Retraining is not easy, but it is possible, and research indicates that for much of society it is also necessary.
Because it seems that hidden in all the political correctness that dictates our conversations about motherhood,(after all, who in their right mind would dare say that women should be proud of taking care of their children!), a simple truth has been observed: Babies and young children need the love that their mothers give them.
They need it as much as they need food, exercise and sunshine. It’s not just good for them, but vital.,
Very few other relationships can even come close to the relationship children have with their mothers. A “mother-figure” may take the place of a mother, so long as this person, loves, cares for, nurtures the child and is invested in him or her as a mother would be. Unfortunately, few such replacements for mothers are readily available for most families.
The mother-kid relationship, more than any other, teaches children the very care, empathy, and love that make us human.
Without it, we all suffer. Indeed, psychologists have begun to document the negative effects that this general lack of mothering has recently had on western societies.
The research available on this topic is extensive, and though I cannot summarize all of it here. Moreover, I’m in no position to even try.
One recent report gives us an example of just how important the role of the mother is:
Reciprocal and mutual experiences in the relationship between infants and their mothers or mother figures are not optional luxuries; they are essential for full brain development, because they build pathways for learning and health.…
Experiences in early life activate gene expression and result in the formation of critical pathways and processes.
Billions of neurons in the brain must be stimulated to form sensing pathways that influence a person’s learning, behavior, and biological processes that affect physical and mental health.(As cited in Cook 2009)
Therefore, the end of this story is really just a beginning: I am slowly retraining myself, despite what society may tell me, to see that I am still a good woman, still asuccessful woman while being a mother to my children.
I am retraining myself to see that motherhood is not some oppressive job that I should necessarily leave to someone else. It is, in fact, a very commendable job for any woman who chooses it, and should be celebrated as much as any other role we take on in life.
I am retraining myself to see that though I may go back to work or school when I feel the time is right, not doing so, do not take away from my worth as a person.
I am also retraining myself to see the trials and tribulations I face as a mother not as effort wasted, but as opportunities through which to gain reward and draw closer to Allah.
And lest I forget, I have simply to turn to the Qur’an and Sunnah, my compass and guide, which contain countless verses and hadiths about the importance of mothers, and then simply pray that my heart will see the truth that has always been there.
- Cook,Peter. Mothering Denied: How Our Culture Harms Women, Infants, and Society. Cook, 2009.
- Crittenden,Ann.The Price of Motherhood.Henry Holt and Co. New York, 2001.
- Muehlenberg,Bill.The Importance of Mothers, Accessed Online athttp://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/05/the-importance-of-motherhood/, Jan. 2012
First published: May 2013