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  1. #1
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    Default On being maternal

    I love babies and am very maternal...Even when I was a little girl I had a collection of dolls who I wished were real live babies. But this doesn't mean that I'm some traditional throw back to the 1950s. I'm also great at reading maps, have an aptitude for logic and am pretty strong and athletic and work part time. I also don't have a problem speaking the truth or standing up for myself.

    But there is something I've noticed among a great majority of women today is that none of them will admit to any maternal instinct. It's as if having a maternal drive makes you weak or <gasp> old fashioned, unambitious, etc. I've always been a bit of a rebel and so I don't care..I love taking care of my baby (he's my third) and I'm not going to complain about it because I really do enjoy it. But I haven't seen almost any other women like me...The ones who haven't had kids say they have no maternal instinct and the ones who have kids like to talk about how they make poor homemakers too. It's all very strange! Is it really all that awful? And yet they seem to really like taking care of their dogs and cats...

    I wonder if the feminist movement of the seventies has screwed us all up. It really is okay to like babies...It seems like the only people who allow themselves to admit that they like kids are men because they don't have to prove to people that they are tough and career oriented. It's just a given.

  2. #2
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    There is a book called "The Culture of Narcissism" by Christopher Lasch that you might be interested in reading. Can't speak on maternal instinct since I'm an outtie, but I am paternal.

  3. #3
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    Actually, I'd love to have a baby, honestly (my kids are teens now)... but at the same time I'm aware of how that will limit my daily life and I'm not sure I can handle that. I just really enjoy nurturing people, although I like to do that more on a psychological and intellectual level; and I enjoy watching them developing and what that teaches me about how people work, it's very much a learning experience as well as an investment. At this point, I would probably just choose to invest in young people and kids who need guidance and insight and encouragement.

    I think dogs and cats are a great investment for people who want to have some sort of companionship in life but don't want to take responsibility for something as huge as raising a child. Animals pretty much raise themselves and there aren't a lot of morally ambiguous issues to work through, nor do they really bite into your personal autonomy, and people don't judge you for how you raise your pet. ("You know, you've been dropping them off at the kennel on a lot of weekends now, maybe you should spend more quality time with them.")

    Women are a diverse group of human beings. There are some biological instincts there that push females towards nurturance, but all to various degrees and frankly some just won't be into it nor suited for it. Others will be immensely suited for it.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  4. #4
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how this figures in, but I'm not at ease around babies, and have struggled to join in with the maternal social interactions over babies, but I love children and work well with them.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    I'm one of the women you're referring to. Although I do not judge the homemakers or mothers, in fact I admire them greatly for what they do and the unique bond they share with their children, I cannot identify with it. On occasion, I get called maternal, and it utterly confuses me as the prospect of being a mother or being that wise, that responsible, having to be that reliable, and that stuck in a routine scares the shit out of me. Even the idea of people viewing me as maternal, scares me. It means I'm likely to disappoint them as their expectations are not what I'm able to deliver.
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  6. #6
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    More than meeting any women who I feel actually frown upon being/feeling maternal, I've met more that seem to feel a certain self-consciousness about talking about it in fear of coming off too 'sappy' or 'melodramatic'. I might have a skewed perception, but sometimes it seems like talking too much about the joys of maternity is equated with being 'uncool' or some kind of hippie.

    I haven't had children yet but I want them, I feel very strong maternal instincts and feelings. When holding a baby it's just this incredible feeling of warmth, like if I had a child there is nothing I wouldn't change about myself to bring the child calm and security, nothing I wouldn't do to protect and nurture. I have met women who don't seem to relate to this, or see feelings like that as an unhealthy thing that might result in a child being too mollycoddled. To be fair though, I've also met women who consider those sorts of feelings and thoughts to be so utterly intimate with their child that for them it's a very private matter which I respect.

    I do think there are some women who would just prefer careers, travel, etc. over children. I know a girl who is 25 and pursuing a masters degree. She has decided that she will not have children and she has no conflict about it. She wants to do a lot of government work, philanthropy, and work on global poverty issues. This is her basis for personal fulfillment. She has had to defend herself sometimes against those who judge her about foregoing children, but to her it would be the wrong choice to HAVE them. She's not interested in raising children in a singular family unit, she would prefer to help people of all ages for as long as she can, that sort of thing. I think she has a certain maternal instinct but not for a child of her own, if that makes sense.

    I think there are some women who struggle greatly with their desire to succeed at whatever path of aspiration they have while trying to balance the desire for children (the pressure of the clock ticking after awhile!). I don't think it's so much that they are cold women with no maternal instinct, I think perhaps it can just be a genuine struggle to figure out how to achieve everything they want while still being able to do it all well.

    I do think sometimes that there is really unfair flak thrown at some women who truly just desire nothing more than to be mothers to children, take care of their home, and dedicate themselves to family. I think some women approach them like they must have been oppressed with some backward family dynamic and just don't UNDERSTAND that they have OTHER choices. The whole "Don't you understand how much MORE you could be??" thing, talking as if choosing to be a wife and mother is somehow "less". I think it's condescending and very unfair. The whole point about the liberation of women was supposed to be 'freedom of choice', which means choosing what you WANT whatever it might be. If a woman wants and chooses a life at home & hearth, I don't particularly think she should be told she's SUPPOSED to choose from all these other great options that have opened up since the 50s, you know?

    For a lot women the whole 'baby' thing is just not for them and they don't feel inclined toward it, and maybe from their POV they just don't understand WHY it's so attractive for so many other women. I can respect that POV as long as the woman in question doesn't sit there crapping on it if another woman does feel those maternal instincts and wants that for herself.
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  7. #7
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    When I was younger I was captivated by babies/small kids, but kept reserved out of fear of them illustrating how incompetent and unadaptive I could be until I gained skills. Now that I'm older with more experience dealing with them, I'm outwardly because they aren't a trigger for my incompetence insecurities. I remember babysitting for a really cool ISxP neighbour who was a nurse; I was so careful but lacking smooth graces with her baby, and before she left said that it's always infinitely easier to babysit when the parents have left because then you can relax and focus on adapting to the child. I took that to heart and tried hard to learn how to deal with babies after that.
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  8. #8
    Nickle Iron Silicone Charmed Justice's Avatar
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    I have taken on the full responsibility of caring for a friend's child(from babyhood through preschool), and also staying at home and raising my own biological child.

    Mothering and homemaking are not for every woman. I don't think there is anything wrong with any given woman not enjoying the responsibility of care taking. For all of its joys, parenting is indeed stressful, tedious, and it frequently takes a negative toll on the relationship between the husband and wife. I don't think there's anything wrong with not liking babies either, just so long as you don't have any. IMO, being a woman doesn't automatically mean one should been maternal.

    Also, I played with dirt, bugs, and boys as kid. I absolutely abhorred Barbies, the colors pink and purple, flowers, and especially dresses.

  9. #9
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnFpFer View Post
    I don't think there's anything wrong with not liking babies either, just so long as you don't have any.
    A lot of women say they dislike babies, but many of whom I've asked further out of interest report that they have only experienced babies from afar. I think it has to do with a lot of smaller families/people moving cities for jobs leading to less intergenerational contact. While I'd never assert that all women should be maternal, I think that some people have just never had the chance to bond one-on-one with a baby or teach a small child something really simple. When you only see them from afar it's easy to think it's not for you, when maybe it's not always the case.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  10. #10
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    I don't have the maternal instinct, but grew up in a community/environment where you were expected to want them, to want to babysit once you turned 12, to want to get married and have babies. It's not the feminist movement that made me feel otherwise. Though I would like to be recognized for my own accomplishments and not just as someone's mother.

    I like kids on a case-by-case basis. I like playing with them, but I just act like a kid, too. I have never thought to myself, "Gosh, I wish I had a baby of my own." I always wanted pets, though.

    If I married someone that wanted a kid, I might change my mind--who knows? I think I'd probably be a good mother. But I really have never had the maternal instinct, nor the biological clock thing.
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