Is Maternal Instinct Really Instinct?
Human kind, like any other species, is led by its instincts. Our body is an amazing contraption that developed itself during course of the centuries, transferring genetic material and information with it. Few of the things remained the same over the course of the history. One of them is the maternal instinct that develops in women during and after pregnancy. This is a basic behavior which is of utmost importance for human reproduction cycle. Without it, the babies would be left unprotected, without a proper care.
This instinct is what made sure that we, as a race, continue growing and learning new things and developing ourselves to the point in which we are today.
Basic maternal instinct is a byproduct of one particular hormone. This hormone is called oxytocin; it is created in brain and afterwards sent to our bloodstream. It is no wonder that people refer to it as a “love hormone” or “bonding hormone” because it is precisely what it does. Introduction of oxytocin to our organism brings about positive emotions; when we kiss a baby or when we hug beloved person, this hormone makes us feel elated and full of positive feelings. Trust and loyalty are regulated through it. So, it is no wonder that both mother and the baby feel so closely connected the first time when they touch each other.
At that point, large amount of oxytocin is released into our bloodstream leading to this behavior. Similarly to that, women that don’t have similar feeling, usually have issue with low level of oxytocin in their organism. In some cases, additional supplements are recommended in a form of nasal spray or sublingual drops. Both of those should replenish the level of oxytocin in your organism allowing you to feel all the positive emotions which a mother should feel.
It needs to be said, that this hormone doesn’t affect only bonding with child; it influences the entire maternal process and pregnancy. Lactation and other functions of the female body work better when there is a high level of oxytocin in the organism. Furthermore, scientific research has shown us that female with abundance of this hormone are more likely to adopt a new baby and embrace it as its own. Even if the child is unfamiliar, female will do their best to protect it.
Like any hormone, there is an optimal level which is suitable for oxytocin hormone. Low levels would cause many troublesome symptoms and this would impair our social behavior. Bonding with other people would become much more problematic and we would have hard time joining certain groups. The most devastating issue would be lack of oxytocin during the pregnancy. This would mean that the woman couldn’t properly connect with its child and it would be much harder to establish a natural bond. In some cases, this could even lead to post pregnancy depression which was fueled by lack of maternal sensation. It is of utmost importance to control the level of oxytocin during and after childbirth.