetus. The mother's antibody transferred to the fetus destroys his red blood cells, and as a result, the newborn baby suffers from jaundice, hemolytic anemia, or even edema. This is called hemolytic anemia of newborn caused by incompatible blood types. The immune response between mother and child is very cold-hearted and just beyond the mother's love reach.

However deep the mother's love may be, when the baby suffers from chronic nephritis, even the transplanted kidney of the mother is immunologically rejected unless immuno-depressant is used, except for a very few lucky cases. This is because the child's immune system responds to the histocompatibility antigen2 on the surface of the mother's kidney cells.

Respect for Features of another Person

In this way from the biological essence, even one's own child is a stranger. The initial relationship between the husband and his wife is that of strangers, then established over time by sentiments and social norms. Mother-and-child or father-and-child relationships are the same in a sense; genetically half of the relationship is related and the other half is unrelated after all.

As children grow up, their features become more and more different from that of their parents. We can see more difference of such features in infancy than in neonatal period, more in preschool age than in infancy, more in school age than in preschool age, more in youth than in school age. Recognizing the fact that parents and children have different features and personality become more important as our children grow up. Therefore it is important that we should listen to our children, understand their position, and let them understand what the parents have to say according to their age. When a husband and his wife have a quarrel over their children, your anger would be eased if you could think that good features of your children came from your spouse's gene while bad feature came from your own. Then the child-rearing or caring would be successful.

1: Hemolytic anemia of newborn (baby of rhesus disease)
A disease caused by the transfer of the mother's antibody to the fetus through the placenta as a result of the fetal red blood cells' response to the mother's immune system. The pregnancy that may cause the disease is called incompatible pregnancy. Many blood type-related factors are known including rhesus factor and ABO. In Rh blood type, the incompatible factor D is the most common. In ABO blood type, the disease happens when the mother has blood type O while the blood type of the fetus is either A or B. The most serious disease is fetal hydrops; in many cases the fetus dies at an early stage. Other diseases include icterus gravis that occurs within 24 hours after birth, often accompanied by kernicterus causing the brain damage. The main symptom of less severe cases is anemia.

2: Histocompatibility antigen
The success of organ transplants greatly depends upon the commonality of histocompatibility antigens between the donor and the patient. Each cell of the human body has histocompatibility antigen and the transplanted graft is rejected as a result of an immune response.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1981). "Wagako mo Tanin - 2" (written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved Aug 8, 2005, from the World Wide Web
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