Posted by: sarahsilke11 | January 17, 2013

Women – Naturally Nurturing or Taught?


        From Tuesday’s class discussion, one thought has been resonating within my mind; is there such thing as motherly instinct? My entire life I have believed that women are naturally nurturing and intrinsically know how to take care of an infant, but also have a natural awareness of tending to the needs of others. As young children, we are taught how to act and do things from our mother, but these are more or less life lessons, rules, and values our parents pass on to us. When it comes to a woman growing up and caring for a child, most women prefer to become educated and learn how to take care of a child properly, but for most of the road ahead with raising a child, the majority of tasks and nurturing come naturally. Books and our mothers can teach us what is right and what is wrong in child care, but no one can ever teach someone how to care or how to be a natural mother; which is why child birth is such a changing process because your whole world changes and automatically you want to nurture and care for this new born baby. Society has taught us over the years how to better care for our children in order for them to grow up healthy and strong, but women have been the stay at home care takers for centuries, ensuring the child’s nourishment, growth, and beginning education, while protecting them from the world.


                For me, nurturing breaks down into two parts: the emotional side and the action portion. The emotional side deals with the feelings women possess of naturally caring personalities coupled with love. This is the area which is most instinctive because no one can teach a person how to become attached to something; they must physically feel that connection themselves, which most commonly occurs with a child. In raising a child most mothers know automatically when to feed their child, when the child needs sleep, and how to calm their crying baby; all for instinct and feeling the child-mother connection. The action component to this is where the opposite side to this argument comes into play, where nurturing can be seen as taught. In acting the part of a nurturing mother, a lot of the time we are informed and aided by our own mothers, or an outside figure, how to put a diaper on and what items you will need to protect your child from things in the house. However, I believe as women, we cannot nurture just through acting, but we must contain both the emotional and active parts. Overall, I believe nurturing is instinctive, where women do learn what we should do, but more often than not we act on instinct as this is what I need to do, tying in the emotional, caring nature.


                Finally, as proof to my view, I tie in an example from nature. In the image below a mother tiger is nurturing piglets. Now although this piglets aren’t hers and aren’t even of the same species as she is, she still has the motherly instinct to know that they need to be fed and kept warm. Humans, as advanced as we have become, are never too far away from the biology of the animal kingdom around us. Animals rarely ever grow up with their parents in the wild so they never have the chance to be taught how to take care of their own young someday. Yet, nature keeps reproducing, as we see animals naturally taking care of their young and nurturing them into full grown animals every day. By examining this example in nature we can see how female’s biological do have this innate sense to be nurturing and caring and although we can be taught how to properly and more effectively raise our young, the basis of our care comes naturally.



  1. Okay, those pictures are too adorable! Thank you for your post. I also believe that nurturing is an instinctive act. In the wild, creatures procreate as a natural process to try to keep their line. It would be extremely useless for a mother to ignore and allow her child to die in the wild because of a lack of nurturing care. It is a situational process that is inherently present in all. Some are better at expressing it than others but that is an individual difference. Without the nurturing “gene”, it would be unheard for anything to live to an adult age. It is more than an emotional bond and although socialization may increase it, I believe it is inherent.

  2. I think I’m going to have to side with you both on the fact that the motherly instinct is a biology at work, but I thought just the idea that perhaps it was a social construction was really interesting to me. I had never even thought about that until it was brought up in class and it really made me stop to think about something I’d never really given a second glance before. I think this semester is going to be interesting in that way – there is a whole variety of opinions to be heard and I’m sure some of them are going to completely challenge my former concepts or ideas. I’m really anxious for that because I think that is really where the ‘good’ conversations and thought processes are born! Thanks for sharing the cute pictures!

  3. This post really caught my eye at first because of the picture of the pigs in tiger disguises but then it really got me thinking: if women are naturally more nurturing, how much will a child’s personality or life style be affected if the mother is the one who goes to work and it is the father who stays at home to take care of the children? I see to know a family where the mom was the provider and the father operated as the nurturer. I’d be really interested to observe their family and see if it made a difference I the way their children were raised and operate.
    Another thought I had was whether or not the a mother or father was raised as a child would make a difference in the matter if who would work and who would stay at home. For example: if a child had a mother who was never there for her and the father was the one who was always there for her, would she be more inclined to stay at home and take care of her own children or let her husband be the one because she knew a man was carpal or if raising children.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Whoops! I meant capable, not carpal

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