Childfree Reflections

With Marcia Drut-Davis
April 5th, 2011 by Marcia Davis

Parental Instincts?

Many times during my life, I’ve wondered about why I never had any great desire to bear and mother my own child. Often, I felt there was something wrong with me. Why didn’t I have the so-called maternal instinct? I started questioning whether or not it was a real phenomenon. To me, an instinct is something you can’t change like blinking the eyes or protecting yourself from danger.

Now I ask is there any maternal instinct or is this something created by society to fit a pronatalistic society? If it’s real, why is there so much child abuse? If it’s real, why do so many women choose not to have children? Are they lacking an “instinct”?

I believe we are made to perpetuate humankind. However, if that choice is made, I would hope there is sufficient understanding regarding whether or not anyone is parent material or prepared to take on that awesome role. What do you think?




12 Responses to “Parental Instincts?”
  1. In my opinion, if there wasn’t an instinctual need to reproduce, our species would surely die out. Our society, however, has made us question our instincts…which isn’t necessarily bad… thoughts???

    • marciawp says

      I aggree that without our biological inclination for reproduction, our species would die out. Of course! However, my question is more about whether or not we learn or acquire that need to reproduce through our society’s expectations, our how we feel about being accepted as a “normal person”.
      I always felt an instinct was something inherently a part of us. If I chose not to reproduce, does that mean I never had that instinct? If a mother drives her kids into the water to kill them, has she lost that instinct?

    • TYVM you’ve sloevd all my problems

    • Okay I’m convinced. Let’s put it to atcoin.

  2. ElaineByTheBeach says

    I think that if child-bearing and child rearing were instinctive, childless women would either be adopting in droves or kidnapping children. No doubt that we are designed to reproduce, but unlike other species, we have the ability to exercise reason over urges and impulses.

    As a little kid in the 70’s, I received dual messages: toys and games designed for girls that almost always involved “mommy” role-play, and excellent TV shows such as Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, and the Bob Newhart Show, all shows that had either childfree female lead characters or as in the case of Maude a parenting lead character who got an abortion in the face of an unwanted pregnancy. I loved those shows because even if the storylines, etc. were above my head, they featured women with no kids, and that reassured me that I was not abnormal.

    Girls and young women today are bombarded with “Bump Watch” layouts in celebrity magazines, pregnancy reports, gushing testimonials from celebrities about the wonders of parenthood, and not to mention that tired saw of “You can have it all!” Even mothers can’t catch a break, because they get flooded with “Supermom” messages from most media outlets and from their friends. There are few, if any, TV shows with childfree characters, and if there are, they are presented as shallow and materialistic. For those who lack a strong sense of self or those who deny their urge to NOT reproduce out of fear of marginalization, the drive to conform to these messages can indeed feel like instinct. It’s one of those “nature or nuture?” questions to be sure! =)

    A friend of mine from several years back admitted to me that while she loved her kids, she would have rather have not had them. She only had them because both her parents and in-laws in her very traditional family intimated she was probably a Lesbian if she didn’t want kids, and that her husband would leave her if she didn’t “give him children.”

    Where does instinct leave off and where does relentless, overbearing pressure come in? How many girls and women are going to ignore their true wishes and cave into these ugly pressures at the expense of the kids they didn’t want in the first place?

  3. Enjoyed looking at this, very good stuff, thanks . “Be not careless in deeds, nor confused in words, nor rambling in thought.” by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

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