Links of the site are right at the bottom of the page)
The 36 pages in this Sacred Feminine & Sacred Masculine
section are below.
I realized today that there isn't
a post specifically for Maternal Instinct in the Sacred Feminine.
It seems so obvious we all overlooked it in our discussions?
Cinn suggested a question, to get the topic rolling along: "
Can you share an experience where maternal instinct came into
play and what happened as a result?" I think it's a good
place to start.
is very "every day," but I've been thinking about
that moment for a week now. I didn't see it as maternal instinct,
but it was. Last weekend the family went skiing. My oldest daughter
is 12. She is very petite and whisper thin. She and I were skiing
down an intermediate run. She is a strong skier so this run
was easy for her. I stood on top of the slope watching her form
as she skied down the hill. She was doing fine so I started
to ski down. I wasn't watching her anymore and when I looked
up I realized that I just missed one big collision - I could
sense it; as a skier you just know those things.
The down skier
was my daughter. There was a tall man standing next to her uphill
from her and a larger man sitting downhill kneeling with a snowboard
still attached to his boots. I skied to my daughter and placed
myself between her and the snowboarder. I asked myself why I
did that instinctually as I sized up the situation, and it was
clear that was the best position to put myself between these
people as the snowboarder collided with her and the man standing
uphill to her was protecting her and lecturing the snowboarder
about how he was out of control. When I stopped, the man was
reading the snowboarder the riot act - and I was glad he did.
My daughter took
a very painful fall, her skies were uphill 15 feet from her,
and she was stunned and very scared. The snowboarder, much to
my chagrin was in his 30s - he knows better than that! He said
nothing. He was mute. He just took the verbal chastising from
the man. I commented that I didn't see what happened, and asked
what happened. The man didn't say anything (yes, the 30 year
old snowboarder was a man too, but I struggle to call him a
man because he was so immature and selfish - the standard of
today, I'm afraid). The boarder then sounded off as if one in
authority and said "right here, you're looking at someone
who saw it all" as if mister smartypants finally had a
platform on which to speak in his defense. I didn't give him
the chance, and without missing a beat, I said to the snowboarder,
"oh, so you saw her coming down the hill and intentionally
hit her?" I was stinging and unapologetic. I felt all my
mother power harnessing within me.
that came out of my mouth I thought perhaps I shouldn't have
said that. But, I didn't take it back. Needless to say the snowboarder
was utterly speechless. Instead, I realized this was a teaching
moment for my daughter, the snowboarder and myself too. I paused,
assessed my daughter and then turned to the snowboarder and
said, "The least you could do is apologize." The result?
The snowboarder was stumbling all over himself and his words,
apologizing in full sentence after full sentence and into a
full paragraph, specifically identifying what he did wrong,
he should have been in control, that he should have given my
daughter more space (she had the right-of-way), and that he
was going too fast. I asked my daughter if she heard that; she
did. I thanked him. Well, he kept on apologizing.
My daughter pulled
herself together well and her courage came back. The snowboarder?
Well, I hope he slowed down and tried to keep himself in control
before he really took someone out and injured their spine, and
hopefully he learned a little bit more about interacting with
people respectfully (but who knows about that part).
been thinking about this for a few days. Right off the bat,
I really wasn't sure there was such a thing as maternal instinct
for us humans. I'm still not totally sure. If you define instinct
scientifically every human female has to have that instinct...I'm
not sure that's so. But, then again, allowing for genetic, psychological
and hormonal anomalies and cultural influence, it may be so,
but buried or skewed in some.
then....I remembered when my daughter got hit by a car. She
was 9 or 10 at the time. I was working out at my friend's exercise
shop and my daughter and my friend's daughter, who themselves
were (and still are) best friends took off across the street
to get sodas and snacks at a gas station there. They no sooner
stepped out the door and there was a downpour. One of those
that pummel you almost to the ground. They were almost across
the street, having checked both ways, of course, when a car
came around the corner and didn't see them. My daughter's friend
had made it across, but the car winged Sar. I hadn't seen this
as I was working out, so when Sar's friend came running into
the shop yelling "Sarah's been hit by a car!" I leapt
off the Nautilus machine I was on and ran out the door in my
stocking feet. The seconds it took me to get to her side were
the longest in my life.
were gathering around her as she lay on the ground, but I pushed
my way through and hovered over her checking her out. It poured.
She was confused and wanted to get up, but I wouldn't let her.
I hovered, protecting her from people and the rain as best I
could, calming and soothing. Someone had called 911 and we heard
the ambulance pulling up. I remained so glued to her. I can't
tell you... She was extremely lucky to come away with bruises
and a slight concussion.
we took her home from hospital I made a real pest of myself
asking the doctors and nurses if they were absolutely sure she
was okay. I was normally calm and very intentional dealing with
medical professionals. But I was not my usual rational self.
I had to know and be sure she was reeeally okay.
that instant...that moment that I heard that she had been hit
by a car....it was like a switch went on inside me someplace.
I did and said things that I know I normally would not have.
I was super-protection-mama and you'd better take care of my
baby right if you know what's best for you! Trumpeter Swan protecting
her precious one. So. I don't know.
oldest was a tiny newborn, about ten days old, I went for my
first journey outside since the birth. A short stroll, around
the corner to the mailbox, and to the corner store for a little
snack. Just to get out, to get some movement after being fogged
in (emotionally, physically, meteorologically) for 10 days.
The baby was sound asleep in the bedroom, my mother was in the
house, and she was vacuum cleaning in the living room.
While I was out,
the baby apparently woke up and started waking and whimpering,
but my mother didn't hear it over the sound of the vacuum cleaner.
But her breasts felt as though they were filling with milk (a
'let-down' sensation, common to nursing mothers, triggered by
the release of oxytocin). When that happened, she knew the baby
had woken up. She switched off the vacuum cleaner, and sure
enough, the baby was awake. Not crying loudly, but that quiet
whimper sound that babies make when they start to wonder where
It is quite common
in war and disaster areas that women start lactating even though
they don't have a nursing baby, if they are in an environment
where there is a young child. My family, who lived in an occupied
country during WWII has plenty of experience with that; aunts
(childless ones too) who started lactating when food was very
scarce during harsh winters.
Many women also
have let-downs when a non-familiar baby cries in a public space.
Many women, even if they don't have let-downs, also state they
have a strong urge to take the baby and hold/touch it when it
cries or otherwise indicates distress. Even if the mother is
right there and responding with milk or touch.
can be an extremely visceral reaction, even to women who don't
have children (women who haven't physically birthed a child
or experienced pregnancy). I also don't believe that maternal
instinct is stronger for a mother's own child - but instead
that maternal instinct is the instinct a woman has for children,
whether they are her own or not.
I had one experience
stand out in particular. When my son was about 8 weeks old,
from one moment to the next he started to scream. In a way I
hadn't heard him scream ever before. Even though my mother was
there, my husband was there... nobody was good enough for my
baby. I needed to be with him, until he stopped screaming and
the source of the screaming had been found.
26 hours later
we found the source. He was allergic to the gel in diapers,
and had blisters *inside* his rectum. Each strain on his rectum
burned like crazy. But for those 26 hours, I didn't leave his
side, I maintained physical contact with him at all time (that
was a visceral need to touch him, not a belief or anything that
I should hold/touch him), my body didn't need to eliminate and
I didn't sense any hunger or thirst. Thankfully I had my mother
to have the maternal instinct to ensure that my body was cared
for while I cared for my own child.
~I'd forgotten about that let-down reaction. I haven't been
around babies much in many, many years. But I remember having
that reaction once when I was working at a children's bookstore
and there was a tiny infant in the store bawling like crazy.
Its mother plopped everything down on the floor in an aisle
in the middle of Legos, Brio and magic kits to nurse it. Yup.
Visceral is the word and my body reacted immediately. And definitely
touch, yes. I can still feel little arms around my neck and
cheeks against mine from time to time and the feeling I get
is centered deep within me. Oh, and smell can be a great stimulus.
How many people have you heard go on about how good a baby smells?
This definitely works for men, too. Something about that baby
pheromone stimulates us to protection. Sun-warmed child does
it for me, too.
I think I agree mostly
with Mouse, except for one reservation - you cannot expect a
girl to feel like a mother, regardless of species. I had a friend
who bred dogs. Her one little dog was the perfect mother. She'd
even take in the pups and kittens from other females. A neighboring
family had a young German shepherd who fell pregnant far too
young, before her owners even realized she was old enough for
"such things", being a rather dog-ignorant first time
owners. Anyway... the shepherd was barely a teenager and her
reaction to her pups was horror. She gave birth and ran. She
would not go near the pups. The dog breeder's dog actually dug
under the wall to get the puppies herself. She was already lactating
and feeding them when they found her... with her HUGE foster
babies. She was a little bitty Maltese. I've seen other animals
react like that and all of them (one horse, another dog and
a cat) were very young when they had their first babies. I wonder
if there's a lesson there for our modern society dilemma of
Mouse, I really liked this because
it echoed my own feelings and thoughts: Maternal instinct
can be an extremely visceral reaction, even to women who don't
have children (women who haven't physically birthed a child
or experienced pregnancy). And: WI also don't believe
that maternal instinct is stronger for a mother's own child
- but instead that maternal instinct is the instinct a woman
has for children, whether they are her own or not.
It's only very recently (last two
months) that I've realized how excessively maternal I've been
in my life. When I was in my 20s I did suspect I was a naturally
maternal type, but when I voiced such thoughts to friends/family
the reaction was either amusement or a certain outraged, "You?
You're single - what would you know about maternal feelings?"
So I found ways to excuse myself to myself. Mostly denial and
blocking it. It's taken me another 20 years to take that all
out of the locked box inside me to deal with. I relate very
strongly to several of the stories told here, but the children
involved weren't mine by birth. Looking back... most of the
time my strong protective maternal reactions brought me more
heartache and trouble than anything else.
I do remember the moment I locked
it all up and buried it. When my cousin fell and had concussion
I was the one who held her all the way to the hospital. I was
the one she threw up over and who had to keep her awake. I was
the one who helped the nurses get her cleaned up and into a
bed... until they realized I wasn't her mom and turfed me out
the ward because I wasn't "close family." That was
the day I realized I needed to stop loving other people's kids.
I was 28. I tried my best to squash it down, but I now realize
it just oozed out in other ways. I tend to mother my own mother
and I also tend to mother my friends. (It drives my mom and
some friends crazy.. I'm working hard to stop doing it) I don't,
thank goodness, mother my spouse, but then he has strong maternal
instincts himself and tends to mother me!
Which leads me to Swan's last comment
- yes, it works for men too. My husband goes weak around babies
and small critters of any species. He's highly protective and
also incredibly gentle. It's one of the things that drew me
to him - how wonderful he is with kids of all species.
love what has been written so far. Couple of things that ran
through my mind. Not all animal mothers have maternal instincts,
thus the number of adoptive parents in shelters and zoos...
I'd have to look back through Jane Goodall's stuff to see if
there weren't also examples in the wild. And...maternal instincts
in my mind aren't just limited to children, although that is
a universal draw. I find my maternal instincts being triggered
by my parents now, as they become less like the parents I knew,
and confused more and more often. I find that I'm looking out
for them. And part of the maternal instinct isn't just about
protection, it is also about letting go at the appropriate times...
So I find I'm now dancing the dance in reverse. I think maternal
can come out for anything we believe needs protection, care,
Wynn, Good point about
mothering being an instinct that draws us to care for anyone
of any age who needs mothering.
Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.)
All rights reserved.
constructed by Dragonfly