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Maternal instinct

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on January 19, 2009

When you’re expecting your first child you can be afraid of not loving your baby enough or of not being able to be a good mum. It's a common belief that a mother should know what her baby needs; this is what is known as maternal instinct, and many expectant mums ask themselves questions about whether they have it or not.

What is maternal instinct?
A particular bond that is established between mother and child from conception, maternal instinct was once renounced by die-hard feminists but it has once again become a topic for discussion between psychiatrists and psychologists. Specifically, maternal instinct is an impulse that drives a mother to act for her baby, to take care of it without thinking, not abandoning it and even making sacrifices for it.


How does it show?

Your baby naturally comes before you, you are preoccupied with its wellbeing, you feel connected to your baby and seek your baby wherever you go.

Maternal instinct doesn't mean you know everything

The strong bond that you have with your baby doesn't mean that you always know what to do and you can sometimes feel at a lost or even baffled, especially when everyone around you (including your mother-in-law) is trying to give you advice. Trust yourself and listen to yourself to find the natural way of taking care of your baby. You know better than anyone what your baby needs, whether it is the same as what your mother-in-law says or not!

Feeling nothing for a new baby

Instead of the expected explosion of joy, you feel indifferent to your baby and you feel guilty for not being a good mother. Rest assured: motherhood is also a human experience that is built up day after day and doesn't just arrive with the stork. So don’t feel guilty: the bond with your baby will be built naturally over the days ahead, through skin contact, the care you give your baby and your baby's way of teaching you to become a mother.

Read our article: Becoming a mum: what does it change?

by Sarah Horrocks