A long time ago, flowers started to supercharge their pollen with nectar to attract insects. The flowers found this was an effective technology for improving pollination and therefore survival.
Writer Steven Johnson describes the gravity-defying capabilities of hummingbird flight as an unexpected byproduct of this flower upgrade. In an unforeseen response to better pollen, hummingbirds also began to evolve their own new technology. They evolved a wing design that allowed them to hover and scoop the flowers’ newly fortified nectar ahead of the insects. Sometimes an innovation in one area has an entirely unexpected impact on another.
In the case of human beings, our spectacular capacity for tinkering and innovation has solved many ills. Yet it may be introducing many unexpected results. Cue the practice of Motherhood in an era that looks nothing like our species has ever known.
“We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”
- Sir Winston Churchill
We are Mothers. Which means we are the newest link in the oldest chain in the universe. Our bodies are not new. We share the molecular properties of both stardust and seawater. Our children are not new. We have been protecting and nourishing our practically helpless young for aeons. The evolution of humans is inextricably linked with a childhood that is far longer than that of other creatures we share a planet with.
This game is old as the hills.
So why do so many of us feel like we are fumbling around in the dark?
We are connected, wired and informed. Yet we have more to fear as result. We are awash with goods and services. Yet we are insecure and preoccupied with our choices. Our bodies are healthier and longer-lived than ever. Yet mental health continues to languish within the population. We have so much. But it can all feel so weird.
Our bodies may be old, but our technologies are not. As our culture evolves in ever-faster ways to keep pace, how will we weave ourselves into the mix in healthy and adaptive ways? How can we make the most of our modern age while respecting the inheritance our time-hewn bodies won’t let us forget?
Well, Made Mama wants to bring a little daylight into the mix. We seek to inform our readers on the science of motherhood. We aim to help them make sense of this ancient journey with up-to-date evidence, fresh cultural perspectives and today’s story-telling.
We hope to be your tour guides to the modern - and the timeless - that is you, Mama. We do this in the service of your well-being and in admiration of your intelligence, devotion and all-out sabre-tooth tiger grit.
Welcome to Volume 1 of the Well Made Mama journey. We’re glad you’re here.
Johnson, S. (2015) How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World. Penguin Publishing Group.