Amanda's Reviews > Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species

Mother Nature by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
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Sep 07, 11

Read in June, 2011

Really deep and thought-provoking look at maternal ambivalence. Maybe I shouldn't have read it just weeks postpartum — or, then again, maybe that was the perfect time. It's a dense, often disturbing read, because Hrdy pulls no punches when describing maternal behavior across species, cultures, and times. But it's freeing as well, in dismantling the myth of the Perfect Mother by showing us how very conditional a mother's affections actually are. The end comes back around to describing what it is that children, in their own evolutionary wiliness, demand of us as parents, so it ends on the note of "But you should be a good mother anyway." Again, maybe it was being so recently postpartum, but the wrap-up seemed a little spare to me.
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