The idea of maternal instinct is rooted in animal history. Researchers believe maternal instinct was born because maternity cannot be questioned, but paternity is always up for debate. In the animal world, fathers are more apt to go in hunt of another female to ensure the continuation of his bloodline than sit around tending to a child he cannot prove is his. The mother, on the other hand, is not in question so she is the one who stays behind to care for children. Is this the same animal or basic instinct that drives human maternal instinct, or do humans learn maternal instinct?
Human Maternal Instinct – Learned or Driven?
There are experts who believe maternal instinct is not a genetic, basic drive at all, but rather a learned behavior developed during pregnancy and infancy via hormonal changes and close bonding. Brain wave testing suggests some hardwiring is there – mothers tend to react to baby’s cries with activation of the emotional center of the brain whereas fathers react with more logical, thinking areas of the brain- but this reaction may not be associated with that basic animalistic drive at all. The reaction could be rooted in the different means of bonding between the mother/child pairing and father/child pairing.
What Do You Believe?
I know there was a strong need to have children somewhere in my soul from the time I was 16. I knew I wanted to have children. After my first child that feeling remained as it did after my second. When I gave birth to my third/fourth (twins) the feeling was gone. I had no desire to have more children despite the fact that my desire had been so strong after previous pregnancies. Is desire to have children linked to maternal instinct? Do some women have a stronger instinct toward motherhood than others? Researchers believe commitment to motherhood is the driving force of maternal instinct – not basic drive or genetics. What do you believe?