I was astounded when I saw my first baby. Nothing had prepared me. Her eyes were sensitive, gazing intently with interest at whatever was in front of her. They were a person’s eyes. They belonged to someone who could obviously feel and think.
Her face looked utterly good and innocent. I wanted to give her my very best. But what was that? Was I good enough? Was our home worthy of her? Suppose daily life with us damaged the wonderful person she was?
I wish I had known then what I have realised since. A newborn needs real life, not some kind of sterile perfection. Nor does a baby need a mother who thinks all day long: ‘I love my baby.’ Love is a communication. This means that a mother who loves her baby conveys it anyway, by caring for her or him, whether she is conscious of loving or is simply absorbed in what she is doing. In How Mothers Love, I’ve tried to show some of the universal ways in which mothers express and communicate how much they love.
However, not all mothers find it easy to love their babies. Some experience mainly negative or very neutral feelings. I’ve discussed in How Mothers Love examples that indicate how, time and again, there seem to be precise reasons for these feelings. When mothers understand why they feel as they do, they usually find new energy to love their babies.
I hope readers will find plenty in How Mothers Love that they recognise. I hope it will be obvious that motherly love is not an impossible ideal but is communicated in everyday life. Most of all, I hope readers will begin to realise how much mothers give their babies through their love, and how this affects our whole society.
How Mothers Love is available now. For more information on Naomi Stadlen and her works please click here.
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