from http://www.naturalchild.com/whatever_happened/

Whatever Happened to Mother?

by James Kimmel, Ph.D.

Preface

A society that is not responsible to its children, that does not provide them with what they need, will breed a population of asocial and anti-social individuals. Even more destructive to children, in terms of their individual mental health, is a society that pretends to be responsible to its children, when it is not. Its children will not even know what they need. They will be alienated from their human requirement of nurturing.

Chapter One:   Where Have All the Mothers Gone?

Once everyone had a mother. They were not only born from a mother but they had a mother who took care of them after they were born. Mothers, then, were especially important to babies since they could not live unless their mothers took care of them. At first, a baby did not know this. But it did know, or more correctly, feel that mother was warmth, comfort, fullness and completeness.

As the baby grew into childhood, mother became associated with goodness and rightness. Mother was good and it was good to be with mother. It did not feel right if mother was not there. But, once, mother was always there. Babies were nursed whenever they cried. They were continuously held in their mothers' arms and they slept beside their mothers at night. Mothers also took their babies with them wherever they went, to bathe in a river, lake or stream, to gather food and to prepare it, or to visit with friends. Mother was always there because her baby was with her when she worked, when she ate, when she played, when she slept and even when she made love.

And mothers did not mind that their babies were always there. They would have minded if their babies were not with them. Neither did mothers mind being mothers. Being a mother was good. It felt good and everyone else thought it was good, and it was good - good for mothers and for babies and for everyone.

All that I have said above was true a long, long time ago when human beings, like all other animals, lived in the natural world. Humans, before they made their own artificial world, were a part of nature. They were not separate from it as they are now. As part of nature, mothers cared for their babies in the ways that were natural for humans. They fed their babies from their breasts for many years. Babies thrived on the milk of their mothers and mothers were proud that they could make milk for their babies. Besides having healthy babies, something else happened because mothers nursed their babies for a long time. The babies, as they grew, knew that there was someone there for them, someone who cared about them and who wanted them to be happy and content. All children grew up feeling that they were safe and protected and certain that there was always someone to whom they could turn if they were frightened, unsure, or troubled or if they just needed comfort. They knew that they were not separate in the world.

A long, long time ago children were not afraid of their mothers. Mothers did not hit or spank their children. They never punished them. In fact, if the mothers of long ago saw how mothers of today hit and yell at their children or send them to bed without supper, they would think that such mothers were insane. The long ago mothers believed that mothers should protect their children and not hurt them - not even hurt their feelings.

The people of today have different ideas about babies, children, and mothers than the people of long ago. Today they believe that the main thing mothers should do is to train their children, starting when they are babies, to grow up right-even if that means hurting them sometimes. They also think that if mothers were always with their babies, sleeping with them and holding them all the time and never punishing or disciplining them, that, as they grew older, they would be spoiled and not be able to get along with people and not even know how to be alone. They would be used to always having their own way so they would not obey their teachers in school or other adults. They would also be used to always getting what they wanted so they would use up all their parents money by always buying toys and candy and anything that they saw and wanted. But more likely they would not even grow up because, for sure, they would run in front of a car and get killed because their mothers let them do whatever they want.

If they did live to grow up, they would turn out to be selfish, and they would never work or do anything worthwhile because they would expect everyone, including the government, to support and take care of them. They would even make us lose wars because, being spoiled, they would not be willing to fight for our freedom.

Some people think that if children were cared for by their mothers the way they were a long, long time ago, they would not want to grow up. They would remain attached to their mothers forever. Maybe they believe this because to them having such a mother would be so nice that they think no one in their right mind would ever be willing to give up such a good thing. What these people don't seem to know is that having a mother like that, the way nature intended, is the only way you really can grow up. You see, if you have had a real mother, you don't need one as you get older. You can go on to the next step of becoming a responsible, grown-up person like your mother, someone, who because they were cared for, finds it natural to be caring of others.

I think that people who believe that having a mother who is always there for you is a bad thing, never had such a mother. And I also believe that they don't want anyone else to have such a mother because they didn't. I also know that when people left the world of nature they lost something. A lot of people would agree with me on that one, but they would say that what we lost was paradise. But they're wrong. What we lost was mother and our belief in natural human growth through mothering.

One thing we can really be sure of is that once people began to become civilized, they began to see babies and children in very strange ways - a lot like they saw the sheep, pigs, and cows that they raised. It seems that children came to be thought of as naturally bad, and people began to believe that they wouldn't grow up right if you were nice to them. I guess that is where such sayings come from like, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," or ideas like, picking up a baby whenever it cries will spoil it. Even stranger to me, is why people began to replace mothers with wet-nurses, nannies, governesses, and formula or milk in bottles with rubber nipples. I guess they thought there was something wrong with natural mothering. Maybe, though, they knew what they were doing. They could have figured out that being nice to babies and children would make it hard for them, when they grew up, to live in the cruel, uncaring world that humans made after they left the world of nature. And maybe they also knew that women really liked breast-feeding and taking care of their babies and would get so involved in doing it that they wouldn't have time to wash the dishes or clean the house or even want to be with their husbands very much.

But I know one thing for sure. I wish I had a mother who took care of me the way mothers did a long, long time ago. Don't you? When I think of it, it makes me feel like I do when I hear the song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" - sort of sad and lonely. It makes me wonder "Where have all the mothers gone?"

Chapter Two:   Mothers Are For Sissies!

Before I get into telling you what I think happened to mother, I would like to first deal with something that might get in the way of your understanding of what this book is about. The main obstacle isn't that it is about something that's hard to understand but that you may, like so many people in our world, be a hard guy. I know a lot about hard guys because I used to be one. What do I mean by a hard guy? Well, I can best explain it by telling you a little about myself.

When I was growing up you were considered a baby if you went to your mother for help. That wasn't as true for girls as it was for boys. But it was partly true for girls. They could go to their mother about girl things but not about things between kids. Now, it wasn't only kids who thought you were a baby if you went to your mother for help. Your father thought so too and so did your mother. If you didn't take life like a "man" you would come to be known as a sissy. A sissy was a boy who was acting like a girl, but not a big girl, more like a baby girl. It didn't mean that you were gay or something like that; it meant that boys had to be strong, be able to take pain and punishment without crying, and always be self-sufficient and never dependent. Boys had to be hard and tough. If a boy cried, he went beyond being a sissy. He was a cry-baby, and there was nothing lower than that. A cry-baby was even worse than a baby. It was a baby that cried.

By the time I was three years old, I was a hard guy. Adults loved me, and other children, even older ones, respected me. I was respected and admired because I never cried and I never asked anyone for help or for anything. I was the perfect child because I hid my pain, asked for nothing, and never bothered anyone. I was self-sufficient and relied on no one except myself. The shame of being a baby or a sissy kept me from acting like one, even though I was really both. I didn't know that I was a sissy and a baby for a long, long time. It took many years of living, including having my own children, to discover the baby and sissy in me, and also by the way, in everyone else. I think I was in my early thirties when I came to realize that it was all right and good, to be a baby and a sissy, which really meant I just wanted someone to take care of me. I have been a much happier person since I made that discovery.

How that discovery came about is another story that I may tell someday. I only brought it up to introduce what I am going to write about now, which is mainly addressed to the hard guys of the world. A hard guy doesn't have to be someone who acts tough and nasty, who robs and beats up people, or who is a criminal. Although people like that are always hard guys. A hard guy is someone who, very early in life, gave up on receiving, or even seeking, tenderness from other human beings. Hard guys gave up because, instead of getting tenderness when they needed it, they got a slap in the face. It didn't have to be a real slap. It was the repeated indifference or anger they received when they reached out for tenderness that made them give up. Now, I intentionally said that they gave up on receiving tenderness from a human being because there are lots of hard guys who find some tenderness in relation to a dog or cat or bird or even a lizard or some other kind of animal - but never in relation to another human. The reason why that's so is because humans have trouble living without tenderness. If you've given up on having it with humans, it gets misplaced on to something else - like animals or your car or your furniture or your house or whatever allows tenderness to be there without the pain that was there when you tried it with people.

Most hard guys openly sneer and look down upon anyone who is open about their need for tenderness. They also ridicule people who are tender. They look down on women, because in our world, women supposedly need tenderness more than men. They view babies as strange, unpleasant creatures because babies are so helpless and so blatantly dependent and in need of caring, and because they cry.

Hard guys usually humiliate their own children when they reach out for tenderness. They act as if their child is crazy for asking for something that causes pain. Instead of responding with tenderness, they give their child a "slap" in the form of a spanking, a good beating, or angry, insulting words. Hard guys are big on punishment and harsh discipline. They believe that children want this and that it is good for them. Hard guys like to say to children, "I'll give you something to cry about." They do things like that because they're hard guys, and that's what hard guys believe about life - that it's hard.

Now, when I say "hard guys", I'm not just talking about men. Hard guys can be women and mothers too. Just about the same amount of women as men give up on getting tenderness when they're very young. In fact, most women really become hard guys once they become mothers. That's not only because they've given up on tenderness but also because our society sends them the message that they should be hard guys when it comes to raising children. I could call hard guys who are women "hard gals". But somehow "gals" sounds too tender to me. I guess that's because I still think women are supposed to be tender because nature gave them the responsibility for nurturing their babies. I also prefer "hard guys" for both men and women, because I believe that it was men who, in their envy of women's greater importance in creation and in their jealousy of the closeness of mother and baby, convinced women to become like them - totally unnecessary after a baby was born. Women became guys, just like men.

At this point, I can see I'd better define what I mean by "tenderness" before I get in trouble with the feminist movement, and also because I've been using the word "tenderness" a lot, and in our culture tender has more to do with meat than with human beings. Most of us know about feelings like anger, rage, sadness, happiness, joy, despair, love, lust, and probably other feelings that I have left out. But when it comes to tenderness, people, particularly hard guys, draw a blank. Tenderness is, however, a real human feeling. It's part of us because human babies are born in an undeveloped state, and when we lived in nature babies could only survive after they were born if they could elicit a tender response from their mothers. In our human beginnings, mothers wouldn't have cared for their babies if they did not feel tenderness toward them. It's important to understand that tenderness is catching. If you respond to someone tenderly, it becomes a part of them, and then that person can pass it on to someone else. The feeling of tenderness emerges when you care about a person. You feel soft and gentle and want them to feel the same. When someone acts tenderly to you, you feel warm and good and sort of like how I imagine a cat must feel when it's purring. When you act tenderly to another person, you feel good, and you are happy that you are making that person feel good. So being tender and receiving tenderness are pretty much the same thing because the boundary between the people is eliminated. The two people in a tender exchange aren't really separate anymore. Each feels what the other feels. They each feel tenderness. It's like you only feel your skin when something else touches it, and when it's someone else's skin that's touching yours, it's hard to know which skin is theirs and which is yours. Well, I don't know if I've really given a good description of tenderness, but it's the best I can do with the limited words that I have. It has to do with words like "we" and "one", but I'll get to that a little later on.

One of the reasons we don't know much about the feeling of tenderness is because in our world there is so little of it and it isn't valued very much. Being tender is considered soft and weak and a liability in the struggle to survive. In a world lacking in tenderness, we are trained to give up our need for it at an early age. You won't find tenderness listed as a human feeling in any psychology books. Partly that's because we study human beings as separate structures, and the feeling of tenderness has to do with our lack of separateness from each other. The root of tender feelings lies in the mother-infant bond, and modern psychology isn't based on the unity of human beings but on individuation and individualism.

In the previous chapter, I said that I wished I had a mother who took care of me the way mothers did a long, long time ago. I also asked, "Don't you?" Well, I'm sure most hard guys would be able to find lots of reasons why they wouldn't want a mother like that. To begin with, they would probably say that they didn't have such a mother and they turned out all right. But it goes deeper than that. Hard guys are very afraid of anything that smacks of tenderness. Besides being hurt by their mothers and fathers when they reached out for it, they believe that if you need it, you become vulnerable to the domination of other people. The closeness and continuous contact between the long ago mothers and their babies is scary to hard guys. So they resist any temptation that would weaken their hard guy front.

Real hard-grained hard guys wouldn't even bother to answer the question I asked. They would say something like what's going to follow. I'm putting quotes around it because even though I'm writing it, it's the way I think hard-grained hard guys speak. I can hear one of them saying, angrily, "Here we go again. The old permissive line that leads kids to expect the world owes them a living; rotten, spoiled kids who will think they're too fine to work for a day's pay; hippies, drug addicts, drop-outs, lazy-takers who think the world should be a big breast that they can suck on forever. And this guy is leading up to a new gimmick to justify the liberal, bleeding-heart philosophy which indulges children so they end up being totally selfish, undisciplined and unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. Just because a million years ago humans may have been like apes and cared for babies like the animals they were doesn't mean we should take care of our kids the same way. Maybe when we lived in the jungle and in caves that was the right way, but we don't live like that anymore. This is the twentieth century, soon to be the twenty first, and we live in civilization. Besides, look what happened to all those primitive people. They aren't around anymore. I've seen movies where these primitive people come to civilization and they don't make it. They either die or run back to the jungle. I want my kids to make it here, to learn how to live in our world, not in some world that is gone forever."

Hard-grained hard guys believe that tenderness is like communism or a crippling disease that could spread and destroy the world, at least their world. But there is another kind of hard guy, the softer kind. They're more often, but not always, women and mothers. In answering my question, the softer hard guys would say something like this, "It sounds nice and it really would be nice if a mother had nothing else to do but be with her baby, but if she had more than one child it would be impossible. It's really totally unrealistic in this day and age." Or she might, depending on her circumstances, respond with, "I would really like to be a mother like that but I have to work. It really worries me that my children may not get all the love and attention they need. Do you know a good day care center? Besides, I don't know if it would be good for children to be that dependent. A mother would have to be with them all the time, and they would get used to it. How would they ever be willing to go to school? Also, a mother needs a break from her children sometimes."

The softer hard guys always have good logical reasons why they can't be there for their children. Their favorite expression is, "I have no choice." Soft hard guys are always victims. Now, no one would argue with the fact that in our world choices are limited by a lack of money and opportunity. But when it comes to caring for a baby, there is a choice. It really depends on your priorities. The softer hard guys have given up on tenderness just as much as the hard-grained hard guys. The difference between them is that the softer hard guys became depressed when they realized, as children, that they weren't going to get any tenderness, whereas the hard-grained ones became angry. The softer hard guys believe that opening the Pandora's box of tenderness will only lead eventually to sadness when they lose it. They believe that it's better for children to not count on it and to learn to live without it, just as they have. Their life philosophy is that there isn't anyone there for anyone so you have to survive on your own or you will never make it in this world. Not being there for their baby or children is actually easier for softer hard guys than for the hard-grained ones because tenderness isn't dangerous to them. It just doesn't exist. Hard-grained hard guys must always be on guard against the infiltration of tenderness into their children's lives. They know that tenderness exists but they believe that it leads to weakness, and if you give in to it you will end up beneath someone's boot. So they have to be around to teach their children not to need it, usually by stepping all over them with their boots.

What I am trying to say is that hard guys aren't all the same. There are probably a lot of shades between the two that I've described. But all hard guys would find it hard to answer my question with a simple, "Yeah, I would have liked to have a mother who was always there for me, always nice to me, always taking care of me. I would even like one now." If you asked them if they would like ten million dollars, they might say no because they didn't earn it.

This book isn't just for children or those who care about children. It's also for the hard guys of the world. I would like them to believe in and to value tenderness. Believing in it won't necessarily help them to find it, but it will increase their chances and maybe the chances that their children will receive it from them. I would also like them to be a little more open than they usually are about books like this one. This book isn't about letting children walk all over you or about permissiveness. It's about biology - about mother biology and baby biology, both of which are the same now as they were when humans lived in caves. It's also about how and why we began to replace our biology with something different and how that different thing affects children, all children, including your children, and how it affected you when you were a child. It's about things that hard guys fight against knowing because when you know these things, you have to face up to the fact that mothers aren't just for sissies, they're for everyone. And the problem with that is hard guys never had a real mother so they still need one, and they don't want to know that.

Chapter Three:   The First Mothers

The first mothers were real mothers. They were like all the other animal mothers who care for their young after they are born. They did not go to hospitals to have their babies nor did they need doctors to deliver their babies. Birth was natural, and each mother trusted that she and her baby would know what to do. Usually the first mothers did not need help to have a baby. If they did, they did not rely on men; they would call on real experts to help - other women who had given birth themselves.

The first mothers knew how to take care of their babies after they were born. They did not have to read books to learn what to do. They had grown up seeing how other women cared for their babies. Each mother knew that she would feed her baby from her breasts and that it was necessary for her to always be there for her baby. Everyone else knew this too, and they made sure that nothing would interfere with the important task of mothering.

The first mothers did not feel separate from their babies nor did they want to be separated from them after they were born. They kept their babies with them all the time, nursing them with the sweet milk that came from their breasts, knowing that their milk contained the gift of life. They knew that the more a baby nursed, the more the milk would flow. They knew that the milk was the baby's milk, not their milk and that the baby knew when it wanted milk. They did not set up times when the baby could have milk or not have milk. They knew that babies could not live without their mother's milk and that they were dependent on their mothers for life.

The first mothers did not have to hide when they nursed their babies. Unlike so many women of today, the first mothers were not ashamed of their breasts or of the fact that their breasts produced milk. They were proud that they were women, that they had breasts that could give milk, and even more proud when their babies thrived on their milk. The men of their group were also proud of mothers. Women were not looked down upon by the men of a long, long time ago. The men saw women as equals. They respected the fact that women, unlike they, were the source of life. Everyone knew that without women there would be no people anymore because babies could not be born or live or grow without their mothers. And because the people cherished life, they cherished mothers. The people thought so much of mothers that many of them carried little statues of a mother with them all the time. That way they would never feel alone in the world even if, for some reason or circumstance, they were or felt lost. They knew that their connection to their mothers did not diminish them but was the root of their connection to each other and to all life.

The long ago people, besides carrying statues of mothers, also carried within themselves the goodness of their mothers. That was why they were good to each other and to themselves. They became good like their mothers because their mothers were good to them. All the people, including the men, behaved like mothers. They were all very nice to children, even if they were not their own. They did not hit, punish, abuse, or take advantage of children's smallness and vulnerability. They believed that children should be helped and protected because they were small and not as strong as adults. The people were also good to each other. They shared their food and their possessions, and they protected and took care of each other. They did not, as people of today who have jobs taking care of others, get paid for caring nor did they expect anything in return. They did it because caring was natural to their way of life. The people of long, long ago seldom did things alone. They shared the tasks of living and their lives. They did not feel alone in the world as so many people do today. Throughout their lives, from infancy to old age, they knew that other people were there for them just as they were there for others.

The first people owed their goodness to each other to the fact that each of them had a mother who had been good to them. Being human, it was natural for each mother to be good to her baby. Unlike other mammals, such as cats or dogs or lions or tigers, humans usually have only one baby at a time. This means that each baby has his mother all to himself and that each baby is special to his mother. A human mother can devote all her time and energy to her one baby, whereas a cat has to take care of a whole litter of babies. Of course, a human mother will only devote herself to her baby if she and all the people around her believe that caring for a baby is more important than anything else. That was how it was a long, long time ago when everyone thought that caring for a baby was the most important thing in the world, and they would make sure that a mother wouldn't have to do anything that would interfere in her being with her baby.

Today that isn't true. Lots of mothers put earning money, taking care of the house and their husbands, and having time for themselves before being there for their baby. This doesn't mean that the mothers of today don't like their babies or don't think that they are important. What it does mean is that, in our world, we don't believe that it is important for a mother to always be there for her baby. Obviously our government doesn't consider it very important, or they would find ways to make it more possible for mothers to stay at home and take care of their babies and children. Instead, they see helping mothers by providing them with maternity leave from their job, paid leave, or direct financial aid as violations of the principles on which our society is based.

As you can see, caring for a baby is more complicated for mothers of today than it was for the first mothers. It is complicated because we no longer, as a society, support mothering. We do not think that it is important for babies to have mothers who take care of them, at least not as important as maintaining and perpetuating an economic system that looks down on people who are poor and a social system that adheres to the belief that taking care of people is harmful and a threat to our way of life. Seeing that every mother gets the chance to take care of her baby isn't really American.

But it is even more complicated because even if a mother doesn't have to work to support her family, she may go back to work after her baby is born because of her career or because she likes working more than taking care of a baby or because she needs a separate life of her own. Well, at any rate, this wouldn't happen in the world of a long, long time ago because babies couldn't live without their mothers. But nowadays we've found ways of keeping babies alive without their mothers, so mothers have a choice. The long ago mothers didn't have a choice, so their heads didn't have to be bothered with anything more complicated than taking care of their babies. Maybe, head wise, mothers were better off then. It certainly was better for babies.

Now let's get back to what I was saying about humans having only one baby at a time. This means that babies don't have to share their mothers with other babies, and they can get the exclusive and special care that all human babies need to grow normally. This one on one relationship makes it easy for baby and mother to be one. But here again it gets complicated in our world. This perfect set-up gets spoiled by our cultural belief that too much care will spoil a baby. It's considered a bad thing for babies to be catered to because they might like it and become overly demanding and too dependent on their mothers and want them all the time and mothers have rights too and it's not fair that fathers don't have to take care of babies and it isn't fair to fathers if mothers breast-feed because fathers can't, and the babies as they get older won't be able to get along with people because they will be too attached to their mothers and used to always getting their own way and the mother and baby will stay in a symbiotic relationship and the baby when he grows up won't have a self or be independent and will be unable to go to school or get into a good college or get a good job, so maybe mothers should definitely not, or at least most of the time, or maybe some of the time, not give in to their babies or be too good to them or, at least, should show baby who is the boss and so it's probably a bad thing that humans have only one baby at a time and it would be better if we were like cats and had lots of babies at one time so then none of them could become spoiled and they could all be somewhat deprived and neglected and learn early in life that they were separate individuals and not special and then they could grow up too be self-sufficient and independent and go to college and get a good job so they wouldn't ever need anyone.

You can see how the simple, natural process of infant care can get pretty complicated when humans stick their imaginative and life-controlling brains into it. I think that the first mothers liked having only one baby at a time because they could take better care of them than they could if they had a lot of babies at once. The first mothers just took care of their babies in the way nature intended. They had no need to improve the process because the process fit the values of their culture. The first mothers could take their babies with them to do whatever they had to do each day. They didn't have bosses who wouldn't let them bring their babies to work. They could interrupt what they were doing if their babies needed their complete attention. They weren't paid by the hour, and they could never lose their job. They also didn't need a separate life from their babies because they didn't know about being separate. A mother's life was closely intertwined with all the other people of her group. They shared their food and their lack of food. They shared the good and the bad times. They shared their lives. It would be unthinkable and shameful for some of the people to have lots of food while others had none. People were equal in importance and in how they lived. There were no homeless people then nor were there wealthy ones. Everyone was part of something more than themselves. They were the group, and the group was not divided into classes, some of which were considered more worthy than others. Neither were men considered better than women, nor were adults, because they were productive, more valued than children. If anything, children were the most important because they were the future of the group. The people then, unlike people of today, not only spoke about this, they lived it. This was why they considered it so important that all babies should be cared for by their mothers for a long time. They knew that this was necessary if a baby was to become a real social being, a part of the group. They did not, as people do today, ration their time and themselves to their children. They gave the fullness of who they were so that their children would be whole.

The first mothers did not have babies one right after the other. This was partly because by nursing their babies in the natural way and for a long time they could not conceive right away. That was nature's way of ensuring that the mother-infant bond would continue for a long time after birth, long enough for a baby to fully and properly develop. But it was also because the people supported nature through their belief that all babies needed to have their mothers for themselves for a long time. And because mothers and fathers were responsible to the life they created, they did not have babies one right after the other, even if this meant that the father and the mother had to alter their sexual life together.

The fact that the first mothers cared for their babies in the way nature intended, and that they were supported by their group to do so, permitted the development of a wonderful and beautiful creation - the human being. The first people knew that a baby was not a separate person at birth.. They were aware that it was necessary for a mother to provide her baby with herself, or the baby could not become human. Nature, in its wisdom, had provided every baby with a mother so that, through the mother's presence, the baby could continue to grow as human. The mother, by caring for her baby for the appropriate time period and in the human way, ensured that her baby would become an appropriate human being; someone who would be sociable, intelligent, caring of others, and who would believe that every human life was special and important. You see, the difference between the people of a long, long time ago and those living now is that they all had real mothers, so they were all fully human.

Chapter Four:   How The First Mothers Vanished

What happened between the time of the first mothers and the mothers of today? The mother of today does not usually nurse her baby for many years. In fact, more than half of mothers never nurse their babies. If they do, many discontinue nursing after a month or two and most by six months. It is the rare mother who nurses her baby over a year. In addition, even when babies are nursed they are usually given formula in a bottle as a supplement.

Mothers no longer sleep with their babies. Babies sleep alone in their cribs. Mothers do not carry babies all the time. Most try to carry them as little as possible. Mothers do not always pick up their babies when they cry. They try to teach their babies that mother will not pick them up when they cry. They do not seem to want the baby to know that mother is always there for baby. Instead, it is very important for the baby to learn that mother cannot always be there. Many mothers are hardly there at all. They go to work and have someone else care for their baby. Baby sitters are used when the mother wants to or has to go somewhere. It seems that babies are not welcome everywhere and that mothers often do not want their babies to be with them. It is clear that in our world, unlike the world of the long ago people, babies interfere in the usual conduct of life.

Time is ever present in the world of today. There is never enough, so people hoard their time and begrudge it to others. Mothers and fathers seldom have enough time to do all the things they have to or want to do, including being with their children. We have invented "quality time" with children under the pretense that time with them that is good is better than always being there for them It makes us feel better about our unavailability. We also, as a people, strongly believe in right and wrong. We do not perceive child care as an interactive process where child and parent learn from and about each other but rather as a regime of correct rules and actions. Parents decide, often with the advice of a doctor, how often their babies should be fed, when they should go to sleep and for how long, when they should give up their bottles, when they should be toilet-trained, when they should feed and dress themselves, and at what age parents should begin to spank and punish them. We live in a world of "no time" and "should", and these compulsions regulate the relationship of mother and baby.

How did the world lose its spontaneity? How did the world of mothers and babies get to be filled with "no time" and "should"? And how did it become a place where mothers stopped taking care of their babies the way the first mothers did?

The people who first lived on the Earth did not live in towns or cities. They lived in the world of nature in small groups, usually consisting of about fifty people. Today we call the people who lived a long, long time ago hunter-gatherers because they obtained their food by hunting animals and by gathering it from the plants that grew around them. They did not plant crops or farm or raise animals for food; they did not have to. The land on which they lived provided them with whatever they needed, and they knew a great deal about the land, including which plants and roots were good to eat and where to find them. They also knew how to track animals and how to kill them. Although the people. killed animals and were afraid of those animals that could kill them, they did not see animals as enemies nor did they believe that they were better than the animals. They believed that they, like the animals, were a part of the land and of what we call nature. They did not kill animals for the fun of it; they killed them for food. In this respect they were just like the animals who also only killed to eat. The people, however, did not only eat the animals they killed. They also used the skin and fur and bones of the animals to make things, and in that way they were different than the animals. But they did not look down upon the animals who were unique and clever in their own ways. The people of long, long ago did not dominate the world of nature. They were, as all life, simply a part of it.

What does all this have to do with the first mothers and how they vanished? Well, first of all, the first mothers were the way they were because they were a part of nature and lived in the natural world, and they responded to their babies like the human animals that they were. Second, they vanished after humans created a new and different world from the natural one - a man-made world.

What I am going to say now is very important, and it is also a very hard thing to understand. The people of a long, long time ago would not have found what I am going to say hard to understand. They understood it better than I do. In fact, they are the ones who taught it to me. The reason why it is so hard for people of today to understand what follows is because we live so differently now that we don't even have the words for it. The best words that I can think of are "we" and "one". But it is a little confusing because today people think of "we" as a bunch of "I"s and "one" as just an "I". But what I mean by "we" is that it is a real thing, not a thing made up of separate "I"s, but a thing unto itself. It's like you are a whole person even though you have separate parts like eyes and legs and feet and fingers and inside parts like a heart and stomach and blood. But even though you have all these separate parts, they all work together; they act as "one", which is you. Well, the group of a long, long time ago was made up of all these people with separate structures but they were a "one" and a "we". That's why the first mothers were the way they were with their babies. A mother didn't think of her baby as separate from herself. She and her baby were "one". She didn't think of herself as separate from the people with whom she lived nor did the people think of her as separate from them. They were a "we". And the people did not think of themselves as separate from the world in which they lived. They were "one" with it.

In the world we live in now there are only I's. Sure, people do things together and belong to the same groups, are a part of the same school, same team, work in the same place, and are part of a family, but they hardly ever forget about "me". In a world that, from the moment of birth, treats us as separate, each of us becomes a "me". Most of what everyone does is for their "me". That's why the mothers of today take care of their babies the way they do; the mother is a "me" and so is her baby. The mother doesn't see her baby as "one" with her; they aren't a "we". They are two separate people, each doing their own thing, sometimes together and sometimes not together.

The way the first mothers vanished has to do with the fact that the world and the people in it changed. It's the story of how "we" became a bunch of "I"s and "me"s, how people became separate from each other. How did this happen? Well, all you have to do is pick up a book about the history of civilization. If you read between the lines and keep your eyes open as to what was happening to the people, even though history books are seldom about ordinary people, it's obvious. But I won't ask you to do that. Since I've done it already, I'm going to tell you what I learned.

As I said before, the people of long, long ago lived by hunting and gathering. They lived like this for most of the time that humans inhabited the Earth, until about twelve thousand years ago when people began to grow their own food. and invented farming. At this time, they also began to raise animals for milk and meat. In some places people continued to hunt and gather in addition to farming, while in other areas agriculture became the main way of life. After a while this new way of living began to change how people thought about, and acted toward, each other. The new world was different than the world of nature. It was a world that people had created, a world that they wanted to direct and control. Although they still depended on nature for sun and rain to grow their crops, they had removed themselves from it. Nature was no longer a friend, who supplied humans with that which they needed, but an enemy that too often got in their way. Man and nature were no longer "one"; nature would now serve man. By keeping and owning animals, men had to change the animals' nature. Animals would be trained to obey and to do what men wanted, even if it meant breaking the animals' spirits. Eventually humans would do that to themselves by breaking the spirits of their children.

The new way of life took away the people's freedom. Although the land was used to serve the people, they became captives of the land. Needing the food their plot of land gave them, they could not leave it; they could no longer wander. By owning land, men became owned by the land. Before, no one had owned land; it belonged to everyone. After agriculture took hold, people began to claim and own parts of the Earth. They began to divide the planet up with barriers, fences and laws.

Although everything that I have described took a long time to happen, the result was that the world became very different from the way it had been originally. More and more, the groups of people living together became larger and larger. People stopped sharing. Instead of everyone having the same, some people had more land, more food, and more things than others. The people who had more were not ashamed of having more, as they once would have been. To the contrary, they felt proud of having more and believed that made them better than those who had less. The people who had less believed it too. The people with more used their more to buy and to own the people who had less. The more land a person had, the more workers he needed to work the land and to care for the more and more animals he would obtain. Unlike the first people who did not know about more or less, the people of the world that men had created invented arithmetic and counting because more and less had become the way the world was and would be run.

At first, in this new world animals were used to do the heavy work of farming and building. But as some people began to have more worth than others and there were more and more people, human energy became valuable. People began to be used as animals to serve those who had more. People were no longer equal in importance as they had once been. The people no longer lived as "one" with a common purpose. Instead of a "we" they had become a host of "me"s.

The people began to look at their children differently too. They were just things that had to be taken care of until they could be useful. Although they were a burden at first, the more children born, the better. It was good for a woman to have lots of children. They belonged, as she did, to her husband. More children meant more workers. Children, like land and animals, had become property, and so too had women. Men could have more than one wife. The more wives, the more children. The values that men had regarding their cattle were applied to their families.

The trouble with children, however, was that at first they were babies, and babies had to be cared for. This took time and energy and a mother couldn't have another baby right away if she was nursing. But men, being smart, created the wet nurse. The wet nurse was a woman who was used to breast feed babies that were not her own. Sometimes she was paid for her services or, if she was a slave, she could be ordered to serve as a wet nurse. A slave, by the way, was a person who was owned by another person. The slave, even though he or she was a person, was not allowed to be a person. Slaves could not do what they wanted but were told what to do or not do by their owners. They were property and could be bought and sold. Children could also be sold into slavery by their parents. Even if children weren't slaves, they made good servants. One book I read indicated that a good part of the work of the world was done by children until fairly recently.

Wet nurses not only nursed babies, they also took care of them. More often than not, a new baby was sent away to live with the wet nurse. After two or three years {and sometimes even longer}, the baby, now a child, would return home and soon after be sent away to school or to work for someone else. As you can see, taking care of children was considered a burden to parents. It was better to assign this chore to servants or slaves so that the mother could pursue more important activities. Poor people were usually stuck with the burden of caring for their own children as they could not afford servants or slaves.

The wet nurses and other servants who cared for babies and children usually weren't very nice to them. That was because the new people, unlike the first people, were a cruel people, not only to children but to each other. People always become cruel when their world is divided into "more" and "less" and when power and fear govern their interaction. The people no longer responded to children with tenderness and concern but with anger at their requirement of care. Their caretakers would give them alcohol and drugs so they would sleep a lot and not require attention. Children were beaten and punished and forced to behave the way adults wanted. They were treated like slaves or like the animals people owned. They were domesticated and trained to serve their masters. They were also sent out to work as servants or to work at trades at an early age. It's funny, not funny like something you would laugh at but strange or crazy, that in the new world things got reversed. Instead of children being cared for by grown-ups, the children were expected, and made, to care for the grown-ups.

An even stranger thing happened. Instead of believing that it was good to be nice to children, people began to believe that it was good to be cruel to them. Someone came up with an idea everyone seemed to believe and still believe today that if you were nice to children and responded to them with tenderness and indulged their need for nurturing, they would become spoiled and rotten like old fruit or meat or something. I never did get the meaning of the word "spoiled" when applied to children even though everyone uses it and acts as if they know what it means. To me, the word "spoiled" means useless. Maybe spoiling children means that they won't be useful if you are nice to them. Maybe in the world humans made it wasn't important for children to have fun and be happy and enjoy being children; childhood was instead a time when children were supposed to be trained to be used when they got older. So I guess being cruel to children would accustom them to being used, and children who were spoiled wouldn't let others use them because they expected something better from people, like concern and consideration. Otherwise it doesn't seem to make much sense to view children as spoiled. But maybe I've made it more complicated than it is. Maybe a spoiled child is merely one who hasn't given up on receiving tenderness from adults.

Well, to get back to my purpose, which was to explain how the first mothers vanished - it wasn't just men who believed that being nice to children would spoil or ruin them. Women and mothers believed it too. So the boys and girls who weren't treated nicely by their parents, who were sent away to wet-nurses and out to work, and who were beaten, punished, shamed, and humiliated grew up. When they became parents they didn't know about tenderness, and they did the same cruel, uncaring things that had been done to them to their children. After this happened, generation after generation, century after century, the first mothers were all gone; they had vanished. In their place were women who had babies, even more babies than the first mothers. They were also called mothers, but they were different from the first mothers because they didn't grow up having mothers like the first mothers. These new mothers didn't like taking care of babies. They, like everyone else, saw being a mother as boring, burdensome, menial, worthless, unimportant - as a job for slaves or servants. Pregnancy, birthing, and caring for babies had come to be viewed as a hateful torture, that men didn't have to bear, which was put on women as a curse or punishment. Women no longer valued their milk or their unique and special role in the creation and development of new life. They had become like men - unnecessary after new human life was born.

The world humans had made was very cruel, not only because people became cruel to each other but because they had lost the human ways of tenderness. People no longer cared about each other. Their indifference bred a violent world. With time the world would become less cruel but not more tender. The new attitude toward children and mothers would persist into the modern world. The first mothers had vanished and the goodness which they had imparted to their children through the way they took care of them had also vanished. The "oneness" of the first mothers and their babies would be discouraged in the modern world and seen as a harmful thing to children's growth and as preventing them from adapting to, and coping with, the real world. Mother and infant would be viewed as separate "me"s. In the modern world new ideas and inventions would be developed to keep mothers and babies apart and separate from each other.

Chapter Five:   Fake Mothers

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.

Chapter Six:   Training Baby To Not Be A Baby And Turning Him Into Something Else

The human baby evolved to grow and develop in relation to a nurturing mother, both before and after birth. All of us are still nurtured in the normal way while we are in our mothers' wombs. But after birth many of us are no longer cared for in the manner that is normal for the human species. During the course of civilization we have eliminated the necessity for the natural mother to care for her offspring. We have created substitutes for her. Our substitutes enable infants to live and develop, but they develop differently than infants did when they had real mothers.

Most of us believe that the substitutes we provide for natural mothering are just as good as real mothering - that they are essentially the same. We also believe that the substitutes have made life easier and better for both mothers and children. Usually our comparisons are based on what we want to believe, rather than on fact because most of us have not had any experience with the real thing. Hardly any of us have ever seen a baby cared for in the natural way or have known a person who was cared for, in infancy and childhood, in the ways natural to our species. Consequently, we do not know what babies are really like. We only know what babies who don't have real mothers are like.

Babies and children are cared for differently in different cultures. This creates differences in how they develop and the kind of people they become. Although cultures vary in their views on how babies should be cared for, there is no difference between babies born in different societies. At birth all human babies are more similar than they are different. They have the same structure and biology. They begin life and develop in the same environment prior to birth, the womb world. They emerge into the world outside the womb with the same requirements necessary to continue to live and develop, requirements which they cannot satisfy on their own. They must continue to be nurtured after birth by an external nurturing source.

For the bulk of human time the nurturing source has been the natural mother. Mother and infant did not evolve separately, but together as part of the same process; the creation and development of a new human being. Humans have removed the necessity for the mother to be part of the process after the infant is born. But most mothers still are the chief care-takers of babies, even though their biological role has been altered or even eliminated. This change in the mother's role in the developmental process has changed how infants develop and has even altered their actual development. The infant must adapt, as he develops, to a nurturing source which is frequently absent rather than relying on one which is continually present. This causes an increase in development in relation to oneself and a decrease in development in relation to mother. There is an increase in reliance on oneself and objects to find security and satisfaction The infant with a fake mother must learn to delay gratification, tolerate frequent frustration, and be comfortable in prolonged periods of isolation.

Real mothers not only differ from fake mothers in how they respond to their babies, but also in how they see their role in relation to their babies. Real mothers make a total commitment to their babies; fake mothers make only a partial one. By nursing and being continuously present to their babies, real mothers do not sever their attachment to their babies after the umbilical cord is cut. The baby remains, as prior to birth, dependent on the mother for life and growth. Fake mothers sever their biological connection to their babies by not nursing and by establishing their physical separateness in both place and time. Others can assume their role allowing them to be absent from their babies. The baby experiences that mother is not always there.

Real mothers do not have to change who their babies are. They are there for their babies, and the mothers adapt to who their babies are. Fake mothers, by eliminating their biological connection to their babies, must make their babies adapt to who they are and to the modifications they have imposed on the natural nurturance process. Babies evolved to have real mothers - to not be separate from their mothers after birth. The fake mother, because she is separate from her baby, must make her baby live as separate from her. This is why babies of fake mothers cry a great deal and often have sleeping and feeding problems early in life whereas, babies with real mothers do not. Babies of fake mothers struggle against separateness, which is not their normal state.

How does the fake mother change her baby into something other than a real baby? By believing that her baby is wrong and by acting on this belief. This belief is supported by her culture and everyone around her, including experts on babies. Her immediate job is to make the baby right. The baby's need to be with his nurturing source, his mother, is perceived as abnormal, wrong, and bad. The mother's need to be separate, away from her baby, not present to it is not wrong or abnormal; the baby's need for her is. The baby must be trained; he must learn that he cannot always be with his mother. This is taught, not only through the living arrangements in which baby sleeps in his separate crib and in his separate room, but by the mother's emotional response to the baby's need to be with her. The demand, if not in keeping with the mother's schedule and life separate from the baby, is met with resistance, anger, and rejection.

The crying of the baby is also viewed as abnormal and wrong unless he is hungry or in pain. The baby's need to be with mother, his need for human presence and contact, is not considered legitimate. It is viewed as a need for attention which diminishes its authenticity and its importance. The focus is not on the mother's unwillingness to be with baby but on the baby's excessive need. The baby must learn to wait for attention, to wait for the proper time when it can be administered, just as he must wait for nourishment when he is fed on a schedule. Because the mother has chosen separateness from her baby and lives separate from him, she cannot understand baby's objection to being separate from her. The baby is accused and convicted of the crime of being excessively demanding. The mother either ignores the crying or responds to it with anger, punishment, or doses of sedatives. Eventually the baby is made right. He seldom cries.

Babies are born virtually helpless and are entirely dependent on other humans for security, satisfaction, and life. They have only one power: the power to elicit the emotion of tenderness in another human. Everything about a baby has been designed by nature to elicit tender feelings and a caring response. The baby's appearance, smallness, helplessness, and cry are supposed to make his mother take care of him, not ignore, abuse, or harm him.

In the natural world in which we evolved, a baby who was unable to elicit a tender and caring response from his mother would perish. In our world babies still do elicit the response of tenderness, but they can live without it. Our substitutes for mother allow a baby to live and develop even if the caretaker is not governed by tender feelings. We have replaced the emotional response with procedures, methods, objects, and ideas of right and wrong. Scheduled bottle feeding, as practiced in hospitals and by most fake mothers, has become a mechanical routine. The use of the bottle prop allows babies to feed themselves. Cribs, carriages, playpens, and other man-made objects minimize the time infants spend in their mothers' arms. But even more destructive to the development of a tender, nurturing attitude in mothers is the stated prohibition in our world against giving in to a baby's wish for mother's presence. The mother must struggle against her feelings of tenderness, lest she do something wrong like sleep with her baby or pick him up whenever he cries. It is not uncommon in our world for mothers who allow their tender feelings to take charge to keep it a secret. They do not allow others to know they sleep with their babies or that they are still nursing a baby at the age of two or three years, The negative attitude toward biological mothering is so strong in our society that the mother often keeps it a secret that she is a real mother and not a fake one.

The belief that a baby's need to continuously be with his mother is wrong and that going along with it is harmful has taken the heart out of mothering. By negating the essence of the mother-infant relationship, their oneness, we have made the care of babies a set of chores: feeding, diapering, putting baby to sleep, and providing attention, quality time, and love. We focus on doing the right or wrong thing in terms of baby's future, rather than on the present satisfaction for mother and baby in their nurturing union. Infant care has been made into a power struggle in which the mother must suppress her feelings of tenderness in order to change her baby into something he was not meant to be.

Once the baby gives up his need for tenderness and accepts life in separateness, he is no longer a human baby, he is something else. It is difficult to know what that something else is. Psychologists who have studied animal behavior know that animals which require parental care after birth can only develop social behavior appropriate to their species if they are cared for in the manner normal to their species. This means that animals raised in isolation or by an animal of another species or in ways that are unnatural to their species are, as adults, very strange animals. They turn out to be unsociable, anti-social and most often will not, or do not know how to, mate. If they do mate and have offspring, they will not care for them or will need assistance from humans to do so.

Among mammals, which includes humans, it is not simply the genetic makeup and biological structure with which the animal is born that makes it that kind of animal. The structure is necessary, but it is appropriate mothering which makes a mouse a mouse, a lion a lion, and a human a human. Without real mothering the animal may look like others of its species, but it has become something else, something unnatural, something different and less than it might have been.

Chapter Seven:   Are Mothers Necessary?

I once read a book which posed the question, "Are males, or more specifically fathers, necessary once they fertilize the female egg?" On a strictly biological basis, after fertilization the male is not necessary for the embryo to grow and develop. The fetus grows in the mother's womb and after birth is nourished by her mammary glands. We evolved as a species in which the development of our offspring takes place in relation to the mother, not the father. This is not true for all animals. In the sea horse, for example, the embryos reside in the father's pouch, and the mother is not involved at all with the fertilized eggs. Most newborn birds, on the other hand, are cared for by mother and father. Both forage for food to nourish the young and both participate in feeding them. Among bees and other social insects the whole colony is involved in caring for the fertilized eggs.

In human societies fathers usually do play a role in their children's development. However, their role is largely determined by their society. Fathers may or may not participate in infant care. The age at which their influence begins to emerge and the degree of their involvement in their children's care varies greatly between cultures. This is because they have no biological role after conception. Among the first people father was a nice supplement to the first human family consisting of mother and child. Rather than, as the old song goes, "And baby makes three," it was more likely, "And father makes three."

The question, "Are fathers necessary?" can now be asked about mothers. Are mothers necessary after a baby is born? They are necessary prior to birth while the fetus is growing in the mother's womb. But after birth, whether we like to admit it or not, mothers are no longer necessary. A good nurse will do or a stay-at-home father or a central nursery or a day care center. Mammary glands are no longer needed either. Formula in a bottle is supplied by manufacturers and can be administered by anyone. With the right gadgets, the caretaker just has to prepare the bottle, and the baby can feed itself. If not right after birth then soon after.

The milk bottle and infant care practices which physically separate infant and mother have eliminated the need for the natural mother. The mother, ignoring the unique mammalian characteristics with which she was endowed, becomes no different than the male of her species. Like her male counterpart, she does not have a biological relationship with her baby after birth. Lacking a biological connection to her infant the mother's behavior, like that of the father's, will chiefly be guided by cultural custom and belief.

The elimination of the natural mother's biological role in caring for her infant is not a recent event. In fact, throughout civilization in many parts of the world, it became customary for mothers who were wealthy to not take care of their children at all. When the first mothers started vanishing, they weren't replaced by fake mothers immediately. Fake mothers are a recent addition to the world. Babies were kept alive and nourished by wet nurses. Bottles filled with animal milk or pap (grain mixed with water or milk) were available, but they were less relied on than the wet-nurse. Wet-nursing, which was an established and well-paying profession from ancient times through the nineteenth century, did not lead to the creation of fake mothers, but rather to no mothers. You see, after the first people vanished mothering was no longer valued or considered important. Indeed, it was looked down upon. Taking care of babies or children was not for the better people, the people with more. It was a job for servants, the people who were less. A wealthy mother who nursed her baby or wanted to actively take care of her children was viewed as strange, eccentric, and even crazy. Only poor women had to take care of their offspring. A mother was not ashamed of, or dishonored by, not mothering as she would have been with the first people. It was more of a humiliation and a mark of poverty if she did mother.

Mothering had fallen into disrepute. Not only was it lowly and animal-like for a mother to mother, but it was seen as harmful to children. Everyone knew that real mothering led to mothers becoming attached to their children and to having tender feelings in regards to them. This could result in mothers indulging their children and not wanting to live separate from them. This was the wrong prescription for children if they were to adapt to the real world - a world run by and for hard guys. In a male-dominated world fatherhood, not motherhood, ruled. The artificial compact of father and son had replaced the unity of mother and child. Mothering was not only loathed, but it was downright dangerous. It could upset the apple-cart by making the world more caring. The elimination of mothering was not an accident but a necessity for civilization to progress. Rome and the modern world were not built on a foundation of tenderness, but rather on its absence.

The history of childhood in civilization has been described by those few who have researched it extensively as cruel and abusive, with one author calling it a nightmare. Infanticide, abandonment, physical and sexual abuse, and exploitation as a source of cheap labor were common occurrences in children's lives. Historically, cruelty to children has merely reflected the cruelty inflicted on all individuals - a characteristic of most civilized societies. Children, having less power, were just more vulnerable.

It has only been in the past few hundred years that the conditions of childhood have improved. Infanticide and abandonment of children are now rare. There are laws against child abuse, and child labor is regulated. The social reforms of the last two centuries have improved the lot of everyone. Recognition and respect for the individual and his rights increasingly includes children as well as adults.

We have become aware of the fact that children need more than physical care. They also require love, attention, and stimulation for normal development. Our problem now is how to provide them with what we know they need. Natural mothering, which evolved to match the needs of babies and young children, could easily satisfy our children's requirements. But we have spent centuries finding ways to eliminate the necessity for mothers to mother. Our values, priorities, and traditions discourage the kind of mothering all human children evolved to have. It is obvious, if we are honest, that our society does not genuinely value, honor, or give priority to mothering. We do not really know if mothers even want to mother anymore. The current trend is for mothers to work while others care for their children. The cry of mothers is not for the opportunity or right to stay home so they can care for their babies, but rather for more and better day care facilities. Is it really true that many mothers do not take care of their children because of the necessity to earn a living? What would happen if our government began to pay women to stay home and take care of their children instead of working? Which would they choose? Of course it is foolish to even ask the question since our government has only recently passed a law which gives mothers the security of having a job to return to, should they choose to temporarily stay home and care for a newborn.

It is probably true that most mothers still experience a tender connection to the life they have created. Civilization has not yet been able to totally destroy the ancient connection of mother and infant. But for mothers to act on their tender feelings, they must have an enormously strong belief in the importance of mothering. Without such a conviction the individual mother will be unable to overcome the values and priorities of our society, which, from the moment of birth, will oppose her efforts to mother in the manner natural to our species.

That bring us to another question. "Even though mothers are no longer necessary, do children need mothers?" We know that babies evolved to be cared for by their mothers for a long time after they are born. We also know that they were meant to develop in a relationship of human tenderness. Are our substitutes for mother equivalent to her? We know that formula doesn't match human milk, but babies can live and grow on such a diet. But how about the other part, the human part? Milk bottles with formula and plastic nipples don't prevent the caring, tender interaction of mother and infant. They just make it possible for a baby to develop without it. And that is what milk bottles have done for millions of babies - allow them to live without tenderness. From my view, that isn't good; it's bad - bad for babies and children and mothers and, when these babies grow up, bad for everyone.

Babies and children who successfully elicit a tender response from their mothers on a consistent basis grow up to be very different from those who do not. They learn that they and the world are good. The others learn that they and the world are bad. It can be no other way. If you have the power to produce in others a good response, then you are good. If you have the power to produce a bad response from others, then you are bad. If you are consistently ignored and met with no response or with indifference, then you have no power at all. You will not even know if you exist, and you will have to go about proving that you do, even if it eventually brings a bad response. It's better to be hated than to not exist.

Nature provided a nurturing mother to perpetuate parental genes and the species. Accidentally, it also made humans good to each other. Goodness was not nature's purpose. It's just that we humans feel good when someone cares about us. It was humans who created the bad by not responding to their children's need for tenderness. But every baby gives the world a new chance; each has the power to elicit the good.

In our world we have discovered how to take the mother out of mothering. We have made mothers become no different than anyone else. We have made mothers unable to appreciate mothering. We have taken the good out of mothering and made it bad. Once a mother does not have to be there for her baby, once she and her baby are separate, she is no more qualified than anyone else to take care of her baby. She is no longer special or equipped to do the job. Stripped of the compelling biological forces that will keep her attached to her baby, she will usually become involved in the physical tasks of infant care rather than in being one with her baby. She will lose sight of her essential task, which is to be there for her baby's security and satisfaction. She will accept and believe cultural thinking which pretends to know better than she does what her baby needs from her. She will not understand that she can only be a real mother if she behaves as the human animal that she is - nurturing and protective of the life that she has created. She will not know that mothering is merely commitment to a life other than her own. She will not learn that this is not a sacrifice but an affirmation, a yes to her own existence and power as a human being. She will miss out on the opportunity to pass on the good. In the natural world in which we evolved giving birth was not enough. Mothers continued after birth to give their babies that which they required to grow as human: themselves. To become human, in its broadest sense, babies need more than care; they need the experience of another human being's commitment to their life. They need to know that someone is there for them.

We have found new ways to keep babies alive. Babies no longer need their natural mothers to live and develop as their ancestors once did. We have substitutes for mother, and she is no longer necessary after her baby is born. Thus, we have eliminated the necessity for commitment to, and responsibility for, each other. Throughout the history of civilization hosts of individuals have grown up lacking the experience that someone cared for them as a child. They may have been taken cared of, at least to survive, but no one cared. Until recently hardly anyone even cared that no one cared. Today we know that children need love. But love is a tricky word. It is subject to all kinds of fake stuff and is often used to conceal a lack of responsibility and commitment. "But I love you," is frequently said to compensate for not being there or for being uncaring. The difference between love and commitment is that love is an abstract concept, meaning it's an idea, whereas commitment is real. Adults, as well as children, often do not know if they are loved, but they sure know when someone is there for them.

The point of all this is simply that mothers are no longer necessary, but every baby needs one. Babies and children need mothers because nature made it necessary for someone to be there for them. Mothers were the guarantee. Now, some mothers don't see this as an unfair burden put on women and some mothers really are there for their children. And some fathers too. And some mothers do find substitutes for themselves who really are there for their children. But that isn't true for most children. There simply ain't nobody there. We have been able to replace natural mothering with wet nurses, milk bottles, formula, pacifiers, cribs, heated rooms, security blankets, teddy bears, love, attention and quality time. But we haven't found a substitute for human commitment or for the kind of caring that states, "I am here for you; you are as important as I am." It can't be done by saying these words. It has to be real, and it can only be real if someone does it because children don't need love; they need someone who is there for them. That has always been true, is true today, and will be true in the future unless we find a way to change who babies are when they are born.

Postscript

At birth every infant has the potential to make the world more caring. Their need for a tender, nurturing mother can be met, or it can be denied. Most babies in our society fail. They do not get what they evolved to have. Is it any wonder, then, that our world is such an uncaring place?

When we begin to face the truth about babies and what they need and are willing to provide it for them, then we will be on the road to becoming human again. We will not have to pretend to ourselves and to our children that we are a caring people. It will be obvious by the results.

 


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