The pre-natal stage of life is the very start of the developmental process. The first two weeks after conception are known as the germinal stage; the third through the eighth week are known as the embryonic period, and the time from the ninth week until birth is known as the foetal period. During pregnancy, the foetus is biologically and physically changing constantly. Bangladesh was in political turmoil through the late 1930’s to the 1940’s resulting in a vast number of people living in poverty whilst trying to maintain their culture and heritage. Studies show that those living in poverty are more likely to display negative behaviours such as smoking and bad eating habits. Amolikas mother smoked regularly throughout her pregnancy as there was not any information or guidance to suggest that this could be detrimental and could be seen as the main reason in why Amolika was born prematurely. Concepts, such as the Nature debate, would argue that the effects on the unborn foetus was down to nature as the effects of smoking could have possible biological and cognitive influences. Whereas the Nurture debate would argue that it was Amolikas mother’s environment and decisions which had a greater influence on why she smoked continuously through her pregnancy. Bandura (1963) would argue that through the process of nurture, smoking could be something which Amolika would imitate as a social behaviour through the process of observational learning. Therefore, smoking has not only influenced Amolikas pre-natal development but could also impact her development through later life stages.
Through Amolikas early childhood education and interaction with other children should have played an influential part in helping development however due to her families’ belief and social standing, education was not something which was easily accessible. School and social situations allow children to develop their physical skills through improving their co-ordination and control and their psychological development through understanding of the concepts and feelings of others whilst also allowing them to form their self- concept from the relationships formed. Amolika found it very difficult to form long lasting relationships through her life as she was unable to look back on any childhood memories to a point where she had. Cultural influences played a large part in why Amolika did not have chance at an education, as been a wife and bringing up a family it at the forefront of Muslim cultures within Bangladesh, even more so in the 1940’s when Muslim ideology was extremely prominent. Culture dictated that it was more important for women to be prepared for motherhood and marriage than it was to gain an education and a career. Amolikas development could be explained through the Continuity theory as her development has been slow and showed no defined stages complimented by the Idiographic theory centring on a purer concept of how influential factors may have affected Amolikas psychological development as different developments occur at different times in accordance to the individual. Piaget (1936) regarded cognitive development as a process which is constantly developing due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment which support my previous point on how Amolikas psychological development could be deficient due to poor interaction with peers and an unstable deprived environment.
One of the most significant milestones which mark adolescence is the significant physical changes which come with the onset of puberty, include hair growth and growth spurts. As well as changes in an individual’s appearance there are also changes to their cognitive and socio-emotional development. Cognitively the brain is growing and developing whilst socio-emotionally environmental factors play the most influential part as adolescents begin to develop a sense of self and identity whilst taking on new responsibilities. For Amolika, her adolescent develop was different from most. Married at 13, traditional cultures and concomitant social norms dictated that she acts in the way a wife would rather than as a teenager. These influences meant that physically and socially Amolika had to act in a way, where-as cognitively she was still developing through feelings, emotions, and coherent understanding of situations. Not only did culture and social pressure have an influence on aspects of Amolikas development but if her family were living in a less rural and a more economically developed area then she possibly would have had more change to develop through her life and reach milestones in accordance. Due to marrying in childhood there is almost an immediate pressure to produce children within the Muslim culture as to prove a woman’s worth, so by the age of 15 Amolika was carrying her first child after suffering two previous miscarriages which again would have caused not just physical strain on her development but also psychological. Nomothetic theories of development can be linked closely with Amolikas adolescent development as it would look for an occurring phenomena between poverty, child marriage and child pregnancy whilst giving a general view over the explanations and generalised effects that this has where-as the Idiographic theory of development would give a more pure concept of the development and the affect all of these influences have had on Amolikas psychological development at the different times it has occurred.
Physical development is one of the most obvious changes through middle adult hood. The appearance of wrinkles and the loss of skin elasticity is one of the main differences which people refer to when talking about growing old. Amolika faced the same changes however hers were heightened through behaviours such a smoking and an insubstantial diet, and whilst most people in middle adulthood are married and have no instinct feelings to find an alternative partner, this issue causes Amolika emotional distress, as since been widowed she has yet to remarry, mainly down to culture and societal pressures to act in the expected way a widow should. Not only does Amolika suffer from depression she also must decide whether culture and society are going to dictate the way in which her daughter lives her life. Theorists suggests that by nurturing her daughter in the right this way would allow her to gain and education and break the cycle of poverty however environmental and social factors could mean that Amolikas daughter also marries young to gain financial stability but also for the dowry to support her mother’s life. Psychosocial theories of development, such as Erik Erikson suggests that the ego develops as it successfully resolves difficulties that are distinctly social in nature. These involve establishing a sense of trust in others, developing a sense of identity in society, and helping the next generation prepare for the future. Amolika was unable to gain this sense of trust with others and unable to develop a sense of her own identity as she was quickly known as a 'wife' which could mean that this is another reason why Amolika has psychological and social problems as she has very little trust for society or her environment.