People used to know these things intuitively. It makes perfectly good sense to believe that human females, being mammals, possess a maternal instinct. And it makes sense to believe that the instinct is not a social construct.
Certainly, the social institutions that have been entrusted with ensuring the nurturance of babies take the maternal instinct into account. They designate a baby’s mother as the person best equipped to nurture the baby. The same applies to an infant and a toddler.
The notion that the gender of the lead parent does not matter is an ideologically-driven illusion. It runs directly counter to everyone’s intuition and now to scientific fact.
A recent study from Europe shows that pregnancy changes a woman’s brain, the better to prepare her to care for her child. This should not come as a surprise.
The New York Times reports the research:
Pregnancy changes a woman’s brain, altering the size and structure of areas involved in perceiving the feelings and perspectives of others, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Monday.
Most of these changes remained two years after giving birth, at least into the babies’ toddler years. And the more pronounced the brain changes, the higher mothers scored on a measure of emotional attachment to their babies.
The changes increase a mother’s emotional attachment to her baby and enhance her sensitivity to the baby’s needs.
The study took place at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain. It was led by Elseline Hoekzema, a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
She concluded, the Times reports:
Pregnancy, she explained, may help a woman’s brain specialize in “a mother’s ability to recognize the needs of her infant, to recognize social threats or to promote mother-infant bonding.”
Researchers wanted to see if the women’s brain changes affected anything related to mothering. They found that relevant brain regions in mothers showed more activity when women looked at photos of their own babies than with photos of other children.
Obviously, we all want to know whether expectant fathers experience similar transformations. The researchers discovered that they do not:
The researchers also scanned the brains of 17 men who were not fathers and 19 first-time fathers before and after their partners’ pregnancies. The two male groups showed no difference in brain volume.
Culture warriors have put in an enormous amount of time and effort ridding the language of all references to the difference between the sexes. They have forced people to neuter parenthood, replacing mothers and fathers with lead parents and not-lead parents.
In truth, the language was right all along. Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. Mothers and fathers do not relate to babies and even to toddlers in the same way. This means that babies are best cared for by their mothers.
Or perhaps by another woman who had been pregnant herself.
Since we have already seen that babies are especially attuned to the sound of their mother’s voice, it does not make a lot of sense to think that it does not matter which parent is bringing up baby.