Archive for July 30th, 2010

Three stories in the news this morning have me thinking about mothers and what it means to be one. Not that it directly relates, but I have mentioned often in my writing about adoption that “mother” is also a verb which legitimizes the noun. I leave it to readers today to decide which out of the three here qualify for both the action and the title.

mother |ˈməðər|
1 a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.
• a person who provides the care and affection normally associated with a female parent : my adoptive mother.
• a female animal in relation to its offspring : [as adj. ] a mother penguin.

verb [ trans. ]
1 [often as n. ] ( mothering) bring up (a child) with care and affection : the art of mothering.
• look after kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so : she felt mothered by her older sister.

First, we have a heartwarming video of one mom putting herself on the line to save her baby.

Amateur video has captured footage of a mother bear saving her cub from a fishing net in Anchorage, Alaska.

The mother desperately struggled to save her cub as fisherman Dane Havard pulled the small bear out of tall reeds behind his house with his truck.

The trapped black bear squirmed and thrashed around inside the net, while another small cub watched at a distance.

The mother bear tried to free the screaming cub for several moments before cutting through the net with her teeth and claws.

The mother then ran away with the cub in her mouth.

Anyone thinking there was no actual danger involved will want to check out this story detailing what can go wrong when moms of a certain size and species cross paths with perceived threats of another sort.

Wildlife authorities have captured a mother grizzly bear that they believe killed a Michigan man and injured two other campers in the north-western US state of Montana.

Wildlife authorities then left the mother grizzly overnight to attract her three cubs, two of which were caught in adjacent traps on Thursday.

Officials say the adult bear will be killed if the DNA test results, expected on Friday, link it to the attacks.

These moms are both bears in the wild raising cubs. One is celebrated, the other on death row, both doing what they could to protect their offspring from the havoc that humans bring to their world.

Yes, we’re talking now about animals, their instincts and the potential for mayhem that sometimes occurs when their ‘lesser brains’ and greater bulk set a good part of the mothering agenda.

The third story is also about lesser brains and greater bulk, but taxonomists would actually classify the subject here as human.

A woman in northern France has admitted killing her eight newborn babies but said her husband knew nothing about it, the prosecutor in the case has said.

Mrs Cottrez said she was fully aware of her pregnancies, but that she did not want any more children and did not want to see a doctor for contraception …

Mr Cottrez said he had never noticed his wife’s pregnancies because of her heavy weight, and had no idea she had been getting rid of the babies at birth …

Lest anyone get the idea that this woman is an unparalleled aberration in the species, the article goes on with a disturbing list:

In March, a mother confessed to killing six of her newborn children and hiding them in the cellar of her house in north-west France.

In 1984 a couple in Correze, central France, were jailed for killing seven of their newborn infants over a period of seven years.

In Germany in 2006, Sabine Hilschenz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the manslaughter of eight of her newborn babies. A ninth baby also died, but too long ago to allow a prosecution.

Somehow, I just don’t see bears doing this …

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