Mother’s Day: Why is Mother’s Love Unconditional?


Mother’s Day is around the corner with the worldwide celebration on the 12th of May to take a day out to recognize all the efforts that our mother put for us with selfless and unconditional love. With many people planning something special for their mother, let’s spare a few minutes to check on her mental health.

Neurological Perspective of Mother’s Love

What mothers sacrifice for the upbringing of a child is unquestionable. But what happens in the brain that provides the beauty of maternal love? The brain system for dopamine reward and interoceptive (perceived within the body) information are directly linked with mothering. Through neuroimaging, it was observed that when an infant is in trouble, the mother’s brain has seen activation in major areas; signifying the intense mechanism of neurons that result in maternal love.

Read More: The First Feeling of Becoming a Mother

Evolution of motherhood

Mothering is witnessed in almost all species in this world. Anthropologists have recognized the first instance of motherhood two million years back. Research has shown that this motherhood has given us what we are. From our large brain size to the development of feelings of empathy what makes a man a social animal in its truest sense- motherhood played a crucial role in the evolution of the human species. Our species, homo erectus, had a lot to develop from infancy and childhood which would not have been possible if the mother at that time hadn’t provided a lot. A human infant is much more dependent on the mother than any other species, if mothers hadn’t catered for the developmental needs, it is possible that humans wouldn’t be much different than apes and other species.

Read More: Why are Human Beings called Social Animals?

Motherhood as an Identity

The most prominent change women can see in their lives is motherhood. The transition from a woman to a mother impacts every aspect of her life, from professional and social to personal and emotional.  Motherhood itself becomes an inseparable part of her, eventually turning into a major portion of her existence. For centuries, women’s role was inclined toward nurturing along with domestic chores but today this era has diversified with women manifesting new dimensions. Motherhood unfortunately often comes at the expense of professional growth when a society with a patriarchal mindset fails to give the right basic support.

Read More: Are we still fighting the Patriarchy?

Post-natal Depression in Mothers

The postnatal period is the time just after giving birth. Post-natal depression occurs within a year of birth when the mother faces symptoms of a sad mood for a continuous period, frequent irritability, and difficulty in eating and sleeping regularly. Post-natal depression is often misinterpreted as baby blues. They are two different concerns. Baby blues occur within the first two weeks of birth due to this big change and this feeling often subsides itself quite soon. Post-natal depression is an accurate diagnostic mental illness like major depressive disorder. Around 22% of women in India face postpartum depression, with a global average of 10-30%. This higher prevalence is because a women go through severe physical changes in her body due to pregnancy, emotional changes with hormonal shifts and social changes as a new and limited sense of identity.

Identity crisis and adjustment Syndrome

Motherhood is indeed one of the most special chapters in life. Rediscovering and recognizing this identity is a fulfilling journey in itself. But many women appear to feel lost, with so much love for their child, they get deeper into this role that they forget who they were before it, the person that she was with their preferences. Fitting into this role is full of contentment, a woman along with being a mother, must not lose herself in this process. It is a need for your individuality that helps maintain a better mental well-being. When a mother has a high self-image, her child learns from her as she is the primary caregiver, indirectly cultivating a positive self-image for the child. So, if you are a woman, acknowledging and respecting your needs apart from mothering should not give any guilt, it also helps your child to have incidental learning and achieve a better sense of self from childhood.

Read more: Supermoms – Are They Real? Unraveling The Perceptions of Indian Employed Mothers

The psychological impact of Breastfeeding

It is known that breast milk is highly beneficial for an infant’s nutrition. But its benefits for mothers are also often overlooked. So, it’s not till the pregnancy, that nurturing is a whole new step in the direction of motherhood. During the process of lactation, oxytocin and prolactin are released; these hormones are responsible for physical changes in the body but research has established these as a pillar for healthy maternal psychology. Along with building a connection with the child, the regulation of stress is supported through breastfeeding.

Acknowledging the subtle roles

A mother’s love is indeed unconditional, but it does not imply that it can be ignored. Every person has or has a sense of dependency on their mother. Since these needs of dependency are often met directly without any complaints, people often tend to take them as bit granted. Appreciating small gestures that mothers do can be the first step.

Management with Motherhood!

A mother wants the best for her child, but this is only possible when she cares for herself as well. The role of women often gets limited to domestic life with the start of motherhood, majorly because we, as a society, have failed somewhere through holding patriarchy. Mental health is a taboo, making it much more difficult for mothers who are confined within their roles. It is hence the need of the hour that this Mother’s Day, the mental well-being of all the mothers who are working tirelessly is focused.

This Mother’s Day, along with the big gestures of giving gifts and posting a picture with the mother, let’s also focus on her mental health. A simple question of how are you feeling lately can be the first step to helping the woman with her emotional regulation who taught us what they are in its truest terms.

Citations +
  • Lanjewar S, Nimkar S, Jungari S. Depressed Motherhood: Prevalence and Covariates of Maternal Postpartum Depression among Urban Mothers in India. Asian J Psychiatr. 2021 Mar;57:102567. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2021.102567. Epub 2021 Jan 29. PMID: 33581370.
  • A mother’s love. (2022, September 19). Harvard Medical School. https://hms.harvard.edu/news/mothers-love
  • Smith, E., & Smith, E. (2023, March 3). Identity Crisis: Rediscovering Yourself in Motherhood. DFWChild. https://dfwchild.com/identity-crisis-rediscovering-yourself-in-motherhood/
  • https://tghncollections.pubpub.org/pub/8-the-psychological-effects-of-breastfeeding/release/2
  • Nova. (2009, October 26). The evolution of motherhood. NOVA | PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/evolution-motherhood/
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