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Notes From a Single Mom: Animal Instincts—We Are Mothers, Hear Us Roar

In March, my daughters and I took to the high seas to go whale-watching. We felt like paparazzi for a day, clutching cameras, waiting for a glimpse of the magnificent, yet elusive, Grey Whale. What truly amazed me wasn’t the carousel of dolphins playfully dipping in and out of the rolling waves alongside our boat—a marvelous, yet unexpected sideshow. It was the astounding fact that some female whales migrated (translation: swam a heck-of-a-long way) over 6,000 miles from Alaska to give birth in the warmer waters of Baja.

Oh, the things we do for love (or at least for a vacation in Mexico).

The urge to produce offspring and protect them is primal. Mothering instinct, they call it. No denying, the bond between a mother and her biological child is like no other. I’ll never forget the first time I saw each of my newly born daughters...POW! My heart shot straight to the moon.

“I created HER??”

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Yet women don’t necessarily have to give birth to feel that instinctual pull toward nurturing the young. Look at the millions of adoptive mothers in the world. Even Disney and MCA Universal understand the transcendence of motherhood: Tarzan was raised by apes; Babe, the lovable pig, was raised by dogs.

No matter how we become members of this privileged society, a mother is a mother is a mother. And to all you moms out there, who are waiting for their breakfast in bed that may include a bowl of very soggy cereal, and who will be wearing macaroni necklaces today made by their Kindergartners, I would like to say, from the bottom of my heart:


Lynn Armitage is a freelance writer and enrolled tribal member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. She still can’t figure out how pregnant whales can swim all that way and still have energy for childbirth.