I think it's about time we blew this Motherly Love thing wide open. I have always thought that whatever this thing is it's very suspect if not downright dangerous.
Motherly Love is clearly a Class A substance. It can keep you up all night and the next day in a considerably impaired state - yet is completely undetectable by the police should you choose to drive to the shops under the influence. On Motherly Love you have superhuman strength and can carry a pushchair, an 18 pound baby and 5 bags of shopping up the front steps without dropping your keys. It speeds you up; in the space of one half hour period you can do a load of laundry, tidy up the house, get dressed, change the baby, dress the baby, make breakfast eat breakfast and still have time to email your friends to tell them how tired you are and how you don't have time to do anything.
If you're in doubt as to it's hallucinogenic properties, consider this: Motherly Love makes everything So Interesting. A simple walk through the park turns into a journey of amazement as one stops to talk to every other Mother one passes. The smallest detail about one's baby is suddenly Extremely Important and not only that, but one has time to listen to other mothers talking about their babies as well. Skin, ears, hair, if it's on a baby, it's suddenly Riveting. Not only that, but every inch of the park is fascinating as well - the duck pond, the bark of trees, the paddly pool... One finds oneself introducing the baby to every shrub and flower and bench on the journey, saying it's name and reverentially dragging baby's hand across it's surface - a psychedelic trip into Wonderland.
On Motherly Love, one can lie beside one's sleeping offspring for hours stroking it's head, kissing it's cheek and having one's finger squeezed. One can tuck one's hand protectively around it and under it's bottom and just lie there smelling it's hair and basking in wonder and happiness (mainly that the thing is asleep, but I digress). Every feature is endlessly fascinating and should the baby awake, look up at one and smile, well the entire world explodes in little shiny bursts.
All is not roses however, no matter how much one believes one has turned into Superwoman as Motherly Love does considerable and potentially permanent damage. Firstly, hearing. While it appears to make hearing more acute and allows one to detect the slightest baby whimper during a tornado from half a mile away, this is in fact a trick. It actually creates a sort of deafness in which it is possible to have a leisurely lunch and even a shower while the baby is screaming at the top of it's lungs and not hear a thing. This can create serious problems as one's beloved partner can talk for hours about their terrible day and not one iota will register in one's eardrums.
Next, one has to take into account serious damage to one's eyesight. It is not only possible, but probable that one will leave the house wearing the particular badge of Motherly Love - a smear of white baby-vomit on one shoulder. One can even put clothes into the 'wear again' pile only to find under careful examination several instances of the badge on every single piece. One can look in the mirror and think that one looks great and only the unforgiving eye of the camera tells the truth about how dreadful things really are. When the baby gets up in the morning covered in scratches from his uncut fingernails, the Motherly Love abuser will feel awful for the first 10 minutes however after that will fail sequentially to notice the scratches until they disappear and even, potentially, fail to cut the fingernails either.
This brings me to the worst of it: Memory. This is the most pernicious and dreadful of the side-effects of Motherly Love. In fact it is likely that even one dose of the drug will impair memory permanently. I have, for example, already forgotten how awful the birth was and the only reason that I know that it was awful is that not only did I blog it several times, but I remember clearly telling my husband at the time that it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me and that I would never do it again. Well, but I would in a minute - in a second. THAT's how bad the effect of this drug has been on me. Forgetting to trim baby fingernails is the least of my problems. I have sat beside my infant while he has done a very noisy poo, and yet a couple of minutes later while ostensibly waiting for him to finish, I tried to put him into his pram without a clue why he was tetchy. I have gotten up in the night knowing that it was the second time I had gotten up and yet with absolutely no memory of the first. I have woken in the morning with the baby sleeping smugly in our bed and no memory of how he got there.
All in all under careful examination, it's likely that Motherly Love is a good thing, even though there will be casualties. Without it, mothers would suddenly be in a lonely and potentially isolated world where the washing machine always needs running, the house is always dirty and the baby is always in need. They would notice that they have had no sleep, often for many years. They would notice that they had not been eating well or regularly, they would begrudge having no time to shower and being permanently covered in filth.
Without Motherly Love, in fact, the whole business of Mothering would be a much less appealing prospect and life would definitely be nastier, more brutish and shorter (say, a few weeks long...) and the population would undoubtedly be smaller. In fact, given the current population, we can probably blame the entire environmental and political mess the world is in now on Motherly Love, however equally we can praise it, for without it's example, who would ever learn to love?