Friday, 9 March 2012

Mother Love

My son has a birthday tomorrow and it set me thinking about a mother's love for her child/children. I suppose you can say that it is unconditional. One thing is for sure - you never stop loving them and you never stop worrying about them, however old they are. I am sure I am not on my own in feeling like this. All one wishes is for one's children to be happy.

It was brought home to me in a wonderful film on BBC2 last evening about Grizzly Bears in Alaska. The whole film was fascinating because the chap who narrated it lived literally side by side with a whole lot of grizzlies for the whole of the summer. They seemed to largely ignore him and he was able to observe them fishing, mating, feeding and generally going about their business.
But as far as my topic today goes, the thing that was interesting was the absolute devotion the bear mothers showed for their offspring. Tiny little cubs - most often two but in one case three - running after mum, tumbling, playing, bouncing about (but always keeping up with mum). And, by golly they needed to keep up with mum as Grizzly males are not averse to the odd snack of baby bear. These mother bears needed to keep their wits about them twenty four hours a day. It was the most charming film.

And still on the topic of mother love, our neighbour, who has a suckler herd of cows, had a cow calve the week before last and the calf was born dead. So on the Friday morning he went to our local Auction Mart and bought a calf for her. She had only been calven for twenty four hours and he fully expected her to accept the new calf. No such thing. She flatly refuses to have anything to do with it, so now they are left with a calf to feed by hand for the next few months until it is old enough to look after itself. Very sad, particularly as this now means that the cow will probably go to market and be sold for beef and is it unproductive to keep her unless she is suckling.

At lunch time today this got the farmer and I talking about one of our cows (who was destroyed when we had foot and mouth disease) - number 55. She adored calves and in summer, if a cow calved overnight in the field she would steal the calf and coax it into the far corner of the field. The mother would be calling for it, but fifty-five would be looking after it and enjoying every minute of it. She would have had no difficulty in accepting that calf last week.


John Gray said...

ah the mothering instinct
I shall never know!

Heather said...

I heartily agree with your first paragraph Pat.
I was surprised that cows should differ so much over accepting another animal's calf and for some reason expected them all to have the same instincts.

jill said...

I know just where your coming from,I think that when you say a child is for life you should also say worry and love come with a child for life (does that make sense).Poor little calf having no mummy and then getting the shove from another,hope it is ok.Love Jill xx

Jinksy said...

Maternal instinct varies in animals and humans - if you have it in spades- be thankful! LOL

H said...

Worry! Just a bit!! Bringing up children is so stressful!

Sorry to hear you had foot and mouth! Was it actually on your farm? Such a terrible disease!! What an awful thing to happen.

angryparsnip said...

awwwwwwwww Mothers are Mum forever. A very Happy Birthday to your Son.
Let there be Cake !

So sad about the Mum cow, she is grieving and now will be sent to slaughter.

cheers, parsnip

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely comments - also I think John Gray has got mothering instinct in spades - why else does he have all those wonderful animals?

Bovey Belle said...

Definitely something you are born with, says the woman whose children called her "softy mummy"!! My two girls have left home now, but our son is still with us, and I still carry on worrying myself witless about them.

Bless No. 55 - wanting to be surrogate mum to everyone's calves. What a shame the one you had last week wouldn't accept a new baby to feed.