Maternal Instinct

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Maternal Instinct

Postby LadySeverus on February 20th, 2008, 9:22 pm 

Do you believe that maternal instinct is something present in every human female? If a female seems to lack maternal instinct, do you believe that this is do to genetics, to the way she was raised or to some other outside force?

I find myself in this unique situation. I'm an only child from a very small family who was never significantly exposed to other children at a young age. My mother is not overly maternal, and her sister absolutely hates children.

I have despised children ever since I can remember. The timber of their squalling voices makes my head feel like it's exploding. The younger they are, the more extreme my negative reaction towards them. I truly hate babies and toddlers and refuse to be in their presence.

I spent about 6 months in therapy a few years ago because my "baby-phobia" had progressed to the point that I was actually making quite rude comments to strangers when their children wouldn't shut up. Usually something along the lines of, "You know, both abortion and babysitters are relatively inexpensive, and had you chosen either option I might actually be able to enjoy my veal right now..."

I have never, ever felt anything other than revulsion towards babies. The entire act of pregnancy is so disgusting...letting a parasite live inside you, eat your nutrients, and then having it burst forth from your nether regions? Then you have this little squalling, mewling, defecating, urinating, vomiting, mass that takes up all your time and money and effectively robs you of anything resembling "a life." Why any woman would consider this endeavor is completely beyond me.

When I was 23, I was sterilized via the Essure method. I know that I simply am not a human being who is capable of raising a child. Every time I see one, I have the urge to throw it against a wall.

So my basic question here is why do you think some women lack any sort of maternal instinct? I've met numerous other women, especially via online forums, who feel as I do, so I know that it's not simply a case of me being insane (and in fact, I had to pass a psych test to acquire the job I've been at for almost 5yrs.)
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Postby Giacomo on February 21st, 2008, 12:25 am 

Maternal isn't just about babies or toddlers or children it's about natural instinct and the desire to protect and nurture and care for another being whatever their age.

Instincts are shared by a species, they are not specific to certain members of that species. Many women do not display this 'instinct' so I don't believe it actually exists as an inbuilt feature of human females.
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Postby Metis on February 21st, 2008, 7:49 am 

Personally, I think human toddlers about the time they are learning to be human are kind of interesting but I’ve never wanted on of my own. I have been around a couple of them that belonged to my brother and a couple that belonged to girlfriends and that was quite enough. They are sort of fun as long as you can give them back when you are tired of playing with them.
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Postby newyear on February 22nd, 2008, 5:48 pm 

Ladyseverus,
I have despised children ever since I can remember.


and

Every time I see one, I have the urge to throw it against a wall.


You have obviously come to the conclusion that you are not the usual female. By despising others you are indicating your own short comings. And, in the second quote, a violent disposition. I guess, a professional would find you a challenging case, and suggest that you continue with your consultations.

I do not think that it is so much a maternal instinct that women have, but a sexual one. (I am guessing because I'm not female). The maternal instinct happens from the time the woman knows she is pregnant and will continue for the rest of her life. The basic behavioural change is that of caring, and the feeling of 'love' towards the child. The father will also experience this change in behaviour.

I have two children, and if I was younger again, I would repeat the experience.

You seem to be closing doors in your mind, when one should be opening them. Not wanting to have children on your part may be an instinct. Violent thoughts are not.
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Postby Lincoln on February 22nd, 2008, 6:09 pm 

Metis wrote:Personally, I think human toddlers about the time they are learning to be human are kind of interesting but I’ve never wanted on of my own. I have been around a couple of them that belonged to my brother and a couple that belonged to girlfriends and that was quite enough. They are sort of fun as long as you can give them back when you are tired of playing with them.


When I was younger, I assidiously avoided having children. I did marry two women (at different times....I ain't no Mormon or Moslem,) both who came with older children. In both cases, we decided that the kids they brought with them were enough. I liked being an Uncle. "Spoil 'em and send 'em home" was a pretty good motto.

Some years into marriage #2, my wife got pregnant. Ooops. Well, to quote Beretta (a 1970's cop show for you youngsters,) don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

But you know...it's a blast. I should have done it a long time ago. If I were younger, I'd do it again. I guess all I'm saying Metis is don't rule it out. It's a lot more fun than it looks like from the outside.

There is a pretty funny advertisement from Europe that is relevant.

On the other hand, it does appear to me that Ms. Severus made the right reproductive choice. Even though I've thoroughly enjoyed my son and I've never hurt him, there were a couple of times at 3:30 in the morning when I understood pretty well how parents end up hurting their kids.

But to answer Ms. Severus' question, no...it is not so unusual for a woman (or man) to not want children. However, the degree of your distaste for them is.
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Postby LadySeverus on February 22nd, 2008, 10:52 pm 

Yes, I'm pretty aware that my degree is of distaste is unusual (though not unique). I'm more curious as to the psychological reasons of why myself and some others I have met feel this way.

Older children don't bring these feelings up in me, and I actually enjoy school aged children (in small doses) and adore teenagers.

I also have no negative feelings towards the sex act (I actually rather like that part ;) ). It's just the idea of pregnancy and the presence of smallish children that seems to set me off.

With pregnancy, the whole thing seems entirely too much like being invaded by a parasite. Seeing a pregnant women reminds me far too much of tapeworms for some reason.

With the babies, I think it's mostly the noises they make (I can handle being around a silent one much better than one who mewls or gurgles of gods forbid cries.)

Interestingly enough, I show no other violent tendencies whatsoever (and I'll reiterate that in order to acquire my job position I took a psych test that was looking for exactly this tendency.) I also adore animals and live on a small farm with 9 dogs, 6 cats, and 6 horses all of which I could never raise a hand to.

The maternal instinct happens from the time the woman knows she is pregnant and will continue for the rest of her life.


I don't believe I agree with that. My own mother, while not entirely lacking in maternal instinct, is far less maternal than most women I know. My aunt, who went through 3 pregnancies, despises children every bit as much as I do. I've met a good many women who had little to no maternal instinct (via my job) and I can assure you there is nothing about pregnancy which creates maternal instinct. Nothing whatsoever. It either happens or it doesn't.
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Postby The Idea on February 23rd, 2008, 12:38 am 

I would think that all females have the instinct of witch we are discussing. I think asking "why" is wrong here, I think if we ask "how" we maybe be able to get more ideas.
Anyway, as stated above I think the society may be to blame. People grow up in a society so it is right to conclude they are influenced by it as well.


Just thinking.
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Postby Slacker on February 23rd, 2008, 8:39 am 

Just out of curiousity....

What is your take on puppies, kittens, baby horses and the other small critters? What about baby monkeys?
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Postby newyear on February 23rd, 2008, 9:49 am 

LadySeverus wrote:
The maternal instinct happens from the time the woman knows she is pregnant and will continue for the rest of her life.


I don't believe I agree with that. My own mother, while not entirely lacking in maternal instinct, is far less maternal than most women I know. My aunt, who went through 3 pregnancies, despises children every bit as much as I do. I've met a good many women who had little to no maternal instinct (via my job) and I can assure you there is nothing about pregnancy which creates maternal instinct. Nothing whatsoever. It either happens or it doesn't.


I am not a professional psychologist, I just play. I see two basic points; the first being why you should feel the way you do. Even if I guess correctly, it wouldn't help you if you don't want to change, which is the second point. So, I won't persist along this line of thinking as it is quite personal, and I don't think you would enjoy a public discussion.

However, I'll give you some of my thoughts. You believe that children will disrupt your 'way of life' and the ability to sustain it. Hence the aversion to pregnancy and small children. This fact is made more aware by your liking animals. You find that animals are not a threat to the way you live, and even a substitute. I would hesitate to guess that when one of your animals is sick, you will look after it in quite a maternal manner, even worry about it. You will even show love. If I am correct, then you do, indeed, have a maternal instinct. It manifests itself in caring for these creatures.
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Postby LadySeverus on February 23rd, 2008, 9:07 pm 

Just out of curiousity....

What is your take on puppies, kittens, baby horses and the other small critters? What about baby monkeys?


I love most baby animals (though monkeys look too much like humans to suit me.)
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Postby LadySeverus on February 23rd, 2008, 9:11 pm 

However, I'll give you some of my thoughts. You believe that children will disrupt your 'way of life' and the ability to sustain it. Hence the aversion to pregnancy and small children. This fact is made more aware by your liking animals. You find that animals are not a threat to the way you live, and even a substitute. I would hesitate to guess that when one of your animals is sick, you will look after it in quite a maternal manner, even worry about it. You will even show love. If I am correct, then you do, indeed, have a maternal instinct. It manifests itself in caring for these creatures.


I think that's a good point. I do love my animals and take very good care of them. As for changing, no not interested (though public discussion of the subject doesn't bother me in the slightest...I'm a pretty open individual.)

Honestly, I can't think of any practical reason why I would want to change, as A)my tubes are tied and therefore it is a moot point and B) having children seems to be the main thing to ruin a woman's life.
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Postby The Idea on February 23rd, 2008, 10:32 pm 

Slacker wrote:Just out of curiousity....

What is your take on puppies, kittens, baby horses and the other small critters? What about baby monkeys?

Doesn't everything (living) live in a society?
Can't society be environmental as well? I have seen cats not take care of there kittens and the same with dogs.
What about certain types of reptiles that eat their own young?
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Postby Metis on February 24th, 2008, 6:20 am 

Komodo dragon young have to make a mad dash from the egg to a tree if they are going to survive, as the minute they hatch they have to run the gauntlet of adults – including their parents. This makes sense for an isolated island species inhabiting an area where it is the top predator but also an area with limited resources. Cannibalism ensures that only the best of the offspring survive. However, crocodilians are reptiles and so are birds – both being members of the Archosauria – and both groups nurture their young, as did some dinosaurs.

All mammals nurture the young for the word “mammal” denotes mammary glands. Humans are an altricial species – the infant will die without care. The reason that humans are born relatively undeveloped is because of our large brains and big heads, if the infant was much larger it simply couldn’t be born. Not everyone has a maternal instinct or a paternal one for that matter (though probably far fewer males have the attachment to their offspring that the females do). However, if it didn’t exist the species would die out.
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Postby newyear on February 24th, 2008, 7:51 pm 

LadySeverus wrote:I think that's a good point. I do love my animals and take very good care of them. As for changing, no not interested (though public discussion of the subject doesn't bother me in the slightest...I'm a pretty open individual.)

Honestly, I can't think of any practical reason why I would want to change, as A)my tubes are tied and therefore it is a moot point and B) having children seems to be the main thing to ruin a woman's life.


I won't change you. I believe that every person obtains everything they desire. You will, too. So your seeking help was an important step. The way you behave towards babies and the way you behave towards your own baby animals is what I thought it to be. Saying that we are all animals may help.

Anyway, as you so bravely said, that you are open minded, I would say that your problem evolved when you were young. Either because of real, or what you interpreted as real, ideas. Could it be that you thought you were not wanted, that you perceived you were a problem between your parents home life or work life? Sometimes nothing need be spoken about your position in the family, just body language is enough 'to get the message' across.

As you are interested in philosophy, it means that you have an open mind. One that is exploring ideas that are new to you. It's what I do. This attitude will help you with your baby problem by opening those doors you keep closed in your mind. You will learn that many women after giving birth regain their former shape and weight. You may also learn that being pregnant is something that will add to your personality, not subtract.

Probably most mothers, and fathers, were afraid of finding out that they were expecting a child, and afraid of the pregnancy. I was. This fact can affect some parents attitude towards their child once born.
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Postby mtbturtle on February 27th, 2008, 2:41 pm 

Couple of articles I found surfing around today that might interest some here on children and happiness...

http://reason.com/news/show/125163.html
Why are People Having Fewer Kids?

Perhaps it's because they don't like them very much.

Ronald Bailey | February 26, 2008

The "demographic winter" is coming. So warns a new documentary of the same name. What is the demographic winter? The phrase, according to the film's promotional materials, "denotes the worldwide decline in birthrates, also referred to as the 'birth dearth,' and what that portends." The first half of Demographic Winter was previewed at the conservative Heritage Foundation a couple of weeks ago. According the film, the demographic winter augurs little good, e.g., economic collapse and social deterioration. If current trends continue world population should begin a steep decline sometime around the middle of the 21st century. Why?
full article at link above

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 40,00.html

Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?

Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a sermon on self-sacrifice when she decided that her father, a widower who had raised six children, deserved his very own national holiday. Almost a century later, people all over the world spend the third Sunday in June honoring their fathers with ritual offerings of aftershave and neckties, which leads millions of fathers to have precisely the same thought at precisely the same moment: "My children," they think in unison, "make me happy."
full article at above link
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Postby Sisyphus on February 27th, 2008, 2:52 pm 

If it's at all possible in the future, I think I might like to clone myself and raise the clone.
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Postby Slacker on February 27th, 2008, 2:56 pm 

Sure Jenga....
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Postby Sisyphus on February 27th, 2008, 3:13 pm 

I think you mean Jango. Jenga is a game of wooden blocks.
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Postby Slacker on February 27th, 2008, 3:27 pm 

Well as long as you didn't miss my subtle wit.....
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Postby Sisyphus on February 27th, 2008, 3:41 pm 

I don't usually miss much if I'm paying attention.
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Postby newyear on February 27th, 2008, 6:18 pm 

mtbturtle wrote:Couple of articles I found surfing around today that might interest some here on children and happiness...

http://reason.com/news/show/125163.html
Why are People Having Fewer Kids?

Perhaps it's because they don't like them very much.


I think it's more to do with not being able to stop them before now. Contraception is fairly new. Now that children can be stopped from being born, it is obvious that the birth rate will decrease. Kids are expensive in any language.

The long term trend for this will probably continue to decrease. Clones will probably be needed for those jobs that robots find difficult, in the future, making children even less important for couples.
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Postby Phalcon on March 1st, 2008, 7:40 am 

The reason that birth rates are dropping around the world is that during the 20-th century they were simply unreal. It is only natural that they slow down and this trend will also stabilise in the future.
However countries with extremely low birth rates, like Europe, should be concerned, because they may find themselves economically disadvantaged in the future because of this.
In any case, I think avoiding a population explosion is a good thing. If previous trends continued the population of the world by the middle of the 21-st century would be about 30 billion, and with the food and energy consumed and waste produced per person, we would be in serious trouble.
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Postby raumgehll on March 2nd, 2008, 4:27 am 

LadySeverus wrote:B) having children seems to be the main thing to ruin a woman's life.


Would you mind explaining why you think so? Many women have kids and lead the life they want.
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Postby LadySeverus on March 5th, 2008, 9:19 pm 

raumgehll wrote:
LadySeverus wrote:B) having children seems to be the main thing to ruin a woman's life.


Would you mind explaining why you think so? Many women have kids and lead the life they want.


Because if you're going to be a parent, or rather a good parent, that requires an obvious sacrifice. You are going to have less money to spend on yourself, less time to spend on yourself, etc. Your children will factor into every decision you make. Your life is no longer your own. It now belongs mostly to your children, since you have to always put their own needs above yours.

How is your life ruined? Let me repeat some things I've been told by friends who have children.

-I can't have sex with my husband as often as I like. Either the kids are there or I'm too tired from dealing with them all day.
-I can't sleep as much as I need to, I'm too busy with the kids.
-I had a great body before I had children, now I have stretch marks, a looser vagina, and saggy breasts.
-I'd love to take that job but it would keep me away from my kids.
-I can't afford to buy x/y/z for myself because I have to spend that money on the kids.
-I'm always stressed from dealing with my kids.
-I need a better car/bigger house/new clothes/a medical procedure etc but can't afford it because of the money I spend on the kids.
-I'd love to join a social club/take up a hobby/travel/go out more etc but I can't because of the kids.


Sounds like a pretty ruined life to me. My mother says that if she'd known how much having a child would affect her life, she probably wouldn't have done it. My aunt had 3 children but gave them all away at birth and to this day is thrilled that she made that choice because she admits her life would have been far more mundane and boring had she been tied down to offspring.

Basically children decimate and destroy your life. Of course, parents talk themselves into believing their new lives are better because the alternative (that you've utterly ruined your life and there's no going back now) is incredibly depressing.
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Postby newyear on March 6th, 2008, 7:43 am 

Lady, I think that this post answers my second to last post, concerning you.

One's parents have a powerful influence on one's thinking, consciously and subconsciously. Sometimes one's parents influence their children in a positive way, and some don't. However, as one matures one may understand this, and time allowing, correct those points that were negative. I am the first to say that one's ego is supreme, and I cultivate it. In order to do this I do not harbour thoughts that are destructive, for the simple reason that they will damage my ego.

What you fail to see is that those women that have gained something (a child) and is perhaps more precious than not having one. If some women let their bodies degenerate, it is not because of having children, but the fact that they think that they do not have to find a mate. This can be observed by the fact that when women divorce, they usually get in shape again, buy new clothes, and in general get ready to find another mate.

I know a woman with six children. She's slim, in great physical shape, happy and is very interesting.

I have two children, now grown up, and I have to say that they are the most incredible things in my life. I can't talk for my wife, but I get the impression she would agree with me. She is also in great shape.

I have come to the conclusion that everyone gets what they want, sooner or later. The only difference with you is that your behaviour is caused by a conflict within your mind. One is that you know having children is natural for a woman, and one the other side you are stimulating an aversion to them in order to convince yourself that you are correct. Hence, your observation of how some women degenerate after having children. You don't observe those that are fine and in great shape and happy, and lead great lives.

I would suggest that you accept that your ego is fine, and that you are happy without children. There is absolutely no reason to dislike them, most of them are really funny when you observe them, just like your animals. Children do not pose a threat to you, and never will. But you can pose a threat to yourself by the way you think.
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Re: Maternal Instinct

Postby Pip on March 31st, 2008, 1:35 pm 

LadySeverus wrote:Do you believe that maternal instinct is something present in every human female? If a female seems to lack maternal instinct, do you believe that this is do to genetics, to the way she was raised or to some other outside force?

I find myself in this unique situation. I'm an only child from a very small family who was never significantly exposed to other children at a young age. My mother is not overly maternal, and her sister absolutely hates children.

I have despised children ever since I can remember. The timber of their squalling voices makes my head feel like it's exploding. The younger they are, the more extreme my negative reaction towards them. I truly hate babies and toddlers and refuse to be in their presence.

I spent about 6 months in therapy a few years ago because my "baby-phobia" had progressed to the point that I was actually making quite rude comments to strangers when their children wouldn't shut up. Usually something along the lines of, "You know, both abortion and babysitters are relatively inexpensive, and had you chosen either option I might actually be able to enjoy my veal right now..."

I have never, ever felt anything other than revulsion towards babies. The entire act of pregnancy is so disgusting...letting a parasite live inside you, eat your nutrients, and then having it burst forth from your nether regions? Then you have this little squalling, mewling, defecating, urinating, vomiting, mass that takes up all your time and money and effectively robs you of anything resembling "a life." Why any woman would consider this endeavor is completely beyond me.

When I was 23, I was sterilized via the Essure method. I know that I simply am not a human being who is capable of raising a child. Every time I see one, I have the urge to throw it against a wall.

So my basic question here is why do you think some women lack any sort of maternal instinct? I've met numerous other women, especially via online forums, who feel as I do, so I know that it's not simply a case of me being insane (and in fact, I had to pass a psych test to acquire the job I've been at for almost 5yrs.)


Is it normal for some women to not want children? Of course. Some women just don't want to have a child, but I would say that your problems are far deeper. The feelings that you are describing are not 'normal' and the way you have acted around people with children is positively vile! I cannot believe that people have bothered with intelligent answers to your post!

Thank God that you admit that you are not capable of being a mother with the degree of hate that you have expressed and the violence of wanting to throw a defenseless child against a wall. The fact that you even thought it, let alone manage to put it into type repels me! I thank you for having the foresight of being sterilised!

-I can't have sex with my husband as often as I like. Either the kids are there or I'm too tired from dealing with them all day.
-I can't sleep as much as I need to, I'm too busy with the kids.
-I had a great body before I had children, now I have stretch marks, a looser vagina, and saggy breasts.
-I'd love to take that job but it would keep me away from my kids.
-I can't afford to buy x/y/z for myself because I have to spend that money on the kids.
-I'm always stressed from dealing with my kids.
-I need a better car/bigger house/new clothes/a medical procedure etc but can't afford it because of the money I spend on the kids.
-I'd love to join a social club/take up a hobby/travel/go out more etc but I can't because of the kids.


I suspect my want to be a mother is the complete polar opposite to you. I have 2 beautiful daughters who my husband and I have brought up to be intelligent, respectful and individual. The way you nurture your children goes a long way to making the person they way are in adult life. I do wonder what the hell happened to you.

- I have a very healthy sex life, yes I do get tired BUT IT'S THE CHOICE WE MADE.
- I was fat before I had children and am still fat, but I feel sexier than ever and my husband tells me this everyday! I had caesarians so my vagina is just fine, and my boobs are wonderful despite breast feeding thanks.
-I work from 6-2 and my husband sorts the girls out in the morning.
-I can't afford things because I have a £160k mortgage, council tax, water bills, gas bill, electric bill...is that the children's fault?
-Wrong!
-Wrong!
-Wrong!

If this all all your friends can focus on to tell you about motherhood, then maybe they could tell you some of the good things too.

The first smile in the morning when the come to see you, when they bury themselves in you and tell you how much they love you...unconditionally! The smell of them when they cuddle up to you, the softness of their skin, the softeness of their hair. Their faces when they come home from school and tell you all the things they have been up to with such pride. The first time they achieve a milestone...how happy they are.....oh I could go on and on...

I am actually really offended by your degree of hate, and am annoyed that the boards have allowed the expression of violence to stay, and really quite aghast that no-one else picked up on it before.

I suggest you get more help, as the psych assessment and the therapy has obviously been fruitless!
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Postby LadySeverus on April 12th, 2008, 3:58 pm 

It's your choice to be offended by a stranger over the internet. I can''t say I understand why...I meet people who hate dogs but I don't take it personally, even though I happen to adore my own canines.

I am not going to censor my opinions (especially when explaining them fully is necessary to the question at hand) just to prevent people from taking offense.

You've every right to think having children is great and I've every right to think you're a loon for having that opinion, and vice versa of course.

Personally, I have very little respect for women who over-sentimentalize the act of child-raising. My mother never felt the need to make motherhood sound like some Lifetime Movie Channel Mother's day special.

She's always been honest with me..."Yes, I love you, but raising a child also had a very negative effect on my life."
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Postby Celestia on January 15th, 2009, 10:45 am 

I just came across this thread this morning. The issue isn't one of a maternal instinct but of parenting, mothering.

She's [my mother's] always been honest with me..."Yes, I love you, but raising a child also had a very negative effect on my life."


I'd say that this is the crux of the matter as presented in this thread. My guess is that over the years this sentiment wasn't quite conveyed in this mildest of forms. The message that the child hears is one of hate not love, and should this hate be communicated from the moment of birth, which can include neglect and/or various types of abuse, the hurt and damage can be insurmountable for some...

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Re: Maternal Instinct

Postby harmonious on August 8th, 2009, 6:38 am 

Sounds like a pretty ruined life to me. My mother says that if she'd known how much having a child would affect her life, she probably wouldn't have done it. My aunt had 3 children but gave them all away at birth and to this day is thrilled that she made that choice because she admits her life would have been far more mundane and boring had she been tied down to offspring.

Basically children decimate and destroy your life. Of course, parents talk themselves into believing their new lives are better because the alternative (that you've utterly ruined your life and there's no going back now) is incredibly depressing.


From reading the above, I gather that you may be slightly bitter about the reality that your mother with hindsight, probably wouldn't have had you had she known what she knows today about motherhood. You must have felt quite rejected when your mother said that to you. Coupled with your aunt giving away her 3 children. You've been in a family that's rather negative about motherhood, so it's not surprising that you feel the way you do. It's very negative to say 'basically children decimate and destroy your life', but that's what you've been exposed to.

Personally, I have very little respect for women who over-sentimentalize the act of child-raising. My mother never felt the need to make motherhood sound like some Lifetime Movie Channel Mother's day special.

She's always been honest with me..."Yes, I love you, but raising a child also had a very negative effect on my life."


Another clear case of rejection: 'I have very little respect for women who over-sentimentalize....' as your mother never felt the need to make motherhood sound like something you'd want to repeat. I think you feel a bit rejected, undervalued and your mother didn't make the effort to make you feel wanted. She said, 'I love you, BUT...' and you have taken this on board and it's really affected you.

Some thoughts to ponder LadySeverus
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Re: Maternal Instinct

Postby Kelisha* on October 2nd, 2009, 7:54 pm 

Absolutely not judging you, Lady Severus. It's a good thing for all involved that you can be truthful about yourself. Having children for the wrong reasons is every bit as important as not having children for the wrong reasons. Personally, I'm crazy about my kids. I've loved every moment of the process, from pregnancy up until now (one's 20, one's 17, and they show no signs of leaving home). And I'm extremely proud of the people they've turned out to be.

I hope your months in therapy have checked your tendancy to make rude comments to strangers who's kids won't shut up. I'm with you on that one. My kids were pretty well behaved, but there are some parents I wish I could just smack! But the kids tend to take after their parents and vice versa. They'd probably smack me back. But if therapy is your thing, and if knowing where your tendancies come from is important to you, I suggest you try another therapist.

If I were a Freudian, I'd say "try psychoanalysis, or dream interpretation." If I were a New Ager, I'd say "try past life regression." Who knows? Maybe something happened to you in your own childhood that you've repressed. Your use of such strong language as the following: "I have never, ever felt anything other than revulsion towards babies. The entire act of pregnancy is so disgusting...letting a parasite live inside you, eat your nutrients, and then having it burst forth from your nether regions? Then you have this little squalling, mewling, defecating, urinating, vomiting, mass that takes up all your time and money and effectively robs you of anything resembling 'a life,'" does suggest a certain abnormality that would concern me. It's such a physical description, it really hurts to read it. Once again, if I were a Freudian, I might look to your being locked into a developmental stage due to trauma. Were you born after 1963? Maybe you're the reincarnation of Sylvia Plath. Maybe your mother was frightened by a parasite when she carried you. Maybe it's biological/genetic. That seems as good an answer as any, seeing as your aunt has feelings similar to you.

While I won't judge you, I do take issue with your phrasing of your opinions. I'd be happier if your statements read like so: "(In my opinion,) children decimate and destroy your life." Because in my opinion they don't. My children have enriched my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm really not crazy about other people's children. Yuck!

Do you have a problem? Based on the above reasons, I believe so. It's not just a lack of maternal instinct. As I understand "maternal instinct," it's something that kicks in hormonally during pregnancy. Do you need to "fix" it or know the source of it? That depends upon how strong your urge is to "throw it against a wall" every time you see one. If you are serious when you say this, I'd urge you to find a good therapist. I recommend the book, "Human Emotions" by Carroll Ellis Izard. It defines a "Hostility Triad:" Anger, disgust and contempt. These are defined as emotions. It defines aggression as hostile activity, and if this is present alongside of the triad, you have something to worry about. Disgust is generally defined as an emotional reaction to the physical - things that disturb our senses: Human waste, infection, rotted food, etc. This kind of disgust is taught from parent to child. Perhaps this happened to you.

If, however, you have these impulses under control and you just hate babies, it's up to you what to do with these feelings. Don't worry about it. Motherhood can be described as bearing a relation like that of a mother, as in being the origin, source, or protector. Thus, loving animals as you do has given you your maternal instinct.

Good luck.
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