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The Joys of Motherhood

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Having children is like living in a frat house—nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. Ray Romano

Recently I’ve been thinking about motherhood.

Well, one because I am a mother and second because I’ve read an article about the joys of motherhood and how nothing compares to it. And…I’m not sure what exactly that means. I mean sure there are many joys but…anyway, I decided to test it. I mean sort of. I asked a few mums what they thought are the joys of motherhood. I don’t think they understood why or where I was coming from with these questions.

But I’m genuinely interested in demystifying this one.

See some mothers, or maybe most mothers think that having a baby means they are going to have someone in their lives that will love them unconditionally. I hate to break it to you if you are one of them, but children are the most selfish little things you’ll ever meet. They don’t love you unconditionally, they need you. And they do demand unconditional love though, and all your attention. Plus, they take all your strength, run your patience to the ground and play with your emotions like it’s a yo-yo. Believe me. It’s true. Ask any mother.

So, what are those joys? Well. I think we’ve been lied to. And at the same time, we haven’t. See, Mum’s rejoice in the small achievements of their babies, in their small feats such as a smile, a movement a wince or a sigh. They can’t find a way to explain and put into words what they feel or why they feel it, I believe that’s nature. Nature is about survival of the fittest. That’s what makes us competitive and comparative. That’s why we want our kids to have that higher grade at school and be at the top of the class and do well in sports and music and whatever else society says it will give them an edge or a push. But what exactly are the joys of motherhood? If I didn’t have a child, I would not have to worry about these things or work hard for my child to be able to have those achievements. I would certainly be investing my efforts and money in something else. Would that make me less joyful? Probably not. Well..Then, I am still none the wiser about the joys of motherhood. And how is it that nothing compares to it?

Someone said, “Well it’s personal and each person feels it differently and motherhood is very difficult and full of hardships but it’s the most enjoyable and fulfilling experience of my life because…well just the thought that I created these beings”. So much to unpack here.

Firstly, I’m not sure you can say that you created them but I’m not going to go into it. Let’s just leave it at that. Then, that’s it? You "created" some humans and that’s fulfilling and enjoyable? Ok. But what about adoptive mothers? They also feel fulfilment and enjoyment. They didn’t “create” their child. Nevertheless, the child is no less their child than if they had. They feel as proud of their achievements as any other mother. They feel their pain and their joy just as much also. Yeah, that’s not it either. Also, if it were then we would not have so many mothers abandon and neglect their children. Giving birth does not make you a mother. I’m sure of that. But that’s another blog altogether.

Anyway, I digress, … we are talking about the wonders of being a mother, the Joys of motherhood and the most rewarding experience of your life. Motherhood.

See, the point is…

There’s a phenomenon called Kindchenschema (Baby Schema), first observed by Ethologist Konrad Lorenz, that elicits the care taking reaction in humans when we see a baby. Any baby. It doesn't have to be our baby nor a baby we know or even a human baby.

This also prompts the brain rewarding experience side to activate. So, one feels a sense of reward just by looking at a baby. And that’s the same for men and women, mothers, and non-mothers alike. That could explain that “most rewarding experience” feeling. Certainly nothing to do with how much you love your child because the reaction is the same for any baby. In fact the reaction extends to non-human babies and some non-mammals, plus the level of response is linked to the amount of care that the baby needs. The more helpless a baby the higher the reaction level of cuteness reward and care giving. This may be the reason why we feel like we are so fulfilled and joyful for being a mother but cannot put it into words. It is simple biology. It is a survival mechanism. Baby schema induces cuteness perception and motivation for caretaking as well as activating the brains’ reward centre. Babies need caring and nature needed to ensure they would be cared for whether by their biological parents or anyone else if need be, hence the baby schema (‘Kindchenschema’) to warrant that babies are cared for at least until they are grown enough to care for themselves.

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