The Diminishment of the Maternal Instinct

Copyright © Larry Johnson 2019

It is a question that I believe many contemplate: what has led to society developing as we now witness? The following essay examines one reason of many, and it is my hope that other causes may be considered in subsequent critiques.

History demonstrates that women have been the moral backbone of society; providing stability and compassion in the family and community as the antithesis to waywardness of men. Of course, this is a generalisation, but I’m sure I would find a healthy representation from previous generations that would support this position. On a personal level, from my youth onwards I have witnessed and observed enough evidence to affirm this view.  Notwithstanding, these women were also tough and far from ‘shrinking violets’; they often had to persevere amidst the errant behaviour of the opposite sex. Many women had to raise the family on their own; as their husband was often, or always, sousing himself with alcohol at the local hotel; then arriving home either too irritable or aggressive to approach, or too slovenly to be much use at all.

It is not difficult to imagine how fatiguing this was for a wife and mother. However in days gone by it was nigh impossible for her to seek alternatives. Women were not the ‘bread winners’ in those times, and to take leave of the situation was of course not generally an option.

World Wars began and ended, and we are all aware of the fact that for the duration women were afforded the opportunity to earn the income while the men were away fighting. However, the conclusion of both wars resulted in a return to the domestic duties and life as it once was. The yearning for the taste of independence gathered momentum and by the 1960s had inflated to the point where the distension could not be contained; exploding with an all-out cultural revolution. The dependency on men, the sometime violence of men, and perhaps a growing boredom of the lifestyle was answered with the radical feminism of that decade, figuratively bludgeoning any opposition in its way. It continues to do so.

As the adage goes, history often repeats itself, and it appears that those who instigate and effect revolutions are prone to become as bad, or worse, than those being displaced. Excuse my digression as I ponder on examples on the French and Russian Revolution: where those doing the deposing engaged in barbaric atrocities often graver than previous errors. We could list more uprisings, some of lesser size but still producing violent consequences. I raise these instances to emphasize my point regarding the rebound effect of the women’s movement, which gained full momentum from the 1960s onwards. Those years from which came too frequent instances of oppression, perceived lack of opportunity and dependency erupted into a disproportionate over-correction. Women wanted careers not children, hence contraception and abortion were championed. They wanted free love; the option not to be contingent upon men. Seizing a momentary divergence I would posit that naivety blinded them to the fact that these reproductive (or rather non-reproductive) strategies played directly into the hands of men. The fact that was that men could now sleep around with much diminution of consequences should fathering an unwanted child result. I am surprised that the feminist movement of the 1960s and their successors didn’t perceive this. The feminist movements at the turn of the 20th century certainly did, regarding “free love, abortion, and easy divorce as disastrous for women and children”[1].

From that point on women began to take up careers, the development of which, regardless of protestations to the contrary, has moved with continuous expansion up to the current day. Now it is not that I deny the right for women to participate in all facets of society e.g. business, politics etc., but who supervises the children. Does the husband stay home? Does the wife stay at home? Do they both become part-timers?  An ever-increasing incidence of delinquency in children bears evidence that the ‘new’ method of raising children isn’t working. Where do the number jobs of a quantity able to accommodate the entire community come from when many households have both parents working? As there are now dual incomes, we require larger houses, larger cars, and larger mortgages. Financial strains impact and we can’t have what we want; we’re too busy for the relationship; we divorce.

I have the sense that women had become so envious of the lifestyle of men, craving some or all of the action: and it transpired that this was achieved. Women attained the ability to be as ruthless and conniving in business and politics; learnt to get drunk, cuss and fight like the boys and even play physical and collision type sports like their opposite gender. So those caring and womanly virtues that steadied society were replaced by pseudo-manly behaviour and attitudes. Women had become what they were once fighting against. The notion of children was put on hold so personal achievements – sport, political, business etc. – could be accomplished. Did the female revolution go to far? Did the revolutionaries become the same or as bad as those revolted against? What has become of the maternal instinct? What impact has this had on men? This last question will be considered in another essay.

In conclusion I trust that you will allow me a measure of reiteration in regard to the issue of abortion. If there is any clearer sign of women losing their maternal instincts than this horrific crime I know it not. I have stated previously that the women of yesteryear showed toughness: but this was a maternal toughness. They were asked to endure many hardships and generally their motivation for persevering was their children. No doubt there were illegal abortions sought and undertaken, but generally pregnancy – even if not planned or wanted – was undertaken with, at the very minimum, a sense of responsibility. The woman of former times was in no doubt as to what their womb was carrying. I base my view on the fact that, as previously stated, even feminist movements of bygone eras had abhorrence for the practice: they knew that it was life within them. So notwithstanding their situation these women were indeed hardy; but they didn’t have cold hearts. Sacrifices were made as the duty and care of their children within and without the womb was paramount. This current era has revealed an ever increasing desire of women to place their own needs and aspirations ahead of their children. Where cold hearts, pride, and selfishness overwhelm new life in the brutality of abortion, we see the fervent withering away of the maternal instinct.


[1] Abortion – the Ultimate Exploitation of Women by Brian Fisher ©2017.Cited Mary Ann Glendon, “The Women of Roe v Wade,” First Things June/July 2003. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/the-women-of-roe-v-wade-34.

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