Mother Love

Society has not always viewed “mother love” as a successful upbringing of a child. Throughout time the view of “mother love” and the way that a mother should raise her children has changed dramatically. The Medieval Period and the twentieth century with Dr. Benjamin Spock are perfect examples of the change of “mother love.” The difference between the Medieval Period and the twentieth century Dr. Benjamin Spock is that it proves that “mother love” wasn’t always present in the upbringing of children. During the medieval period it was all about reproducing as many children as you can, but not necessarily having any emotional connection with them. While the twentieth century was the opposite and mothers were to be attentive to children at all times and put the children’s needs before their own. These are two examples of “mother love” and how mothers raised their children changed overtime.

During the Medieval period “mother love” wasn’t very common. However, life was terrible for children born in this time period. Barely any had any connection with their biological mothers and were often raised by someone that had no connection to them whatsoever. Child abandonment, and the leaving of children in monasteries was accepted through society at this time. Mothers often wet-nursed their children, so they wouldn’t have to nurse their children on their own, and can simply bring another baby into this unfair world. Wet nursing is an act often done by the upper class in which they send their infant to be nursed by another women, who is a complete stranger, and usually poor (Lecture 1/17/2013). Mothers used to also swaddle their babies, which was when they wrapped their babies’ limbs tightly with bands giving them no space to grow and move around. This exemplifies that during the medieval period there was necessarily no such thing as “mother love” and children had no connection or bond with their biological parents. It was normal for children to solely be raised by someone who isn’t there mother and then go back to their family once they are older.

However, Dr. Benjamin Spock believed in something completely different and thought that “mother love” was necessary for a child’s upbringing. “Now mothers were really in a bind. Told by Spock to love their baby, they had to be careful not to love too much,” (Thurer 272). This quote portrays that women were puzzled by the way that they should raise their children. According to Dr. Spock mothers needed to be fun, flexible, child centered and follow the lead of their children not visa versa. Flexibility is very important in a mother according to Spock because there is no set age for them to train their child and they should be toilet trained and everything else simply when they show cues that they are ready. “Mother love” isn’t an option, it is mandatory for the psychological development of the child. The mother should be happy, and enjoy giving all her love and attention to her infant. A child needs inclusive attention from their mother for the first two or threes years of their lives. Dr. Spock believed that it is just as important for a child to be loved, smiled at, and played with as it is for them to consume their vitamins and calories (Lecture 2/5/13). This way that Dr. Spock expected mother’s to raise their children would cause each child to have an emotional bond with their biological parent.

In conclusion, Western Society has not always viewed “mother love” as an essential for the upbringing of an infant to be successful. This concept of “mother love” being necessary changed throughout time, and in a variety of different ways. The Medieval Period and the ideas of Dr. Spock during the twentieth century are perfect examples of this change in “mother love” and how one should raise their children. This image of how a mother should talk, act, and treat her baby has changed dramatically and rapidly throughout time.

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