Thursday, July 9, 2009

Motherly Instinct

Being young, in college, and quite independent, settling down and starting a family is not on my list of top priorities. Just the thought of having babies ever gives me the creeps. I've always heard about that "motherly instinct" that women are supposed to have, but I don't think I've got it. In fact, I like to keep a good distance between me and anyone who is under the age of 8.

So what is this "motherly instinct" and why don't I have it? I've talked to other women my age and many of them say that they want to have kids, lots of them in fact. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to have babies, the thing that I do not understand is why don't I want to also. Aren't I supposed to?

Curious about figuring out what and where this "mother instinct" comes from, I stumbled upon a possible clue. The fosB gene is a kind of regulatory switch that has been found to be a crucial player in types of behavioral long-lasting changes, like the ability to nurture the young.

A study done on mice back in 1996 found that when this gene was missing in female mice, they showed no interest in their babies. While humans also posses the fosB gene, it was not certain at the time of the study if it plays any role in prompting women to nurture their young as well.

So maybe the lack of this gene is the answer that I have been looking for, or maybe it is something else? I think the biggest question might be, why is there this pressure on women to have babies when they reach a certain age? Who says that women have to first off reproduce and secondly must do it at a certain age?

There are many alternatives to having babies and being "nurture", such as adoption, being a foster parent, or just not dealing with children at all. I do not see anything wrong with any of these options. It should be up to each individual person as to whether they want to procreate or not, not some set of social standards.

Photo courtesy of D.A.K. Photography on Flikr


The Daily Howl said...

Kudos on this great post. I often feel like I'm the only one who doesn't want kids and I've gotten in big trouble with my sister for not being ooey-gooey over my nephews, especially when it comes to feeding, bathing and changing diapers.

Danine Spencer

Laura said...

That is really fascinating! Thank you for writing this!

ks said...

For so many years i have wondered what is wrong with me. I often feel like I must be the only woman on this planet with this experience. I never wanted kids but at 18 i became pregnant and a mother. Trust me i was in big need of directions on how and what to do with this little life. I begged the doctor to please just put it back. My son is now 26 years old. He is an only child. I am 44 and the first to admit i still don't know how or have what it takes to be a mother. I believe i am lacking some kind of nurturing jean of some sort. This has been very hard for me. In fact its a horrifying experience. I have so much guilt and feel he deserved a loving mother. I know that I am the root to his drinking problem. That breaks my heart. Could somebody please help me understand what is wrong with me.