So labor does
more than cut off oxygen to the brain, although that's a handy feature
as we saw. Even though the brain doesn't have enough oxygen (periodically
during the pushing process) to know exactly what the hell is going on,
labor also places tremendous physical stress on the entire body of the
person trying (quite hard usually) to give birth. The majority of this
stress is relieved at almost exactly the moment you are finally born
and are no longer inside anyone else's body.
This is a good thing.
Because, when the body finds itself under tremendous physical stress,
it gets worried. And the moment it has a chance, it sends a horde of
compensating happy chemicals (endorphins and anything else it can think
of) throughout itself to get itself back in balance and something approaching
the homeostasis it has come to know and love. Luckily for you, the onrushing
horde of happy chemicals comes right at the moment of your birth. This
The only thing I'm
personally aware of that produces an equivalent onrushing horde of happy
chemicals is heroin. What this means is that at the exact moment
of your birth, your mother is supposed to be experiencing the single
best heroin-like high of her life. This makes her like you. This
makes her addicted to you.
See, the thing is,
these happy chemicals are produced at the end of the birth process.
And the human body is structured to 'tag' end moments and give them
greater priority in its future decision-making and emotional associations.
If things start out well and later turn crappy, the body develops a
sour taste about that activity and is queasy about engaging in it again,
even if it would supposedly be beneficial, such as having a colonoscopy
(an activity that makes many a body say "are you fucking kidding
me? no way!"). However, if something turns out great in the end,
the body says 'do it again! That was great!' Even if it was utter agony
getting there. This partially accounts for mountain climbers.
It also partially
accounts for things like compulsive gambling. You could be sweating
blood during a losing streak, but the moment you win, your body says
'Oh my god, it turned out all right! I'm so fucking relieved! Happy
chemicals all around, everybody, on me!' And it buys everyone a round
of potent happy chemicals. Gambling wouldn't be nearly as much fun if
you didn't routinely stress yourself out severely by losing. But since
you do - your body says after a win, 'that was so much fun! Do it again!
Do it again!' And you will. Just a tip if you'd like to become a
This process also
partially accounts for the fact that your mom is supposed to love you.
Not just love you. Love you for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Mom Thing #2: Loving you for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
things go right, the onrushing onslaught of happy chemicals bears absolutely
no relationship whatsoever to anything relating to you other than the
fact that you are no longer in her body. It is not triggered by any
quality you have, any attribute you possess whatsoever. You could, in
fact, be Rosemary's Baby, the devil spawn, completely purple and shaped
like Frankenstein, a tiny little ogre, a pissed off infant motherfucker,
and it really doesn't matter. The response is engendered solely by your
mother's own tremendously relieved chemicals.
since the brain has been repeatedly deprived of oxygen during this whole
process, it's not really capable of drawing any rational conclusions
at this point. So it doesn't. What it does instead, is make use of an
evolutionary ability many creatures have to form extremely powerful
and enduring emotional memories under stress. So what's supposed to
happen is that your mother is supposed to form an absolutely killer,
powerful emotional association between you and a heroin-strength high
of potent happy chemicals that neither time nor subsequent events can
isn't that inspiring? It sure is!
is the thing people write songs about. That absolutely 100% irrational
Unconditional Mother Love that bears no relationship whatsoever to the
actual quality of her offspring. You love this! This is one of your
favorite things in the whole world! Unconditional mother love. Every
single one of you who has experienced this needs to conscientiously
take out your Mother's day card, wherein you thanked her for having
amnesia and add a touching little post-script 'Mom, just wanted to
let you know how eternally grateful I am that you produced evolutionarily
correct quantities of heroin-like high producing chemicals in the aftermath
of my birth. You're the greatest!'
don't do that. She'll have no idea what you're talking about and will
probably be insulted. And that's no way to treat your mother. But do
be humbly, humbly grateful that this process worked in your case. Really.
Humbly, humbly grateful.
nothing has a bigger impact on the quality of your life, as you experience
it, than getting lucky in the heroin-like high chemicals lottery of
evolutionary momness. It has no impact on how your life actually turns
out, but it has a tremendous impact on how it feels. Cuz it feels great.
idea of this is that since you are a helpless infant, the fact that
you have someone who is completely irrationally addicted to you for
reasons that bear no relationship whatsoever to anything you might have,
do, or be, that this will give you a tremendous leg up in the race for
survival. And you know, it kinda does.
no fail-safe however that your life will turn out great. It just means
someone has formed a permanent addiction to you. The truth is, you could
turn out to be an alcoholic with no bowel control - and if the evolutionary
momness chemicals took - your mother will love you just as much as if
you were a big celebrity who bought her a huge house! What a deal!
kind of thing actually happens in real life all the time. Criminals,
schizophrenics, pedophiles, lowlifes, and general scum are entirely
capable of having mothers who love them quite a bit more than the mothers
of Big Important People like Albert Einstein, Jennifer Anniston, and
the head of the IRS. Unconditional Irrational Love For No Reason Whatsoever
doesn't make your mom smart, or lucky, or improve your genes, or stuff
like that. It just means someone loves you even if your genes suck.
I suppose it's even possible that you are more likely to experience
Unconditional Mother Love if your general circumstances approach those
of low-life scum. Because the mothers of such people are often under
more physical stress than those of your hoity-toity rich people types
- who can afford to pay not to experience physical stress. Boys even
have a tiny advantage in this regard - because they are typically more
stressful on the body of the mother carrying them. See how backwards
evolution is? It's often counter-intuitive.
people from all walks of life experience this powerful irrational bonding
anyway. And people from all walks of life don't. Sometimes it happens
in a picture-perfect fashion. And frequently it doesn't really. It's
really nice to have it - because it produces a feeling of security in
the lucky offspring (and sometimes invincibility in susceptible people)
because there is nothing more comforting than sensing, on a deep intuitive
level, that you did nothing to deserve this and therefore it cannot
be taken away from you on your merits.
all take a moment to sigh sentimentally in honor of Unconditional Mother
Love. Nice big sentimental sigh.
- now let's get back to our main topic. Which is - what the hell went
wrong with my Mom?
you strongly suspect that your mother's body did not produce sufficient
quantities of heroin-like chemicals in the aftermath of your birth,
and you consequently have the uneasy feeling that she does not love
you in the Completely Irrational way you would actually prefer, you
need to take a moment to give some serious consideration to this topic.
Because, although common, this has consequences for you. Pretend to
be serious for a moment, if possible.
honest with yourself. Do you really feel like your mom has always loved
you in the unconditional way that people write songs about? Of course
not. Or you wouldn't have read this far. You'd be busy running for
president or something just to show off.
since you don't - you are bothered. You can pretend not to be bothered,
or you can pretend to be extremely bothered. Or you can switch your
pretending back and forth. But you are bothered. Because your evolutionary
brain stem expected that Unconditional Love and it has tiny neuron clusters
that periodically raise their heads like gophers and say 'Hey! Where
the hell is that Unconditional Love I was expecting?! Something has
gone horribly wrong!'
we need to walk through the effect this has on you. Because you are
actually way way more interesting (to me anyway) than your actual mom.
This will not exactly help us figure out what your mom should have been
doing (hint: it did not include screwing your friends), but it will
tell us something arguably just as interesting. Which is how you
can compensate for your mother's evolutionary failings and bring your
own magnificent self back up to evolutionary snuff. Because even
if your mom tried really really really hard to generate Unconditional
Love, if your brain stem didn't receive it, there will still be a discrepancy
that will make your entire body just plain irritated. It will fold its
arms over its chest throughout your life and sulk, frequently refusing
to have a good time until it receives an apology.
something like that. Anyway, it gives a chance to talk about you. So
let's do that!
your miserable mom! Let's talk about you!