Whatever happened to maternal instinct?

The choice not to pass on our genes seems against nature, writes Barbara Amiel


 
Whatever happened to maternal instinct?

Suzi Eszterhas/Corbis

This past year, for the very first time, more white Americans died than were born. The reasons seem pretty obvious. Children cost oodles, abortion and contraception are freely available without social approbation. Modern women have many choices apart from motherhood. This is all splendidly rational, only one aspect eludes me. What’s happening to the universal maternal instinct? Babies are being born of course and Hollywood celebs wear baby bumps like a new It handbag, waiting for the scheduled C-section on a convenient day when motherly love kicks in. Still, most of the women I know of child-bearing age aren’t bearing much except a vague notion of harvesting their eggs. Was it only in 19th-century novels—written by men—that all women longed to be mothers, often risking their lives for newborns?

We Homo sapiens are a curious bunch. I suppose the sapiens part is the problem. Alone among the millions of species on Earth, we have this burden of free will that allows us to make the most ghastly mistakes as well as great advances. Still, the choice not to pass on our genes seems against nature. In the BBC’s Earth documentaries, David Attenborough intones in the voice of a becalmed saint teaching cherubim: “Life’s final challenge is to pass on genes. Ultimately in nature that is what life is all about.” And Attenborough’s not just talking about mammals or invertebrates. He’s talking grasses, for heaven’s sake—the fight of struggling little shoots in Antarctica.

I didn’t know that the thumbnail-sized strawberry poison-dart frog climbs a tree equivalent in difficulty to a human being climbing the Empire State Building to find a safe home in a bromeliad flower for her offspring. Watching that little frog, tadpole on her back, purposefully edging up the bark six times for her six tadpoles is to see an accomplishment of mythic proportions. For other heroines, one can’t do better than the Pacific octopus, which produces 100,000 eggs, searches the ocean floor for a safe nest where she stays for six months, cleaning her eggs of algae, caressing them with her tentacles while she slowly starves. As eggs hatch, she blows water over them to aid birthing—her final act before she dies and newborns swim free. Wagner couldn’t do better.

Nature is programmed to survive and reproduce and whatever changes in the environment occur, species adapt in ever more creative ways. Subspecies of goby fish can change from female to male, climb up thundering waterfalls to reach quiet shallow breeding grounds, live on land when stranded in mud and jump high in the air to attract a mate for their breeding. Humans don’t have to do any of these things. We choose to mate but not to breed. Or on breeding, we can chose abortion.

At 24 years of age in 1965, I was scared stiff on discovering I was over four months pregnant. The older women at the CBC where I worked all seemed to know I was with child but chose to say nothing—out of courtesy, I suppose. My world had ended. But I was a tenacious idiot and unearthed an abortionist (who went into practice later on with Henry Morgentaler). The cost was a sky-scraping $400. The abortion was done in a boarded-up storeroom on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue, complete with the mandatory naked light bulb and dentist’s chair as an operating table. No anaesthetic. The abortionist was careful and loaded me up with antibiotics before Emergency claimed me.

A few months later he was arrested. It would be many decades until the act that jailed him would get an Order of Canada for Dr. Morgentaler. And until I looked at fetal development charts for this column, I never understood what was inside me: a tiny being with limbs and fingernails that might have felt discomfort as the doctor’s instruments murdered it. I couldn’t wait another four months and have the child adopted, let alone climb up a tall tree to find a safe home for it. Though I fully support legal abortion (as a dark necessity not as some precious human right) I rue our need for it.

If the octopus had free choice, would she choose not to breed rather than hang around waiting to die? Some thinkers say the maternal instinct in humans is just “learned” behaviour. Women have been programmed by a patriarchal society aided in modern times by television, church and advertising. I think we only have to look at our primate relatives who don’t go to Mass or read feminist books to see this is nonsense. Although there are cases in nature where mothers reject or destroy a child, whether it’s birds, bees or primates, the females nurture and the father protects. Great herds migrate thousands of miles, facing exhaustion and famine to give their young the best breeding grounds. Birds fly over the Himalayas and butterflies over continents to rest on nourishing milkweed for their eggs. Though it’s the male emperor penguins who band together in lonely vigil through two months of night in -70° C to protect their eggs while the females go off to gather food, in general there are few things as evident across the spectrum of existence as the maternal urge.

Perhaps it is rank sentimentality, that cheapest of thrills, that brings tears to my eyes when I watch the graceful mating ritual of weedy sea dragons mirroring each other’s movements as they dance into the underwater night to mate and transfer eggs onto the male for safekeeping. Perhaps it is the shadow of errors my free will made. Meanwhile, having your daughter view the BBC’s Planet Earth or Life series would be a cool move. Even better, it’s in most public libraries—taxpayer dollars paying for material extolling the propagation of life—even while we pay Dr. Morgentaler’s followers for its extinction.

Have a comment to share? barbara.amiel@macleans.rogers.com


 

Whatever happened to maternal instinct?

  1. Massive overpopulation. That’s why women aren’t burning to breed, and I hope the trend spreads to India and China as quickly as other facets of Western civilization.

    • Not overpopulation. When women are educated they tend to breed less. Not wealth but high education causes women not to bother reproducing. But Amiel is wondering how the basic instinct to mother young children is missing. Perhaps due to foresight.

      • I think she is actually talking about women wanting to have babies, and that she is referring to that as the ‘mothering instinct.” I don’t think that that is what is meant by that term. The maternal instinct was about raising – nurturing – kids, not simply giving birth to them.

        Way back, women didn’t have the opportunity to plan whether they would get pregnant, and weren’t driven by some instinct to get pregnant, most of the time.

        • s.a.mcpherson sounds right to me. Maternal instinct in our primate relatives and other mammals, and probably our own species, is triggered (hormonally triggered) AFTER the act of giving birth. The decision not to have children is taken by homo sapiens long before.

          • And that maternal instinct was nature’s way of ensuring another generation, through the mother bonding with the infant and wanting to nurture it until it was able to take care of itself. Whether there actually was or is such an instinct is hard to say. But nurturing was the mother’s task as they were the ones who could breastfeed and, especially in the early days of humankind, monogamy wasn’t the custom and it was only the mother’s relationship to the child that could be known for sure.

            As far as the actual desire to have children at any given time, would either men or women – or male or female animals – have that on their mind when their passion for sex took over? As time went on, contraception was invented, and the idea of choice for women.

            Even though many women have wanted children and planned to get pregnant, I don’t think that is the same as the ‘maternal instinct.’ I think that bond between mother and child is something that comes after the birth, as JohnPedant says. I think that not all women feel a maternal instinct – a situation that could be compared to a women taking a degree program in engineering and then realizing it wasn’t what she really wanted to do so switched to something else. The bonding didn’t occur afterwards, as expected.

          • there was no ‘maternal instinct’ to breed among any species but humans. every other species has a specific time of the year when they are able to breed. humans are the only mammal that does not have a specific (heat or rut) breeding period, usually either spring or fall. Humans are the only species that can get pregnant any time of the year

          • As I said, “Whether there actually was or is such an instinct is hard to say. But nurturing was the mother’s task as they were the ones who could breastfeed and, especially in the early days of humankind, monogamy wasn’t the custom and it was only the mother’s relationship to the child that could be known for sure. ”

            There’s no proof of there being a maternal instinct in humans. If there is, it may not apply to all women equally. In fact you are probably one example of that. Or – have you not had a baby yet to test the theory?

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Just quote the relevant part, in response to my saying that humans weren’t originally monogamous, but that monogamy was the ideal of traditional marriage.

            You don’t talk as though you have been through university. And where did I suggest that women were inferior to men?

          • Monogamy has been around since humanity began. it was 20 odd years ago that I took that class and read that book. it goes something like; women promised to be monogamous as long as a specific male promised to provide protection, shelter, food, and help raising the kids. and what does a university educated person sound like as far as you are concerned.
            every second thing you say says women are wrong for having sex with more than one man in their life and belong in the home raising kids because you did

          • Yes, when the nuclear family became the norm, and I imagine that had something to do with religion, it was both the man and woman vowed to be faithful. We’re talking about history, right, and social customs, not what I believe or what you believe – your personal beliefs.

            As you know, being a student at one time (?), you learn things that have been verified to be the truth, and so can then talk about such things objectively. Eg Gladiators once fought lions. that doesn’t mean I was a gladiator, or that I fought lions. that is known as a fact.

          • the nuclear family has only been the’norm’ since Victorian times. before that people lived together as a generational family with grandparents spouses, uncles aunts, etc all under one roof, something you’d know if you were anywhere near as educated as you pretend

          • Sue, if a mother doesn’t bond with the baby there are usually issues with the mother’s mental well being. It likely means she has post partum depression.

          • healthcare insider,
            You make it sound as though the cause of a mother’s inability to bond is post partum depression.
            Even if there is such a thing as maternal bonding, when a woman has post partum depression, the fact she doesn’t bond with her infant would be a result of her depression, not the reason for her naming her illness ‘post partum depression’, wouldn’t it? It just becomes rather noticeable that she doesn’t want to look after her baby. But who would, if they are really depressed and unable to function in everyday life?

            I’m sure there are varying degrees of bonding that women experience after having a baby. And maybe some of it is caused by guilt – you know, that knowledge that looking after baby is what they are expected to do if they want to appear like caring human beings of the female type. Once you start to care for an infant, it becomes a habit and most mothers would probably do all they could to ensure their child thrives. Saying it’s an instinct might not be accurate, and I’ve not heard that there is any proof of such a thing.

            As for not being able to bond with the infant meaning there is definitely something wrong with mom, psychologically, I doubt
            that there’s any truth to that. Lots of moms probably go out to work, if they feel not that close to the little one and don’t like changing diapers. Maybe if they were not allowed to go out to work they might get ill, psychologically. On the other hand mothers surely can feel a bond with their children without having to stay home with them 24hrs/day.

            I recall, during an interview I taped with my mother, her telling me – and sounding a bit frustrated about the recollection 60
            years later, how hard it was teaching field hockey to the girls at the boarding school when she had a small child (my older brother) in tow. Knowing her, she would have been out there on the field with them (Phys ed teacher, wartime England, hubby overseas).

          • You are mistaking the matter. A mother desiring to go to work or getting a babysitter so she can “join the girls at the boarding school playing field hockey” does not indicate a failure to bond and nurture her child. Who said anything about “liking to change diapers?” I am talking about the fierce protectiveness and unconditional, overwhelming love one feels for the infant you have just given birth to. Anyone who says, you are going to find ‘joy and fulfillment” in the day to day, unrelieved drudge of doing exhausting housework and child care is a liar. You do not get paid and you not get thanked.

          • I wasn’t suggesting that situation as an example of not bonding. I just meant that a woman doesn’t have to stay home and not work in order to be a good mother.

            Yes, I know all about not getting paid and not being appreciated. But I wouldn’t agree that one’s emotions have to be so overwhelmingly strong, as in “fierce protectiveness”. We don’t live in the wilderness. There are no enemies waiting to snatch your children. If a mother is that hypervigilant, there is something wrong with her. And I don’t know what you consider to be “unconditional, overwhelming love” in the typical household where disability or disease is not a problem. What’s not to love about an infant? But it doesn’t have to overwhelm a mother. Let mom play hockey!

          • I never suggested a mother did have to stay home, did I?
            As for your not agreeing that those emotions “have to be so overwhelmingly strong”. I am not saying they “have to be”, I am saying they typically are. If you think back to when you gave birth, were not overwhelmed with the depth of love you felt for that little creature?

            You are talking about rationality and basing protective feelings on threats of disease, etc. etc.
            I am saying a mother’s feelings toward their infant are not based on anything rational. Trying to rationalize those feelings is like trying to rationalize the feelings of infatuation and overwhelming lust that sometimes exist when a person is in a new adult relationship. It isn’t rational. It just is. If a mother feels no love for the child, the mother may be experiencing post partum depression.

          • No you didn’t say that. But neither was I blaming the mother (mine) who at that moment had preferred to play field hockey than look after my brother.There’s a huge variation between “overwhelmingly strong bonding” and no bond at all. And I would suggest many women hide their feelings at least some of the time, for fear of not being perceived as “good” mothers. I recall my mother telling me she didn’t want to go to work but had to. That wasn’t the truth.

            I don’t recall what I felt, except I know it was painful at first and a lot of work. The idea of the family was important to me and there was reinforcement for that. Of course, how those around you feel influences your response also. Bonding is supposed to take time, and for all we know, for some mothers it could be the same as some marriages, where the bond is not mainly emotional but based on commitment. ‘Love’ itself is just a word that has many meanings.

          • I think women often attack one another and undermine each other, eroding confidence about parenting. I think that is why it is often best NOT to discuss it with people. My advice is to surround yourself with people who think like you do because you will need a cheering squad. I also believe that a happy mother makes for happier children. If you are happier working, you should do that but don’t be judgmental about the woman who are happier staying at home. The last thing I believe is that you need to be there everyday. If you do work, then don’t be filling your other time with “me” activities like golf and all these other things that separate you from your kids. If you don’t want to spend real time with them, don’t have them. I can tell you there are a lot of parents of adult children who feel their kids have no time for them now. Well perhaps you need to reflect on the past and see what choices you made.

          • I’m not seeking advice. Why are you giving it? I’ve raised my kids.

            I can’t take your advice even if I thought it was right for me. I discuss these issues because they are important for society, for mothers and women who aren’t too sure. Many women are surrounded by people – women? – who tell them motherhood is not the way to go. And that is a problem in the world today.

            If you want to surround yourself with people who think like you then do that, but if you respond online in comments’ sections, you will get other points of view. And it doesn’t mean they are seeking your advice.

            The point is, if women are waiting to feel something, and they haven[‘t even had a child, they may be waiting a long time. If woman wants to do something for society for her country and perhaps her family, by carry on on the gene pool, she might want to consider motherhood and not just what she is hearing around her from career women.

            By the way, here’s something for you, for when you’re older:
            Menopause and Aging Femininity

            http://samcpherson.homestead.com/files/EssaysandWriting/MenopauseAgngFmnintySMcPherson.doc

          • Hahaha. Who would dare to give you advice? I know you are too old to need it. I only made the comments because sometimes younger women read these forums and some of them are struggling with being a mother of young children. With with the pressures to do “attachment parenting”, etc. it can be a little daunting to forge your own way. I don’t have to surround my self with people who think the way I do now because I am older and more confident than I was when I was a young mother but I still don’t chose to subject myself to people who would demean the choices I make and suggest those choices make me a bad person.

          • I still think, however, that this idea of feeling overwhelming love (called a maternal instinct) probably doesn’t apply to all women and shouldn’t be promoted as something all women should feel. If the idea of motherhood is one that fills young women with feelings of trepidation, then they shouldn’t feel they ought not to be mothers, or that they would have to fake “overwhelming love” as women sometimes have to fake orgasms, or think they should.

          • Feelings of trepidation are of course normal too but severe anxiety is not. Neither is ambivalence. I am not saying you shouldn’t be a mother, far from it but if you don’t have mothering feelings for your baby you should talk about it with your physician.

          • If you use the word “one” instead of “you” it looks less like personal advice. I think most women would realize that severe anxiety is not normal, whatever the reason. And of course, ambivalence is normal.

            I think most Drs would probably suggest that young mothers continue to do what they do, to care for the infant, and feelings will develop. Not feeling “overwhelming love” is not a problem, girls.

            I imagine I felt better about my first baby than my second. The second time around my husband was having an affair and when I got home from the hospital, at first without my premature infant, the husband of the woman he was having an affair with started calling me during the day. My husband’s idea of a solution was for us to move, so we put the house up for sale and moved to a nearby village – in the first 3 months.

            At the time, one simply accepts these things. People will accept pretty much anything. It was only later that I thought more about it and what I had to put up with. As for the Dr, he told me to feed my baby every 3 hours whether he wanted it or not. Within a few months he was a very chubby baby. I didn’t know how to raise a baby. Dr Spock was my guide. There was no internet. My children are now middle aged and doing just fine. My daughter doesn’t associate with me. I’m not good enough for her and she started to withdraw from me while I was living in England trying to sort out my PhD. See story of my life:
            http://samcpherson.homestead.com/StoryofMyLife.html . It’s difficult to write the ‘official version’ of one’s life because one might not want to include some things.

            I think in today’s world girls might feel they have to know everything and have financial security in order to start having children. I think if women want a child, they should go for it. If it’s their 3rd child, they might want to stop and think a little. A lot depends on the man in their life and their own ability to survive and thrive on their own.

          • Sue, I do use the word “you” but I have been a psych nurse for 18 years so I have listened to a lot of stories and provided quite a bit of education and yes, my share of possible solutions (advice) to problems. It is what I do for a living. I will definitely read the story of your life. It sounds like you went through a very difficult time when your son was little. I know a little about daughters who don’t speak to their mothers. It is a devastating thing for a parent, no matter what age the child is or how many other children the parent has.
            I have taken some extra courses in women’s mental health and I did a senior practicum in maternal child health. I have also cared for several moms with postpartum depression. I think it is wise for a new mom to express any concerns regarding her feelings to her physician or the local health unit. In my province of Alberta, the public health nurses can give extra attention to new mom’s with concerns. There are also little education programs where new moms from a community come together with their babies to get info about feeding and sleep and then go as a group for coffee. These women tend to form supportive coffee and play groups that last for years after.

          • When I was in England I ran into women who had problems with their adult daughters, but I don’t know if it’s my situation or that women here are different, but I haven’t heard it mentioned, except by one woman, when our paths crossed. Another one I mentioned it to wondered what I had done that my daughter wouldn’t have anything to do with me.

            I grew up at a time, I think, when a lot of women didn’t speak about what was going on. My mother never did, to me. And my husband refused to talk to me about sensitive matters.

            You would likely run into more mothers with a specific problem – such as post-partum depression, while other mothers who didn’t actually have that but the usual troubles of marriage wouldn’t seek out help. But as I said, there is a wide area between the actual pp-d and feeling maternal bonding. One thing I neglected to say, though I don’t know if I was fully aware of the significance of it when I was 20 or 23 was the fact that to see the life one has brought into the world is like seeing a miracle – Did I bring that into the world? It’s amazing. I think Barbara Amiel realized that eventually, as she says when she talks about the child she didn’t have. And I have come to see birth as truly something remarkable. I hear from a lot of 30 or 40 year old women whose main concern is money and power and career. It’s a shame that they are unable to slow down a bit and see how truly remarkable the process of giving birth is.

            Re my life story, I am not sure if I manage to get across how my marriage was for me, and how it influenced later decisions and ways of being, at university and in my life as I grew older. As I said here, there are some things I don’t want to talk about.

          • I do think women are very open now. We do know that everyone tends to feel “blue” around day 3 after having a baby due to a rapid drop in hormones. Some women however, don’t recover the way they should. There is as you say a big difference between feeling blue and post partum depression but we are finding that will all mental illness, post partum depression is really a spectrum illness that runs along a continuum from wellness all the way to post partum psychosis. Women who don’t have success in breast feeding or who had to have an unplanned c-section sometimes feel an overwhelming sense of failure that they can’t seem to get past. Events like this signal that something is not quite right in their coping skills and that they might be at risk for a bout of depression. Feelings of ambivalence toward an infant can signal the same thing. From a risk/benefit perspective it is far better for a public health nurse to be more aware than less aware of these risk factors. Public health nurses also discuss the increased risk of domestic violence with new parents following the birth of a child. Domestic violence increases after any stressful event, happy or sad.
            I appreciated the miracle that a birth is…not with my own but when I witnessed by sister give birth. When I did it myself, I was in pain and I wanted it to be over.
            Regarding your life story…wow…I don’t what to say…it is quite overwhelming. I will have to take some time to digest it all.

          • You probably only see women who are willing to be open, so don’t get to see the ones who aren’t.

            I studied from the perspective of sociology so of course don’t tend to take a purely psychological viewpoint on a lot of social/mental issues. I don’t see it as rational to include normal people in a spectrum of postpartum depression, although of course there would be a wide variation of symptoms among women suffering from it. And I don’t see that feelings of ambivalence towards one’s infant is a sign of anything except being normal. A mother who sometimes gets fed up with mothering and would rather not have to be there with her child isn’t suffering from anything except normal parenting syndrome. Sometimes some of these regulations are able to be used against vulnerable people within society in less than ethical ways. People should be wary of that. It might even give social services an excuse to take a child away from its mother.

            I think it is said that men get jealous of the attention a mother pays towards her infant, or even during pregnancy. That sounds reasonable, if he has been the centre of attention. The miracle of birth might be easier to appreciate the greater the distance one’s personal experience from the miracle. At the time, I thought the sitz bath was the greatest miracle of all.

          • Actually, I saw a lot of new mothers during my senior practicum in maternal child public health when I did well baby home visits. The vast majority were NOT in anyway out of the normal presentation for a new mother. I also saw of course a lot of new mothers in my training in post partum in the hospital. What was very interesting was the gamut of infant behaviors I saw and the effect that can have on mother/infant bonding. When you mention mothers who are “fed up” with parenting and ones who are more vulnerable, the mothers of the colicky babes come to mind. It is very stressful to have a child that cries incessantly and that as a mother, you cannot soothe. It is both frustrating and guilt-inducing.
            These mothers have to be given extra credit and given the chance to take a break. In public health in Alberta they never try to take infants away from parents. Everything is done to try to facilitate keeping infants with parents. Yes, a health nurse tries to identify problems and tries to get resources so they are solved quickly. There are extra services for higher risk populations like teen moms, etc. I had a friend who thought we went into the home to check it for cleanliness…that was the farthest thing from our minds. We checked the mom’s flow (bleeding); the babe’s latch if the mom was nursing; set up a first vaccine appt; made sure the mom had enough food, etc, a roof over her head; heating and safe place for her and her children. We provided phone numbers etc. for help if she needed it. We did a weight & checked the babe for hydration if it was required. If necessary, we did followup visits or phone calls. It is a very friendly, non-threatening, informative service. There is also a service in Calgary where I live called the Children’s Cottage. It is a free service that is available for stressed mothers. They can drop off their kids, no questions asked for 24 hours. Social services will often use it when a mom with no family support is hospitalized. As long as the mom calls there every 24 hours, the children can stay at the facility.

          • Well, you’re doing your bit. Mothers need all the help they can get if they are going to take on this unappreciated, undervalued job.

          • Sue, I think it’s probably a tad difficult for people to hear you with such a condescending tone i.e. “Health care insider”. Not only is it unnecessary, but it undermines what you’re attempting to do here.

  2. Wealth is the reason for this. It is the wealthiest nations that have the lowest birthrates. Wealthy women just don’t breed… there is a cornucopia of reasons for making the choice not to breed, but I would bet dollars to dimes it is either wealth (career reasons) or generic self interest (It’s not the right time, I don’t want to be tied down ect…) which in many instances, is largely influenced by… that’s right! Wealth.

    • wealthier people tend to be better educated these days as well and realize that we are destroying out world with overpopulation.

  3. “This past year, for the very first time, more white Americans died than were born.” [emphasis added]
    I wonder: How much of Amiel’s concern is sparked by the degree of pigmentation displayed?
    As a whole, the world’s human population continues to spiral out of control. Globally, maybe more women, not less, need to learn this “selfishness”, for the good of us all.

    • Right! Everyone knows black is beautiful and white isn’t.

      • Not saying there is anything wrong with being white (I am, as is my daughter) – it’s just that, based on her statement, Amiel’s concern seems to be race-driven. She seems very concerned about the diminishment of those of European descent on this continent. By implication, then, she sees something wrong with those of a different background.
        As for who is or isn’t beautiful – that’s an “eye of the beholder” thing. I’m dating a black woman who I think is beautiful, and she thinks my white face is good-looking (God knows why ;-))

        • One has to look at this on two different levels, at least. On the personal level, there’s nothing wrong with a white person and a black person getting together simply because they like one another and colour has no part in their judgement of their relationship. And neither should others judge that. But on a wider level, in our underpopulated country of Canada, with a fundamental beginning based on the First Nations and British and French, to lose that history, that heritage, to a mixed breed of inhabitant? Any purebred dog owner would know what I meant. It’s not about not liking the rest, but enjoying what the original citizens brought to our country.

          Maybe Amiel didnt want to mention immigration, or didn’t think to, but that is the alternative on offer, if Canadian women and men of whatever colour or race or nationality keep on with their diminished will to conceive. So, no, I don’t think Amiel’s concerns are race-driven; rather they are driven, I think, by the fact that women here, but not in India or Pakistan, are choosing not to give birth. In China, another overly populated country as are India and Pakistan, I do believe, there has been a limit put on number of children per family – one.

          Some countries might be altogether quite happy to come here and fill up Canada with their productive families. Is it racist to ask if that is what we want? Have you looked at British newspapers about immigrants there? Do you see what is happening to Britain?

          We can all believe in diversity, but that doesn’t mean the domination through sheer numbers of one country’s inhabitants by another country’s. It’s fine if people fall in love with someone from another country, but chances are, at least 50% of men and women will marry someone like themselves in cultural origin. know it’s not considered nice to talk about that sort of thing. It’s like aborting girls, or aborting fetuses with Down’s syndrome. Striving for perfection or purity is supposed to be demeaning to human beings, but not to dogs, cats, horses, bulls and cows, etc.

        • Maybe Amiel didnt want to mention immigration, or didn’t think to, but that is the alternative on offer, if Canadian women and men of whatever colour or race or nationality keep on with their diminished will to conceive. So, no, I don’t think Amiel’s concerns are race-driven; rather they are driven, I think, by the fact that women here, but not in India or Pakistan, are choosing not to give birth. In China, another overly populated country as are India and Pakistan, I do believe, there has been a limit put on number of children per family – one.

          Some countries might be altogether quite happy to come here and fill up Canada with their productive families. Is it racist to ask if that is what we want? Have you looked at British newspapers about immigrants there? Do you see what is happening to Britain?

          We can all believe in diversity, but that doesn’t mean the domination through sheer numbers of one country’s inhabitants by another country’s. It’s fine if people fall in love with someone from another country, but chances are, at least 50% of men and women will marry someone like themselves in cultural origin. I know it’s not considered nice to talk about that sort of thing. It’s like aborting girls, or aborting fetuses with Down’s syndrome. Striving for perfection or purity is supposed to be demeaning to human beings, but not to dogs, cats, horses, bulls and cows, etc.

  4. There is no natural mothering, nurturing instinct. Over the centuries humans have drowned, exposed, sold and enslaved their off-spring. Culture has promoted the idea of ‘motherhood’. as some sacred thing we’re all inclined to…it keeps the numbers up. For workers, soldiers and converts….and outdoes the heathens. ….the revenge of the cradle.

    However, we are no longer monkeys, or primitive humans at the mercy of nature. And we are less tribal and more individual. We can now choose.

    • Exactly.

      My husband and I won’t require future farm hands, or apprentices to the family trade. We don’t require heirs to our landed property and titles. Wealth and education has created choice. And when it comes down to it, I’d much rather bear a child that I know I can love, unconditionally and enthusiastically, rather than for the sake of proclaimed societal truisms.

      • ‘Every child a wanted child’….that was the hope

        • That saying is about abortion – a reason for it.

          But that’s not the same thing as your first post which is about whether or not women have an instinct to nurture their babies after they are born. And that has more to do with the liberal feminist notion of women having the choice to work alongside men in the workforce instead of having to be stay-at-home mothers.

          • No, the saying was about contraception. Something that used to be a huge issue in our society.

            If a woman wants a child iin the first place it’s more likely she’ll nurure it…..but it’s not instinctive

            ‘Liberal feminist’ notions have nothing to do with it. Birth control and abortion have been around for thousands of years. So has infanticide….by either parent.

            The idea that women should stay at home and be moms is a recent one in history….and a middle class idea at that.

          • The saying ‘Every child a wanted child’ is about contraception, as you say, and also about abortion and family planning. But that’s just one issue that’s being discussed.

            The second issue is about the maternal instinct, which was a ploy the patriarchy used against women to get them to believe that, since they were the ones who gave birth to infants, it was up to them to stay home and raise them. After WW II especially, that was the mentality as jobs needed to be given back to the men – working class as well as middle class. It doesn’t mean no women worked, but a lot remained invisible and unfulfilled.

            See my life story: http://samcpherson.homestead.com/StoryofMyLife.html

            It was feminism that questioned that belief. And it was a liberal feminist idea that women should have ‘choice.’

            So there are two aspects to this discussion, one being whether or not to bear a child, and secondly, who is going to raise it.

          • Well for one thing there is no ‘discussion. Birth control and abortion are part of society now.

            Feminism became a popular cause in the 60s, but it wasn’t new in the world.

            Children are raised by nannies, by day care, by mom, or dad or both….that’s individual choice.

          • When I said that saying, Every child a wanted child, was part of the discussion, I meant by commenters and indirectly by Amiel though she doesn’t use that phrase.

            But it’s still not that easy – to just say any discussion of the subject isn’t taking place in society. Even that issue – of childlessness – is something that is being addressed by society right now. Yes, having only one child is changing things, but having none at all is also happening, and I think it is that that Amiel is really addressing – childlessness. And that is not the same as someone lacking a maternal instinct. People choose not to have children for many reasons, not the least of which is our govt and media constantly bombarding us with messages that we need to prepare for the future and save, save, save.

          • Well somebody somewhere may be discussing it, but the majority aren’t.

            If people wish to be child-free, it’s up to them.

            Population planet-wide is a concern and various institutions have been trying to control it for some time. They have discovered the best way is to educate women.

            People who want kids but can’t have them can adopt or try IVF or go the surrogate route. We are even able to have 3 genetic parents now.

            You seem to be making mountains out of molehills here, and I have no idea why.

          • It may be up to the couple themselves whether or not they have children, but Amiel, too, along with others, is wondering about the current situation.

            Steve Paikin had a program on recently – on The Agenda – to discuss ‘Childless by Choice’.
            http://ww3.tvo.org/video/192699/childless-choice

            You seem to be taking the view that having no kids is a good idea. But in the long run it isn’t good for society if women increasingly choose not to.

          • Amiel made her choice long time ago. As is her right.

            There are about 8 billion people in the world….it will probably reach 12 before it levels off they figure.

            We are in no danger of dying out as a species.

            Or are you perhaps referring to white people disappearing.

          • We may not be at risk of dying out as a species, but some subspecies are at risk of becoming ‘endangered’.

            China has a one-child policy – more for those who don’t mind paying a fine. The population of India is way up there with China – over one billion! And what do you think India is doing about it?

            It’s not the colour of anyone’s skin that is the problem but the culture of some countries like Canada and the UK, if they get taken over by another country, or countries. I know some people from other countries like to make as though we object to their cocour, but it’s not that. If they come over in the numbers they want to, they can overtake the rest of the residents and what has come to be Canadian culture. See

            Health cuts tell refugees they aren’t welcome
            By: Ritika Goel, Jun 27 2013:
            http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/27/health_cuts_tell_refugees_they_arent_welcome.html

            The Star didn’t publish my last comment so I shall provide you with the URL to a non gov’t-associated website that encourages potential immigrants to come to Canada, telling them how ‘rich’ our country is:

            About Canada
            http://secure.officio.ca/webs/company41/canada

          • Ummm there are no ‘sub-species’.

            There are no ‘races’ either….we all have the same DNA. Skin colour is no more important than hair colour. However there have always been fewer white people than any other colour….’whites’ have always been a minority.

            The only difference between people is culture….however it is artificial and changes over time and with events.

            Canada and the US are immigrant nations…always have been…and all us immigrants …old or new… have changed the culture. Damn good thing too…it’s why we’re advanced countries.

            The ‘old countries’ got too bogged down in tradition and war and history, and immigration allowed a fresh start for humans….a reboot as it were.

            Do you know at one point that immigrants came to NA because they believed the streets were paved with gold?

            Anyway, don’t worry about it. 90% of Canada is uninhabited….so we have plenty of room. LOL

          • There are biological difference between the different sub-species or ‘groups’ or ‘races-but-not-races’ which is what causes colour, and some tendencies to specific illnesses, and so on. But these aren’t as important as the culture to most people.

            Culture changes over time, but we don’t want the present culture of Canada changed into something non-recognizable as Canadian. Canada has its official languages, as well as the First Nations’s.

            Yes, I get your point about immigration, that “The ‘old countries’ got too bogged down in tradition and war and history, and immigration allowed a fresh start for humans….a reboot as it were.” That’s not why the first settlers came to Canada. They were exploring a new world for the first time by ship. But it is why some places like India might want to send over as many people as possible.

            And I’m not laughing!

          • We all have the same DNA. Colour differences are irrelevant.

            Canada has changed, and will continue to do so….and that’s a good thing. You been back to England recently? Chinese fish and chip shops….Tandoori takeaway….it’s all good.

            Culture can change over time, or it can change abruptly. It’s all part of progress in general.

            The first people in NA were escaping religious persecution, looking to make a buck, and to claim land for a king.

            There are about 200 languages in Canada….we only picked two of them for official purposes

            We’ve had Chinese, Indian, Muslim, black etc people in Canada from day one. They are all Canadian.

          • There are limits as to what should be tolerated. The practices of suttee and clitoridectomy, even though now illegal, are still practiced in parts of India. Immigrants can’t be let in just because they want to be.

            Canada will continue to change, but it doesn’t have the same strong foundation in history as England does. Let in enough foreigners, and where is the Tower of London or Stonehenge to inform newcomers that we actually have a way of life here built on a past of thousands of years? We don’t want anyone deciding to rename the Thames so they have a place to congregate on their holy days. And if they held the power, they could simply decide to do that. The govt of Canada may acted acted late when it comes to First nations, but it is trying. What is there that demonstrates that India or of any other country will have any desire to place the values and customs of Canada first in their lives if they gained power here? Fish and chips and curry are good, but those are small things compared to what might happen.

            If you don’t understand that English and French were the first languages (not to mention First Nations’s) and not just languages selected arbitrarily as Canada’s official languages, I don’t see that there is much hope for you.

            We have a history, and what happens in the future is based on that history, not on how people who know little and care nothing for Canada, except as a place to expand, decide to make it.

            Yes, all these people are Canadians. but at one time many of them not only weren’t, they came from countries very very different from ours, with little comprehension of ours even now, after they have lived here. Sometimes their logic is off, as I discovered from reading the article and comments, ” Health cuts tell refugees they aren’t welcome”, http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/27/health_cuts_tell_refugees_they_arent_welcome.html , as the subtleties and nuances of the English language, and of Canadian history (as your words suggest), are beyond them.

          • Tower of London?..Stonehenge? China and India have been around a lot longer than the British.

            Both of them currently have middle-classes larger than the entire population of NA.

            They both have billionaires and PhDs and everything. TVs, computers…..China has astronauts. Both have nuclear weapons.

            The UK and US don’t have official languages….we have 2….India has 18, South Africa has 11….

            My family is now 7th generation Canadian….and yet we let you in….which probably was a mistake…. seeing as you want to slam the door behind you.

            Sorry, the world is globalizing….get over it.

          • At this point, you can say anything and I have to accept it on faith – or should I. I don’t know your name, or what country your ancestors came from, or how long you have been here – though you do claim that your parents came here a while back. What I don’t understand is why you think English and French were ‘chosen’ from the languages available rather than them having some significance to Canada? You would have to explain that to
            me because it really is quite important, even if not simply to demonstrate that you have some comprehension of what is important to Canada’s history but to give some legitimacy to the views of an anonymous poster – you.

            I don’t think you understand what globalization means. It certainly doesn’t mean that people from the wealthiest/poorest of countries – eg India, get to come here and change everything, demanding access to free healthcare, and so on.

            I never wanted to slam the door behind me, and haven’t. I don’t have that power. But having people come here who already accept certain values and customs that so many of us grew up with isn’t such a bad thing. Keeping out people who just want to take the good from all that was have, leaving us with less for those who already live here isn’t a good idea. Putting limitations on helps in such circumstances, so that not everyone who decides to come here will simply be able to make that choice with no consideration of the effect on Canada or other people. We live in a world in which choice is valued just a little too much, as Amiel is trying to say in her article. So do we increase immigration? Or do Canadians try a little harder to reproduce what we already have.The answer may lie in both of these, but it shouldn’t lie simply in the wants of people from other countries.

          • I just got through telling you my family is 7th generation Canadian. Came here in 1848

            Oh, did it suddenly dawn on you I may be from India or China and you’ve insulted me? LOL

            Well you can relax….my family is from the IOM and N Ireland….but next time think before you post eh?

            I didn’t say anything about English and French other than we have two OFFICIAL languages, while 200 are spoken in the country.. Two cuts down on the paperwork, that’s all.

            Don’t be telling ME about Canadian history, hon…you just got off the boat. LOL

            I understand exactly what globalization means…I’m involved in it. ….and it means everybody gets to live and work all over the world….without ‘white settler countries’ and their nonsense.

            Canada has been accepting immigrants since 1867….and we’ve done just fine, so stop with the anti-immigrant crap

            There are 34M Canadians….we need at least a million immigrants a year to survive….and no, we aren’t going to be breeding that many people. LOL

          • And your last name is ‘One’ .

            You said the 2 official languages were a choice? Is that because you thought it was an arbitrary choice or because you have grown up seeing the world before you in terms of ‘choice’?

            Read those articles I gave the links for. Some of them share the same point of view as you, that Canada should submit to the wants of the rest of the world.

            It’s increasingly difficult to speak with you on these issues. Yes, we have been accepting immigrants for a long time. But the numbers have been rapidly increasing, and the demands they make also. If you cannot recognize social change, and refuse to foresee the negativity of some things that are happening, it is pointless to continue this,

            I have said nothing against anyone – any race. Quit with the language games, trying to make me look bad.

            So what if you really were 7th generation Canadian. What does make you – better than those immigrants who came over more recently? Better than my grandfather, who came here in the 1800s?

          • This comment was deleted.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Canada needs at least a million immigrants a year….for ten years.

            You,however, we can ship back to England

            I’ll chip in for your ticket.

          • What Canada needs is for its citizens to wake to the fact their sense of themselves as individuals is not good for Canada.

            Women need to see the larger picture, but they can’t do that unless everyone realizes the importance of motherhood.

          • Canada is well aware that we need fewer racists and kooks.

            Kindly go back to England.

            We don’t need any Lebensborn project here.

          • What we don’t need is a country in which money is everything, so that the division between rich and poor becomes even wider as the
            wealthier and educated immigrants are allowed in, and race and culture become irrelevant.

          • What we don’t need is people running around without their medication……especially when they openly advocate Nazi policies.

            Race and culture ARE irrelevant….and if you can’t keep up to the other immigrants that’s YOUR problem

          • A lot of women don’t like my writing on sexuality. You haven’t read some of it by any chance, eg my piece on sexual exploitation, in ‘Anne Kneale and Bill Mates: age, gender, and sexual
            exploitation’, Apr 14, 2013:
            http://suemcpherson.blogspot.ca/2013/04/anne-kneale-and-bill-mates-age-gender.html?

            Culture is never irrelevant. Ask any Jew or any Muslim or Hindu about their religious culture – or any Christian for that matter. Ask any black person who comes from a line of slaves. Ask any Irish person about their hatred for Britain. Oh, you say you are part Irish!

          • Religion is not a culture.

            I said N Ireland. Ulster in fact.

            Barbara Amiel is Jewish

            And after your Lebensborn nonsense I don’t intend to read anything else you’ve written

          • Right, but you’ve already read that piece on Anne Kneale, haven’t you. Women use their their sexuality, consciously or not, to get what they want and need out of life. I didn’t. I believed in marriage and family, and put everything into that, only to discover it wasn’t real, and there wasn’t always a reward for the hard work and sincerity involved in raising kids. It is any wonder women don’t want to be mothers any more. It’s far more important to have the career first, and then see . . ..

            Religions consist of cultural norms as well as the religious part – that’s what I said. Well, maybe Jews feel more strongly than most about the maternal instinct, though drawing that impression from just one article by one Jewish lady probably doesn’t make sense.

            Are you sure I can’t interest you in just one more piece? How about Feminism’s legacy: contributing towards social inequality:
            http://suemcpherson.blogspot.com/2012/02/feminisms-legacy-contributing-towards.html

          • No, I did not read it…nor do I intend to read anything else you post.

            I avoid Tree Monkeys and crackpots and you qualify on both counts.

            My inbox is now set to block any further messages from you.

            Ciao.

          • This is an older article on the subject of immigration, for readers here: We’re overrun’: Brits fear immigrants more than any other
            European nation, poll reveals. By ALLAN HALL 3 February
            2011:

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353362/Were-overrun-Brits-fear-immigrants-European-nation-poll-reveals.html

            There are more recent ones, to do with health and scarce resources – something to consider when it comes down to either helping Canada reproduce itself or having others do it for them.

          • nobody but you seems to think that you have the right idea, MOST of us are educated enough to know that the ‘traditional’ christian type of marriage is just evil, taking all rights a way from women. we fought hard to get those rights and we don’t need some backward idiot telling us we are stupid and wrong for not choosing to let some man make all our decisions..
            and by the way, I had kids. 3 of them and gave up a lot to do so because I raised them without the influence of a ‘christian’ family that told them the girls were subservient to the boys.

          • Even though marriage has its drawbacks, it is still a necessity for many women, or haven’t you noticed? Surely you don’t think all those female university academics are marrying out of love!

            Your name-calling language is appalling. And your interpretation of my thoughts even more so – if it is me you are referring to in that manner. Marriage shouldn’t mean a man makes all the decisions. But that’s one reason why feminists thought women should be able to go out to work. Having money was one way wives had a say in decision-making.

            Even Christian families weren’t totally geared towards making girls subservient. In fact, in some families in Edwardian times one girl might be chosen to be educated and have a career, others in the family might be raised to be housewives, while one or two would then be expected to look after their parents as they grew older.

            I raised my daughter to get educated and a good job and to be independent. The trouble with that generation of women who were raised not to be subservient is that they can have difficulty understanding how their mothers were the way they were, just as some mothers can’t understand their adult children’s ways.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Well, I didn’t say women needed marriage in order to be fulfilled. Now you’re just making things up.

          • judy100….I am not sure what age you are but I am 50 years old and I have two young adult daughters, one in her mid twenties and one who is just 18. I am aghast that you think a “christian’ family teaches girls that they should be subservient to boys.
            Now I must point out that my definition of a “christian family” is one that follows the rule of treating others with the same kindness you wish to be treated with yourself. I am not implying any sort of religiosity in using the term.

          • I’m sorry, did you miss the parts in the bible that say women and girls are property,(all through the OT) or the part that says women should not speak out in public but should ask their husbands what to say and do?(Saul/Paul). good christians follow those rules, ask your preacher

          • The bible was written a long time ago. Even the Catholics aren’t following the edicts of no birth control. I hardly think many are doing the subservience thing, a least not in Canadian culture.
            As I told you, I don’t do the religion thing so I don’t have a preacher. I do teach the “do unto others” bit though.

          • Have you not seen shows like the Duggars, or heard of families that won’t let girls wear pants, cut their hair or go on a date, because “good christian girls” don’t do that? your definition of a christian family is not christianity’s definition. your definition is secular, not religious

          • Well my kids went to a Catholic school and the youngest graduated grade 12 in June. NO FAMILY was like the Duggars. These “christian families” you are alluding to are of very different sects. They are not the typical everyday family you might run into at your local high school. I do happen to know of a religion that doesn’t allow dancing, tv, movies, pants on girls in public or haircuts for girls. This sect has no real church but the kids did go to public school and they did dress modern at school.

            Even the Mormons aren’t this strict and neither are born-again evangelicals. I not sure about the ‘holy-rollers’ (Pentecostal religion – speak in tongues). As I say though, what you are calling a “christian family”, is not typical of the way you are describing it. Even the pious Catholics are not doing what you are describing. I have relatives who have taken their “orders” (priesthood) so it isn’t like I don’t know some pious people. My daughters are friends with some pious Catholic families. Their kids are dating, bar-hopping, etc. WITH my kids.

          • I think you mean specific kinds of immigrants. the non white, non christian, non rich kind?

          • I haven’t had time to give this issue a lot of thought yet, but for now it is strictly numbers that are the problem – large numbers of immigrants and refugees who expect to be accepted her and to have their healthcare for free, right from day one.

            For one thing, we certainly don’t need loads wealthy immigrants taking jobs from the educated in this country. And we don’t need huge numbers of poor ones, unless they have sponsors, which is what my father had to have before he could come here. He also had to be healthy.

            See Health cuts tell refugees they aren’t welcome
            By: Ritika Goel
            Jun 27 2013
            http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/27/health_cuts_tell_refugees_they_arent_welcome.html

          • those were not the first people, hon, just the first Europeans. you totally forgot about the millions of people those ‘settlers’ killed to claim the land

          • those ‘differences’ you claim are purely familial, a wrong gene in one family that has been passed down through the generations, most of which, by the way were needed to survive in a specific area at a specific time, like cycle cell anemia has been discovered as a malaria resistant ‘ defect’ that is considered bad today but would have been a good thing 10,000 years ago before quinine.

          • I take it you are male?

          • Would it make a difference? what if I were black and male?

          • with the feminism, no, a women doesn’t have a choice, they are ideologists, putting career/job ahead of family/children welfare. Like every other activists they dared imposing their ideas on others
            And if you “choose” to be a at home mother, you are judged by other woman. My choice of “career” was stay at home mom, and it’s the best decision of my life. I am so proud of all the things my children have accomplished, because after all, you don’t raise children with money, but you do with values, times goes so fast, that the first thing you know, they’re gone on their own, and you have all life in front of you, I think it’s worth all the sacrifices. Now, i am the proudest mother, with a child, getting a doctorate this year, and by the way that child paid her own way all through 2 , almost 3, post-secondary degrees. That’s right, we, the parents didn’t have the money, for all that schooling, but hey, she still made it. when there’s a will, their’s a way, And that child taught me that everything is possible.

          • According to feminism, women should have the choice of working or staying at home or doing both. In reality, many women put work first because everyone is pressured to make sure they can support themselves, now and in retirement.

            I’m glad you and your husband are happy your daughter did well at university. I recall when my brother pulled his daughter out of university where she was doing sociology (same time and place as me, doing my MA). He thought she should do something practical. It isn’t always as easy as “if there’s a will there’s a way.” For my MA thesis, by the way, I wrote about the transition of menopause, with an interview-based essay based on that on my website:
            Menopause and Aging Femininity
            http://samcpherson.homestead.com/files/EssaysandWriting/MenopauseAgngFmnintySMcPherson.doc

            Everyone’s life is different. The problem for feminists was that not every marriage turned out to be so great as thought, when a couple married. That’s why they emphasized economic independence for women, and that meant going to work. Not all husbands give out references when the marriage ends, even if the wife deserved to have one, and are not beyond attempting to ruin her reputation in order to protect their own. More women in society seek power over their lives and the lives of others, attempting to find fulfillment in that way.

  5. I wonder if this is an effort by Amiel to get women to think again about their option not to have children. But calling the act of bringing a child into this world is not what the maternal instinct is all about, as far as I know. What feminists meant by the maternal instinct was that just because women give birth does not mean they have to be the ones to stay home and raise them, thereby missing out on career opportunities.

    Patriarchal society suggested that since women were the ones who gave birth, they were the ones who should stay home and look after them. That was the logic behind keeping women in the home.

    This is a different argument, trying to encourage women of the next generation that having children of their own is a great thing to do.

  6. ameil’s race bias is showing. who cares what colour someone’s skin is? skin colour is just another way to segregate people into the ‘have and have not’ the rich seem to insist we all belong to.

    • Skin colour per se isn’t a problem. In the past it has been a way to
      segregate people. But here’s another way of looking at it:

      Amiel talks about how animals take care of their young, all for the sake of
      reproducing another generation, a way of life that appears to have little or no
      meaning for the younger generation of female human beings of today who find bigger and
      better ways of finding meaning in their lives. But is this new way of life
      related to the ways this generation seems to be disconnected from their bodies –
      as females?

      Women today are encouraged to use the powers they have in whatever ways
      they can in order to get ahead, sometimes with disregard of the differences
      between men and women, or even an awareness of their own bodies. Certainly women
      are more into building their bodies up in strength more, possibly so they can
      compete with men more – on their playing field – doing what men do – in sports,
      war, and certain occupations once reserved for men. Even in sex – this hook-up
      culture which emphasizes men’s way of doing it which is, casually – it is women
      copying men’s ways, ignoring the possibility that as human being and female,
      they are different than men. I’n not suggesting there is a maternal instinct,
      only that women’s bodies are built differently than men’s and the consequences
      of sex are different. Thanks to contraception and abortion, women don’t have to
      pretend that there is any other reason for them to be here on this earth other
      than to do what they want to do. Amiel herself acknowledges this, in her own
      experience of abortion, being a person at that point in her life who didn’t
      realize the possibility her body held, being pregnant, which was to have a baby.

      Women have distanced themselves from their bodies – its functions, its
      differences from men, and yes, even its difference from other human beings. Why
      is it that many human beings insist on owing pedigree pets, not wanting their
      purity influenced by other pedigrees or mutts, and yet humans are supposed to look at
      black people and not see black. Why is it that some human beings can’t marry
      other white people and have white babies and not be made to feel guilty of
      racism?

      • I think you are totally wrong. women are so much more in tune with their bodies, we just realize that we don’t need men and kids to be complete. we also realize that we specifically do not need to reproduce for the human race to continue. as for skin colour, humans are the only animal that discriminates on the basis of skin colour

        • Women are so much more in tune with their bodies than what? You left your sentence incomplete.

          Women are not in tune with their bodies. Most believe they can have sex with men using men’s standards – it doesn’t matter who with as long (for women, as they can do their career some good) and the quicker the better. That’s what’s ruining women’s ability to connect with their bodies, sexually and otherwise.

          How often have you heard women say, We enjoy sex as much as men. That’s not true. Men and women are different. Each has different needs and desires and abilities. Their sexualities cannot be compared.

          The fact that you say you don’t need men and you don’t need kids to be complete indicates how disconnected you are from your own body and from the world we live in. We are all interdependent.

          As for skin colour it is the first sign – or was – that a person’s culture would be different from other people’s. But even so, not all people discriminate on the basis of culture or skin colour – no more than they do on the basis of gender, home ownership, or occupation. Animals don’t see in colour.

          • so, I take it you’re male? and women are so much more in tune with their bodies than their parents and grandparents were, and more than men are. stop spreading the lies that women are somehow lesser beings than men

          • Try reading some of the posts. I’m sure you could figure out my

            In today’s world women are more likely to rely on their Drs to let them know what’s wrong with them. Years ago, they were more likely to figure it on their own. Don’t all women go to the Dr now to confirm that they are actually pregnant, or going through menopause. Women may think about their bodies more, but are they actually in tune with what’s going on with them?

            Why do girls get drunk and then get into awkward sexual situations? Would they do so if they didn’t have so much to drink? How do girls handle it today if they are persuaded to have sex with their husbands without wanting it? Years ago women would say they would “lie back and think of england.”

            What do they say now? Do they say, I’m tired of having sex all the time! I have a headache? or What will you do for me?

            Where am I suggesting that women are “lesser human beings than men”? Women are forced to be out of touch with their bodies in this world. And it’s not men alone who are coercing them to let allow this to happen. Try saying No to men. It’s not only men who will punish you. It’s other women too!

  7. All that means is that white women are generally richer.
    Other colours will do the same if they get the chance. Raising kids is the default option when you’re looking for meaningful occupation because it has a low value these days. What use are kids now?
    And, maternal instinct doesn’t kick in till the oxytocin dose of childbirth.

  8. Once again, Barbara Amiel exposes her complete lack of understanding of the real world. In this unsustainable, overpopulated world, she bemoans the fact that the birth rate is falling – oh wait – that’s for white North Americans. So sad for you Barbara, that your myopic aspirations for desirable demographics should be at risk! Or should everyone be going forth and multiplying regardless of how finite our resources might be? Even animals know enough to reduce their birth rates when food and habitat grow scarce.
    As for the reasons for falling “white” birth rates, could it be that even white North Americans are finding it difficult to support a family because their real wages haven’t increased in decades? Could it be that the “choices” for women include either having more children or having a home to live in and food to eat? (Or is she expected to starve herself like your heroic octopus?)
    In the “good old days” we still believed that our children’s lives would be better than ours. Now, with greedy corporations, banksters and fraudsters running the world, the future doesn’t look bright for anyone’s progeny.
    (Speaking of ancient history Barbara, isn’t it time for a new photo?)

    • First, separate “unsustainable” and “overpopulated.” North America is not overpopulated, but is not reproducing itself the way it perhaps should – cannot sustain itself (depending on one’s perspective and whether one thinks white is still permissible).

      In another article, ‘Health cuts tell refugees they aren’t welcome’ By Ritika Goel, Jun 27 2013, we hear from people from other countries who are eager to come to Canada, some of which, like India, appear to be suffering from overpopulation: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/27/health_cuts_tell_refugees_they_arent_welcome.html .

      What’s more, some of them appear not to appreciate our white queen:

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/would-be-canadian-citizens-set-to-fight-oath-to-queen-as-discriminatory/article13160104/

      One question is, are white people allowed to see themselves as worthy of reproducing another generation in their own likeness without being seen as being racist? And secondly, do white people care, or would they rather the entire world become a mixture of colours and cultures, in which the majority will rule. And the majority, it seems, will not be white North Americans.

      No, not everyone should be going forth and propogating mindlessly. China isn’t. What about India and Pakistan?

      As for reasons for underpopulation in North America, you have forgotten feminism and the fact that a good many couples – middle class couples – now are dual-career, dual-income families some of which scarcely allow time or energy for raising families. See ‘Feminism’s legacy: contributing towards social
      inequality’, Feb 5, 2012:

      http://suemcpherson.blogspot.com/2012/02/feminisms-legacy-contributing-towards.html

      Other families, meanwhile, struggle to exist and thrive on what jobs are left over. Is the answer immigration? Or should Canada take more effort to look after its own needs, and its own culture.