The nature of Motherhood

05 February 2011

I've been thinking a lot about this, the nature of motherhood. I think it started with reading the article and researching "Practice Babies." This idea that an orphaned child - already without the sole protector of a devoted mother - could be raised, scientifically, in a lab called an apartment, by a gaggle of mother-student apprentices. The story stayed in my head for weeks and I struggled with the question of what really defines a mother, a parent, a guardian. And if one could practice, study, be graded on the art of mothering... well, there's a lot to ponder there. Is Motherhood a scientific process? Or is it an art? Is it intrinsic, or can it be learned? Can one be a good mother without mastering motherhood? Or can one master motherhood and fail at mothering? Can one be a good mother... without really knowing what she's doing?

Then the story this week of a mother who murdered her teenage children. A clearly deranged woman, raising her children while her husband is overseas, taking a gun and shooting them in the head. I read this story thinking, "How does this happen? How does a woman give birth, nurture them from babies to toddlers to school-aged to on the cusp of adulthood, and then destroy them?" What on earth happened to that woman? Did the insides of her soul break free from her heart? Is she possessed? What kind of evil burrowed itself into her psyche? I'm just without a single easy answer... the fact that this happens at all in the world, the idea that a mother could kill her own children which she bore out of herself, killing that very part of herself... it leaves me distraught.

When I had my first child, I thought motherhood to be the purest form of love. I think it still is. But I see that somewhere, somehow, it can become perverted by evil, just like anything else.

I think, at the end of these questions and fears, I can only ask, "What can I do, how can I love my children, and fight against this evil?" That's the only question with an answer, anyway.

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