Maternal instinct: what it is and how to develop it

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Catherine Le Nevez
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It seems to be something indefinite and innate, given to the best, and the wise implication is that those who do not have it are not a perfect mother. But what is this really maternal instinct of which so much rhetoric does he speak? And how do you get it to come? We got help from Manuela Genchi, Helping Mama's family psychologist and psychotherapist, to help untie these knots.


"To understand what is maternal instinct, I would like you to visualize some mammalian images: we close our eyes and see a tiger defending its cubs from danger, or a cat licking its kittens, or a swallow that teaches its young flight techniques. These are just some examples that can be done by taking a cue from the animal world. This is because instinct is something in the female mammal primordial, and we women are also this: care is expressed in a natural and innate way. The culture in which we are immersed, the models we have around us, however, can influence and guide instinct and vice versa. This is why we sometimes ask ourselves if we can ever have thematernal instinct oppure no ».

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When l 'maternal instinct does it develop in a woman? “This depends on her culture and life experiences. Think of a woman who becomes pregnant after a miscarriage: it may be that this experience affects instinct. Until the fear of a new abortion subsides, it is possible that the future new mother is keeping her instinct to care for her a little bit silent. "

One of the biggest fears of a new mother is hugging her baby for the first time and realizing that she doesn't have maternal instinct. But is it a well-founded fear? “No, the instinct is there but maybe the expectation of what it is is very different from reality. Mommy may expect to have some sort of "lightning strike”, Of falling in love, as soon as she sees her baby and if it doesn't happen she can fall into the unsuccessful thought of not being a good mother. It was actually the expectation that was wrong. There are great loves born of love at first sight and just as many born from a slow acquaintance, but there are always great loves. If you can't get great enthusiasm right away, don't be afraid. So it is normal to be a little confused at the beginning: the instinct is there, but it is dominated by other emotions (such as fear) ».

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How to "develop" then thematernal instinct for those who do not feel it is innate? «Listen to each other, do not seek approval. There are different ways of being a mother and having maternal instinct: each mother and child dyad is like a unique and unrepeatable work of art. For example, if it is fashionable to carry a baby in a sling but a mother does not feel comfortable with her, she is not obliged to do so ".

The fact of know the physiology of a newborn helps a lot to develop thematernal instinct: "The baby's crying, for example, is a form of communication: if the baby is crying he is trying to communicate something, it doesn't mean that his mother is a bad mother."

Any suggestions for reading? «We recommend the book by Giada Sundas,“ Rebel mothers are not afraid ”and that of Alessandra Bortolotti“ Then the mother comes back - manage the separation without feeling of guilt ”.


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