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Tales Of Motherhood On Mother's Day | News, Sports, Jobs – Jamestown Post Journal

by Arifa Rana

May 8, 2022
It’s Mother’s Day weekend and there are buds on the lilac trees bordering one side of my yard, surely planted by a mother years ago. My husband and I will make my mother brunch and I will try not to miss my own daughters who live too far to celebrate this day with me.
Mother’s Day means just one thing,“honor thy mother” but it’s approached very differently by us all. Many, like my husband, whose mother died when he was fourteen, feel a sense of loss on Mother’s Day. He has never stopped mourning his own mother. Once in a while, he’ll make a homemade cake or a pie by himself and I know he’s reliving sweet memories of baking with her.
Today can also be hard for women who wished to be a mother but could not be, and for those who lost a child.
But at the very least, we can all marvel at the strong bond of mother and child in the natural world, whether seen in humans or other animals. It is true that nurturing and supporting our young is a biological imperative. The robin in our backyard nest protecting her babies has something in common with me: we are both mothers, and I am as devoted to protecting her young as she is. She has made a nest high up in our wooden trellis, behind the overgrowth of ivy, and I watch as she and her partner make our yard into their own little universe, collecting its resources to build a nest, feeding on the worms beneath the grass, choosing favorite tree branches to rest on near the fence. I am glad her family has become a part of mine.
I am reminded of a book I once read called “The Secret Life Of Cows,” written by a woman who has an organic farm in the countryside in England. At this farm, called Kite’s Nest Farm, nature is left to itself as much as possible and the animals receive exceptional kindness and consideration. They can roam where they like and make choices about where they’d like to sleep, and who they’d like to befriend. The author tells us all their cows have distinct personalities and because the animals have freedom, their personalities are more easily observed.
One cow, named Dolly, gave birth to a stillborn calf and after being made comfortable, the vet left her in the barn to recouperate after a long and traumatizing birthing process.
The next day, no one could find Dolly. She had vanished from the barn, and everyone on the farm set off to find her. She was found three fields away–a good distance–resting beside her own mother, who was licking and nurturing her mourning daughter. Dolly had seemingly set off in the night, seeking the comfort of the mother who had given birth to her and nurtured her as a calf.
Six days later, Dolly felt strong enough to resume life on her own and departed from her mother’s side. No mother-daughter interaction of this nature could possibly take place on factory farms where thousands of densely crowded cows lack free movement.
Elephants may be the most protective moms on the planet. Herds of females and children usually travel together in a circle with the youngest member on the inside, protected from predators. If one child loses its mother and becomes an orphan, the rest of the herd will adopt him.
Dolphin calves swim alongside their mothers right after birth. To help their babies keep up, bottlenose dolphin moms create a special kind of wake, called a slip stream, that draws the youngsters alongside them. Mothers and their calves develop an extremely strong bond, with calves staying with their mothers for up to six years before going out on their own.
It’s not surprising, then, that the whale is among the grandest matriarchs on the planet, since they are grand in every other way. Sperm whales, for example, nurse their young for over two years, which is really a rather lengthy commitment in the animal kingdom, wouldn’t you say? Many whale species maintain strong and long-lasting bonds with their children. Resident Orca mothers and their children stay together their entire lives, even after their children begin their own families. Mothers have just one calf every five years and they are known to watch over their young all day, everyday. And imagine this: calves don’t sleep for the first month of their lives, so mothers go without sleep too.
In the animal kingdom, all females have their own journeys through motherhood. Today is a day to recognize that bond and to cherish it. It has, after all, ensured the continuity of mankind and all the creatures that live in our world.
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