LookSmart's FindArticles - Mother's Day: maternal instinct may be a myth. But this mother's son still sees something special in motherly love
Psychology Today, May, 1988, by Paul Chance
Now, I find the idea of whether or not women really have an innate maternal instinct really, really fascinating - mainly beecause I don't have kids. And, as a single, child-less person, I know for a fact that the thought of staying home and raising children full-time (with all the attendant diaper duty, early morning wake-ups, feedings, nurturing, rearing, cooking and cleaning) sends shivers of horror down my spine. And I know I'm not alone.
Sure, I get all dewy-eyed when I see a mom and dad with their cute kids (especially if they have a whole brood and they are all just so adorable), and, occassionally I fantasize about what my own children will be like - athletic, strong-willed, angelic :) - and then I wake up. I start thinking about how much child care costs and who is going to change these adorable childrens' diapers and how many games I will have to attend and do I really want to start carpooling? And my dream of having children once again gets pushed to the furthest corners of my mind.
So this makes me question whether all that stuff about maternal instinct is real. If I really had it, wouldn't I be rushing out to have children despite all my fears? The article I read insists that the maternal instinct is learned, not innate. This quote sums it up:
Then the Pill happened, and the '60s, and suddenly a lot of women were discovering that sex and reproduction were not inseparable. And just as suddenly there were a lot of women who didn't show much interest in making little ones. So it really does seem that maternal love is not instinctive.
The prevailing opinion among experts now seems to be that motherly behavior is the product of learning. Women have and love children only because they were trained to do so. That was what their mothers were up to when they encouraged them to spend countless hours with Barbie
That, however, seems a bit cold to me, so I'm thinking it must be a combination of the two. That the maternal instinct is both innate and learned. And, even if you don't have it to begin with, you can certainly learn it.
The Bible doesn't really say a whole lot about parenting either. There are admonitions about how children should be raised, but these injunctions are not addressed to one particular parent. And, in Bible stories, I have seen instances of both the mother and father interacting regularly with their children.
So - what do you think? Do you think the maternal instinct is a learned behavior or is innate?
Religion, Spirituality, Christian, Christianity, Articles, Parenting,