Growing up, we are fed many ideals. Films, books, music and society have us believe that we will find a person who loves us deeply, settle down, have kids and live happily ever after. Of course, most of these illusions are dispelled at some point during our adulthood. We realise that relationships are often marred by unreachable expectations or insecurities or infidelity or any number of faults that affect us as human beings.

There is one ideal, however, that endures well into adulthood and, if you’re lucky, all the way to the grave. This ideal is that of the unconditional love that exists between a mother and her child. It is an idea that is largely common between all races, religions and nations across the world; your mother should love you unconditionally. This idea exists for a reason; many (most?) mothers DO love their children in an all-encompassing, unrivalled way. Parents bang on about how having children changed their lives and how if you don’t have kids, you “just don’t understand”.

This is all well and good but experience (both personal and secondary) has taught me that motherly love is not always unconditional. In fact, in many cases, it does not exist either at all or as strongly as it should. This is evident in the thousands of children who are abandoned or abused by their mothers every year across the world.This has led me to question whether the idea of unconditional motherly love is a fallacy. Maybe it isn’t inherent in every single woman. Maybe maternal instinct and that magical eternal bond doesn’t just happen. Maybe the overwhelming need to protect the child you first cradle in your arms isn’t felt by every woman and maybe, that’s okay. Perhaps it is society that has convinced women that it’s what they are meant to feel when they give birth to a child.

Maybe if we weren’t brought up with the notion that we will/should have everlasting, unconditional love from our mothers, there would be many more healthy adults walking around today. After all, as I say in Life, Love & Assimilation, don’t all our fears, insecurities, and fuckups stem from our parents; the fact that they just didn’t love us enough or smothered us too much? If we weren’t conditioned to believe that our parents should love us “just because” then we wouldn’t become screwed up when we find that they do not.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Well, actually, no, it doesn’t. As much as I want to make a case against maternal instinct and say that it’s a result of conditioning rather than nature, I am proved wrong by the mere fact that almost every species of living creature feels the need to protect its young.

I guess I’m just terrified of having children and not being there the way I know I should. I’m astounded that people can let down every single barrier they’ve built and give someone so much power to hurt them. Yes, terrified is the word.


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