There is No Motherly Instinct

Definition of Instinct by Merriam-Webster

1 : a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity <had an instinct for the right word> 2a : a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason b : behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level.

One of my first college classes was Psychology 101. ¬†I needed the course as a core requirement. ¬†In hindsight, I probably should have continued on and maybe … just maybe I wouldn’t be the basket case that I am today. Pftt! Bull sH!t. ¬†I’d still be a hot mess. ¬†Notice I said “hot” maybe that is part of my grandiose disorder whereby I think I’m all that and a bag of chips. ¬†But the lady doth protest too much, me thinks. ¬†I think the opposite … I believe I am a lost cause and I FEAR I have passed that trait along. ¬†Funny side bar rabbit hole … in Shakespeare’s time, protest meant to make a solemn affirmation (not denial). ¬†Here the use is the modern classic denial. ¬†Hello, I am J-dub and I have oh so many problems.

Back to instinct, in particular that of the motherly persuasion … my professor in PSYCH 101,¬†the affable AD Mackensie, put forth the notion that motherly instinct does NOT exist! ¬†What the what ?!?!? ¬†That is blasphemy! ¬†The class believed motherly instinct was the CORE of civilization. ¬†Our classroom debate became animated! ¬†As students tossed out examples, to each one he countered. ¬†No he shut us¬†down!

His point was simple. ¬†If motherly instinct was in fact true, there’d be no child abuse. ¬†All mothers would be instinctively perfect. “You see” he told the class “the conscious level and more complex thinking actually makes what we call motherly instincts are really¬†learned behaviors. ¬†Running from a predator is an instinct. ¬†Raising a child has too many conscious actions to be called instinctive.”

Hmmmm??? ¬†Pause for effect …

To me, forever obsessively thinking, I could see his point and¬†I was momentarily silenced. ¬†His power position over me, had de nada to do with my quick acceptance of his suggestion¬†though this change of all that I held true would become a theme with me and the various professors that I liked. ¬†Easily persuaded much? ¬†Why yes, yes J-Dub¬†was easily persuaded. ¬†Mind you, I had not yet become a mother which allowed me to be open to the idea. ¬† I thought “could it be?” ¬†To me, no motherly instinct seemed quite logical.

Which brings me to today. ¬†My motherly instinct is kicking into overdrive. ¬†I am physically sick with worry. ¬†I dreamt about Lulu last night after a day back and forth with fraught texts messages. ¬†One quick phone call but mainly, “I’d rather not talk but can you stay with me by text”. ¬†This even as she was in the company of other people. ¬†At least I do not think she was alone. ¬†Always hard to tell. ¬†Last night I even texted her the Beach Boys Kokomo and Bing Crosby’s Swinging on a Star¬†by which I used to sing her to sleep.

I woke up with Cyndi Lauper’s time after time playing on a loop in my brain. ¬†I realize the song is about lovers but could¬†the song also be about relationships in general? ¬†This part in particular:

If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting
Time after time

Sadly, ¬†I can’t catch her EVERY time. ¬†“I fall behind. ¬†The second-hand unwinds.” I can’t control circumstances. ¬†My choices are only¬†my own. ¬†She has her OWN choices to make while I helplessly watch. ¬†I am prepared for the worst! ¬†Hoping beyond hope that the worst never comes to fruition. ¬†And then, in a flash of brilliance (there goes my self-diagnosed grandiose disorder again!) I have come to the formidable conclusion that there is no worst case scenario. There is but scenario. ¬†And thankfully we have the POWER to choose how we¬†deal.

If you have read this far, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. ¬†Feedback is the gift I most crave. ¬†I miss the spirited dialog of being a student. ¬†For all those teachers out there, know you are worth more than gold. ¬†A precious, precious commodity with the privilege to mold and shape those of us willing to learn. ¬†And for that I give my most sincere thanks!!!!

As always, more to come.