Left-Handed Moms -- Facts and Myths

by Julie Snyder

Left-Hander's Day 2012Every August, Left-Handers' Day rolls around. It's a time to celebrate uniqueness and an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges left-handers face.

Are you a left-handed mom? You're among an awesome minority!

At least 90 percent of the population favors their right hand. Since most lefties tend to be male, females in that group are truly a minority.

What's everyone saying about people who mostly use a left hand?

Here's the scoop on the folklore. Have you heard of any of these before?

Facts and Myths About Being "Lefties"

Using your left hand was once thought to be a sign of the devil. The word "sinister" comes from the same root word as "left." That's silly, right? In some ways, we might not have come so far as we think.

Fact: Your mom may have been older when you were born. Women over the age of 40 give birth to twice as many kids who favor their left hands than younger moms, according to a Canadian study. Even moms in their 30s are more likely to have "lefties."

Myth: Since those suffering from neurological disorders such as Autism and Down syndrome tend to favor their left hands, then "lefties" must have something wrong with them. Hand dominance rarely comes about as a taught behavior or a sign of inability to learn skills.

Fact: Only 22 percent of moms who favor their left hand have their dominant hand free when carrying their baby. Why? Experts suggest that moms prefer to hold babies over their hearts, where they're soothed by the sound of a heartbeat.

Theory: It might be all your mom's fault. Some scientists consider it a mild birth defect, not a genetic trait. They suggest that hand preference is caused by mom's stress or depression during pregnancy. Since, experts have pinpointed a gene associated with left-handedness has been pinpointed, this theory could need rephrasing or updating.

Fact: Your hand preference developed in the womb. Ultrasounds often show a baby favoring one hand over the other.

Myth: Left-handers live longer. Actually, the opposite is true. "Lefties" tend to have more accidents and shorter lives.

Fact: In baseball, sports stadiums cater to right-handed players. They're built so that the sun isn't in their eyes. Left-handers play a blinding game. In spite of the disadvantages, these kids tend to excel and sports.

Myth: Right-handed parents can't teach their left-handed kids to write. In the past, children were forced to use only the right hand. Now you can find instruction to help a child learn basic skills, no matter their hand preference.

Fact: Left-handers make up a large percentage of the pioneers in our society -- four of the five original designers of the Mac, one of four Apollo astronauts and countless leaders.

Are you a "leftie?" How will you celebrate the day?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.