Maternal Drive

Maternal drive or maternal instinct refers to the motivation of animals and humans to take care of their offspring and sometimes, even others’ as well. This is manifested as nesting, feeding, and defending babies. For some women, this is felt before having kids; they feel that they want to have children and are preparing to be effective mothers.

This drive was found out to be fundamentally linked with the bonding hormone, oxytocin. For instance, the behavior between mother mice and virgin mice were compared regarding their reaction to the sound of crying baby mice (pups). As expected, the mothers retrieved and cared for the pups. On the other hand, the virgins either ignored the cries or cannibalized them. Interestingly, when the virgin mice were injected with oxytocin, they stopped ignoring and cannibalizing; they behaved the way the mother mice did.