Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

The Effects of Being Motherless

Sad little boy, sitting on the street in the rain, hugging his teddy bear, summertime on sunset


“A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.”


– Princess Diana

A One of a Kind Bond

There is nothing like the closeness of a bond between a mother and her child. One of the most obvious reasons involves the fact that a mother carries her baby inside of her body for months! Talk about close.

At some point during the pregnancy, the fetus may begin to hear his or her mother’s heartbeat and/or voice. Experiences such as looking at the ultrasound scan or feeling the fetus move for the first time typically may lead to the mother feeling more attached to her unborn baby. If a mother chooses to breastfeed her baby, this is also another opportunity to develop a stronger, tight-knit bond.

Pretty woman holding a newborn baby in her arms

Motherless

Mother’s may be absent from their child’s life for a few different reasons including:

  • Passing away during childbirth due to possible complications
  • Giving their baby up for adoption – yes the baby will have his or her new parents, but not biological mother
  • Being an absentee mother and not caring for her child and possibly leaving the child entirely (mother abandonment)
  • Passing away at any point of their kid’s life

Adoption

A child who has been given up for adoption may develop a desire to know and understand why. When a mother has to make the decision of giving her baby up for adoption possible reasons may include:

  • Not being able to physically and mentally care for the baby, or simply not wanting the child
  • Not having enough finances and resources to make sure the baby is well taken care of
  • Living in a country where the amount of babies you are allowed to keep is limited
  • Adults who choose to adopt may do so because:
  • They are a single parent
  • Couples may not be able to have a biological child due to infertility or a possible unhealthy childbirth
  • They are same-sex couples who want kids

Maternal Bond and Adoption

Close Up Of Mother Hugging Son On Summer Beach Vacation

Biologically speaking, the maternal bond between a mother and her baby normally develops during the pregnancy months. Is the maternal bond still a possibility in cases where a mother adopts a child?

Because there is no definite answer, this is a tough question. It is best to say that it is based on individual situations. Every mother and adopted child will bond differently dependent upon their environments.

Although the relationship lacks the biological benefits in terms of creating a bond, it is still possible to develop a connection between a mother and her adopted child.

Child’s Mental Development

A child’s mental and emotional development begins as early as they are born. From the minute they take their first breath, an infant will begin to utilize their senses and begin to figure out the world surrounding them.

With time, the child begins to develop all of the following:

  • Memory
  • Imagination
  • Speech
  • Problem solving skills
  • Abstract thinking

A child’s biological makeup creates part of who they are, but their environment aids in creating the other part of themselves. The influence or absence of a mother can greatly affect a child’s mental health development.

Mental Health when Motherless

An individual’s mental health may be affected at any age or circumstance due to the lack of a mother. Different situations and causes, as listed below, can provoke different effects…

  • Absentee mother
    • An absentee mother is either a woman who is present but neglects to care for her child or a person who leaves their child entirely
    • The child’s mental health becomes negatively affected due to the lack of a maternal bond
    • The neglected child may begin to acquire feelings of loneliness and worthlessness because they lack the love and kinship from their mother
  • Adopted child
    • A child who has been adopted may begin to wonder why they were given up – even if their current mom and/or dad cares and loves him or her
    • Feelings of being unwanted or not good enough may arise for the child when thinking of his or her biological parents
  • Growing up without any sort of mother figure – adopted or biological
    • May cause the child to have problems with any social relationship they have
    • This can be due to the fact that they may not have learned the necessary social skills to deeply connect with others because they grew up without connecting to their mom
  • Loss of a mother
    • Losing a mother may occur early or late in life
      • Imagine losing your mother after years and years of bonding and developing one of the strongest relationships you have with her
      • She is the person who has been there for you since day one and has effortlessly put your well-being before their own
    • Bearing a loss that deep, at any age, may be extremely painful to endure and mental depression may occur

How to Help

Depending on your specific situation, here are some tips and tricks to help make it through!

  • Remember that you are never alone. There are individual and group therapies available
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Make sure your meals are colorful and contain a healthy balance of macronutrients. You can even follow dinner with healthy servings of dark chocolate and red wine!
  • After speaking with your physician:
    • Partake in yoga or meditation
    • Join a gym and/or hire a personal trainer
    • Take workout classes such as kickboxing or dance classes
  • As long as you do not have allergies – get a pet!
    • Pets are known to lower stress and anxiety levels in humans
  • Take on a new hobby:
    • Painting
    • Cooking
    • Volunteering
    • Reading
    • Writing

Resources:


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