Without modern civilization, attachment parenting methods such as baby wearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and constant adult interaction would be the norm. As society changed from hunter-gathering, it manufactured motherhood and the maternal instinct to protect and nurture babies diminished. Restoring the maternal instinct will change the world for the better and can be accomplished by returning to a nature-based lifestyle.
The disregard of the maternal instinct has occurred over many generations and has many factors, but changes in child birth were major contributors. Birth used to be considered a natural process that occurred with support from other women who upheld the mother. When birth moved to the hospital, it became treated as an illness needing management, and mothers began feeling bullied and scorned by medical professionals.
Doctors started giving women drugs during birth that caused their bodies to make less endorphins (which bond mother to baby), and they removed babies from their mothers instead of allowing the two to bond. These actions created a disconnect between mother and child and also made breastfeeding more difficult. Furthermore, bad birth experiences increase the likeliness of postpartum depression and post traumatic stress which make it harder to parent and can cause more disconnect.
In modern society, a mother is forced to leave the beautiful being that her body just created and birthed in order to work and pay someone else to raise her child. Working has allowed women to provide for themselves and their families, and made women less susceptible to being controlled and abused. But, working has separated mothers and children, and time the mother spends away from her baby weakens the bond between them and the maternal instinct. Removing mothers from their babies is so normalized that some women choose to work instead of staying with their babies while women who choose to stay home with their children are often regarded as lazy.
Parenting advice became institutionalized. Mothers tuned down their instincts to protect and nurture to follow “expert” advice that consisted of what best allowed parents to work and live their own lives rather than what was best for their children. Such advice told mothers to leave their children, let their babies cry, formula feed, put their babies in separate rooms, and to cut their son’s genitals.
A few generations of these practices caused them to be the norm. Now, few older women know what a natural child birth is like, and many view things like baby-wearing and co-sleeping as weird and dangerous. Instead of aunts, grandmas and mothers helping new mothers and encouraging breastfeeding, they keep the baby from the mother and thereby discourage it.
Natural patenting methods and a strong maternal instinct are present in hunter-gatherer societies, but are lacking in modern society where people are removed from nature and each other. In hunter-gatherer communities, money as we know it is not a factor and people live in communities in which they are supported in pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. In such societies, babies are kept close to their mothers and are constantly witnessing adult interactions and interacting with adults and children of all ages.
Expecting women to obtain financial resources while raising their child undermines the maternal instinct. The government gives families resources in the form of subsidized housing and food stamps, but these resources perpetuate a broken system and are not enough to keep mothers and babies united. The resources mothers need to raise their children are land (to provide food and shelter) and tribal community (also known as “the village”).
The village needs to be restored by parents, not government. The government wants to tell parents how to parent, and they do not want parenting done by natural and instinctual means. The maternal instinct is not good for government as it is that which breeds independence and begs children not to join the military or do drugs. The government endorses day cares and regulations that restrict the maternal instinct from pregnancy forward.
Women need to do their best to build their tribe by finding people who agree with their birth and parental decisions, starting with the man that they conceive with. Women may have to build new families to escape old, career-driven parental advice. Many older women may be offend when younger women want to do things differently than they have done, but a child’s well being and their maternal bond should not be sacrificed for any person or government.
Society is becoming more artificial and moving farther from love. The return of the maternal instinct will normalize love, nurturing, caring, and health. The return to nature will bring a community where people can once again live together and trust their neighbors. Surely there is more to blame the ills of society on than mothers, but as a mother, I see the loss of nature and the maternal instinct as a pressing problem that would change the world for the better if addressed.