This was posted in one of my groups and I loved it, so here! I've made it a journal for you all to read :)
Whatever Happened to Mother?
by James Kimmel, Ph.D.
Every day lots of new babies are born. While they were growing inside their mothers, they were wonderfully cared for in the way that is natural for human beings. Each mother's body functioned for her baby, automatically responding to her baby's requirements. The mother didn't have to do anything to make this happen. She just had to take good care of herself.
People in different parts of the world take care of babies in different ways after they are born. For many babies birth is the end of having normal human mothering. This is particularly true for babies in our part of the world because we have made most mothers fake mothers. Fake is a funny word to describe mothers. Many people will think it is mean to say that about mothers, especially theirs. Others will think it isn't true. But a fake is a counterfeit and a fraud, and that's what most mothers are in our world. It is not totally their fault that they are fakes. The world they live in teaches them to fake being mothers; and since they also had fake mothers, they have no model of a real mother to copy. Maybe words like "fake", "counterfeit", and "fraud" are too harsh and critical sounding and maybe some mothers aren't like that. But the truth is that most mothers have become fake copies of what mothers were meant to be, whether they know it or not and whether we want to know it or not.
I'm sure that the people of a long, long time ago would agree with me that the mothers of today aren't anything like the first mothers. They would most likely think that today's mothers are crazy for sticking bottles filled with fake milk into their babies. Not because they would be unable to understand that this was a substitute for the real thing, but because it would seem crazy to do this when you had two good working breasts. But then again, since they were real smart, they would figure that either we had made a better kind of milk or that mothers weren't able to produce milk anymore. When they found out that neither is true, they would really think that people of today are crazy. I know that they would also get very upset when they saw mothers letting their babies cry and not picking them up. They might rush to the baby and pick him up and give him to the mother to hold because they thought the mother was deaf. When they learned that the mother was training the baby to not be excessively demanding they would not understand why this was important and would probably feel sad for the baby and the mother because they lived in such an unhappy world. I am sure they would get angry if they saw a mother hit a baby or young child. They might want to take the baby away from the mother so he could be cared for in the right way. But more likely, because of the way they were brought up, they would not impose their will on someone else. But they sure would think that the people of today are barbarians and are not good people because they hit their children and are too lazy to pick up their babies when they cry. They wouldn't know the words, but they would feel that children in our world are being cheated because they don't have real mothers. They would also think that the mothers they saw were frauds.
Fraud is a crime in our world; and even though our laws don't find anything wrong with the way most mothers now take care of their babies, it really is a crime, or at least a shame. The really sad and frightening thing is that most people don't even think there is anything wrong with the way we mother our children; it's normal. Not only do mothers think it's normal, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other child care experts think so too. It's understandable that formula companies would want bottle feeding to be the norm and that men wouldn't want women to be closer to babies than to them. After all, they have something to lose. But when the experts can't see that babies evolved to have real mothers, then we know that we are dealing with something bigger than profits or jealousy. I think that most everyone in our world has a blind spot in their brain when it comes to mothering. It is passed on through generations so that no one can know what they missed out on in childhood or be able to see what is lacking in our world or in themselves.
Perhaps a kinder word to use to describe the mothers of today is "caricature". You know, like when you go to a fair and there is an artist who draws a quick sketch of someone with there features exaggerated, and it sort of looks like the real person if you stretch your imagination. Well, the mothers of today look like real mothers, loaded down with all the equipment they need to take care of their baby, all hurried and frenzied and nervous-looking while they try to shop and keep their baby and older children from embarrassing them. You sort of want to help them because they seem to be having so much trouble. Harry Stack Sullivan, an American psychiatrist, once said something like, "Most of us grow up to be caricatures of what we might have been." Maybe today's mothers are just caricatures of the mothers they might have been.
But whatever you call them, they aren't real mothers. I don't want to delve into the next subject too deeply, but it is a good example of why it is so hard for mothers to be real mothers and how our world makes them into fake mothers. More and more babies are being born by cesarean section. Someone I know who works in a hospital maternity ward told me that this is because it is more convenient for the doctor, and it better protects physicians against law-suits. This may be so, and there may be other reasons; but at any rate, the increase in cesareans indicates that having a baby the way nature intended isn't a high priority in our world. There is little recognition or support given to the fact that the natural way of birth is a continuation of the collaboration between infant and mother prior to birth and prepares them to continue their unity in functioning after birth. Mother and baby are part of a process. Interference by outsiders changes the process. But since no value is placed on the unity of mother and baby after birth anyway, it makes no difference if both are actively removed from the process. We see birth as separating mother and infant, not as the beginning of a new stage in their union.
The standard hospital practice is to separate infant and mother immediately after birth; mother goes to her room and baby to the central nursery. The growing trend toward cesarean sections is in keeping with narcotized births; both eliminate real birth and the mother's role. The next step will be to eliminate mothers entirely by growing babies in artificial wombs. How much more convenient it will be for everyone. The message of modern technology and the medical society is that it's too difficult and painful to be a mother; it's too much responsibility. Trust technology and the doctor, not yourself or what's natural.
Most babies in our world are fed fake milk by fake teats. Even babies who start out nursing are given supplementary bottles, lessening the mother's commitment of herself to mothering. Formula in bottles obviously does work. Babies survive and grow even if they are not nursed on human milk. But why is this the preferred way? Is there something wrong with breast-feeding? Apparently, in our world, there is. Nursing requires the mother to be there for her baby. Nursing makes it rather clear that baby and mother are not physically separate. The fact that baby lives and grows on the milk of his mother means that the baby is still dependent on his mother for life and development. Nursing demands of the mother a greater commitment and responsibility than does bottle-feeding. Further, the mutual dependency, both physical and emotional, fostered by the nursing relationship bonds the baby and mother to each other. They continue as one.
In our world nursing is primarily seen as a way of providing an infant with food. Why should a mother be tied down when a baby can get food from a bottle or a jar, which anyone can give to the baby? Milk bottles, formula, and baby foods were not invented to provide babies with food that was better than mother's milk, but rather to allow mothers to not have to nurse. These products have made it possible for mother and baby to become separate from each other. Our inventiveness has made it possible for mothers to not be real mothers.
Breast-feeding evolved in humans, not only to provide babies with sustenance but, to insure the continuation of the attachment of infant and mother after birth. The fact that humans require a long period of nurturance from their mothers was as crucial as our large brains in determining human nature. We would grow and develop in relation to others - not as solitary, separate creatures.
In our world we do not see anything wrong in leaving an infant alone. Our society is based on the separateness of individuals rather than on their unity with each other. We do not see it as strange that infants are separated from their mothers the moment they are born or that they sleep alone in cribs and in their own rooms or that they drink from bottles and are seldom held. We do not find it unnatural for mothers to not be there for their babies and to work and to leave their babies in day care centers.
In addition, because we are alienated from our own need for nurturance, we can readily accept dogma and doctrines which view infants as insidiously wanting to control us. Why should a mother respond to her baby's crying if the baby is fed, clean, and not in pain? The baby has to learn that he can't control his mother; he can't get away with using his cry to manipulate her. Who is the boss anyway? Who is going to run the show, baby or mother? Don't feel guilty, Mom, if you don't respond to your baby's crying, if you try to break him of crying when he is going to sleep alone. Don't give in, don't go in the room. If the baby's crying bothers you, turn up the television set so you won't hear the crying. Don't be guilty; you're doing this for the baby. You're teaching him discipline. You're saving the baby from becoming spoiled, from being dependent. You're teaching him to live in the real world. Harden your heart, Mom. Kill those tender feelings, ignore the crying, become indifferent, pretend you don't hear it. Don't, under any circumstance, pick up the baby, or you will ruin everything, for yourself, for your husband, for everyone.
It works! Baby eventually learns not to cry, to go to sleep alone. Baby learns that there is no one there. Baby learns that his cry does not bring a caring response, that crying has no power. Baby learns to ignore his own feelings because they are ignored; his feelings are not made real. Mother learns too. She learns that life is easier for her if she does not feel what baby feels. She learns to control those human feelings which would lead her to respond to her baby with concern, to pick him up, to comfort him, to offer herself to her baby, to put him to her breast, to nurse him. She is one step closer to achieving the goals of American child rearing: that she and her baby are physically and emotionally separate, that they have different needs. She must win the struggle in order to preserve a way of life which requires, for its perpetuation, that every individual must learn that he is separate in the world.
Mother and infant have been physically separate since birth; bottle-feeding more firmly establishes this as a reality. By not responding to her infant's cry, by ignoring him, mother and baby become emotionally separate. The mother teaches her baby to be emotionally detached from the crying of others, to be unresponsive to another's need for a caring response. Her baby is learning to be a good citizen. So what if she is a fake mother, all the other mothers are fakes too. The kind of fakes their country needs.
Most fake mothers do not know that they are fakes. Our world looks upon them as real mothers, as if they are the only kind of mothers. That is why fake mothers believe they are really good mothers - because they are doing what all the other mothers are doing. Unlike real mothers who simply nurture and protect their children, fake mothers have a mission. They believe that it is the job of a mother to direct her children's behavior and development and that our infant care and child rearing methods, if followed, will produce normal, healthy, good citizens. If that isn't the result, it is never our methods which are at fault, but rather that the child is abnormal or that the mother and/or the father were abnormal parents. In such a system, it becomes impossible to see that our infant and child rearing methods and procedures, if they are rigidly followed, cannot help but produce abnormal human beings. The consequence of having fake mothers is that you produce children who become fake humans.
The task of the fake mother is different than that of the first mothers. The first mothers had it easy. All they had to do was take care of their children. Fake mothers have the awesome job of creating a person who will fit into an uncaring world. They are the representatives and surrogates of their country, their religion, and even God. They are the champions of morality and correct and proper behavior. They are modern day knights protecting and preserving the realm. Even if they do not choose this role, they will soon enough be reminded of it by their husbands, relatives, neighbors, and the educational system. They will be judged by how their children behave. Their role is not to nurture their children, but to domesticate them.
Fake mothers are not guided by the fact that they are biologically mammals, but by the voices of their own mothers and fathers, sometimes for real, and always by the parental voices in their heads. This is chiefly because the mother's own parents also laid claim to being representatives of the all-knowing authorities on the subject of how to live the right way in the world. The right way, although it usually has allowed the parents to survive with some success, has absolutely nothing to do with who babies and children are. It always involves imposing on children the necessity to give up their requirement for nurturance as soon as possible. This makes sense to those who have made it in a world which is anything but nurturing. But it makes absolutely no sense if you would like to have a happy child. If childhood is not valued in itself, but merely viewed as preparation for the future, then the development which is normal and natural to the human child cannot occur. By attempting to control the pace and direction of the maturation process, we merely interfere in and prevent its natural unfolding.
All the efforts to control and direct a child's future begin the moment mother and baby come home from the hospital. The fake mother is confronted by a human being who couldn't care less about his future; he is simply a creature who lives only in the moment and wants nothing more than to continuously be with that which keeps him alive and makes him feel good - his mother. The mother, driven by her need to preserve her separate identity and under the influence of her husband, relatives, and infant care experts, begins to treat her baby, not like a baby, but like something else. It is difficult to know what this something else is, but it has very little to do with who a baby is. The first mothers, having no choice but to be real mothers, perfectly fit who babies were. Nature had designed it that way. The fake mother, in choosing not to be a real mother, must change her baby to fit who she (the mother) is. She must make her baby become something other than a human baby.