The Full Wiki

Motherhood: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Mother article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

A mother is a biological and/or social female parent of an offspring.[1] Because of the complexity and differences of a mothers' social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to define a mother to suit a universally accepted definition.


Biological mother

In the case of a mammal such as a human, a pregnant woman gestates a fertilized ovum. A fetus develops from the viable fertilised ovum or 'embryo'. Gestation occurs in the woman's uterus from conception until the fetus (assuming it is carried to term) is sufficiently developed to be born. The woman experiences labor and gives birth. Usually, once the baby is born, the mother produces milk via the lactation process. The mother's breast milk is the source of anti-bodies for the infant's immune system and commonly the sole source of nutrition for the first year or more of the child's life.[2][3][4]

Surrogate mother

A surrogate mother is, commonly, a woman who bears the embryo to term for a couple biologically unable to have children.


Monumento a la Madre in Mexico City. The inscription translates as: "To her who loves us before she meets us."

The term mother is often given to a woman other than the biological parent, especially if she who fulfills the main social role in raising the child. This is commonly either an adoptive mother or a stepmother (the biologically unrelated wife of a child's father). In lesbian cultures, a non-biological mother, or so-called "othermother" exists.

Currently, with advances in reproductive technologies, the function of biological motherhood can be split between the genetic mother (who provides the ovum) and the gestational (commonly known as a surrogate) mother (who carries the pregnancy), and it is also poneither will serve as the social mother (the one who rears the child). A healthy connection between a mother and a child form a secure base, from which the child may later venture forth into the world.[5]

Social role

Mothers have historically fulfilled the primary role in raising children, but since the late 20th century, the role of the father in child care has been given greater prominence and social acceptance in some Western countries.[6][7]

The social role and experience of motherhood varies greatly depending upon location. The organization Save the Children has (controversially) ranked the countries of the world, and found that Scandinavian countries are the safest places to give birth, whereas countries in sub-Saharan Africa are the least safest to give birth[8]. This study argues a mother in the bottom ten ranked countries is over 750 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a mother in the top ten ranked countries, and a mother in the bottom ten ranked countries is 28 times more likely to see her child die before reaching their first birthday.

Mothers are more likely than fathers to encourage assimilative and communion-enhancing patterns in their children.[9] Mothers are more likely than fathers to acknowledge their children's contributions in conversation.[10][11][12][13] The way mothers speak to their children is better suited to support very young children in their efforts to understand speech (in context of the reference English) than fathers.[10]

Since the 1970s, in vitro fertilization has made pregnancy possible at ages well beyond "natural" limits, generating ethical controversy and forcing significant changes in the social meaning of motherhood.[14][15] This is, however a position highly biased by Western world locality: outside the Western world, in-vitro fertilization has far less prominence, importance or currency compared to primary, basic healthcare, womens' basic health, reducing infant mortality and the prevention of life-threatening diseases such as polio, typhus and malaria.

US Motherhood Statistics

Assorted and non-inclusive statistics on motherhood from the U.S. Census Bureau.[16]

  • 82.5 million women are mothers of all ages in the United States.
  • 68% of women aged 15 to 44 are mothers in Mississippi, considered high in comparison to a national average for same age group of 56%.
  • 82% of women aged 40 to 44 years old are mothers.
  • 4.0 million women give birth annually, approximately 425,000 were teenage mothers (aged 15 to 19) and more than 100,000 were aged 40 or over.
  • 25.1 years of age is the national average age of women for their first births, a record high an increase of 4 years since 1970.
  • 40% of annual births are the mother’s first. Another 32 percent are the second-born; 17 percent, third; and 11 percent, fourth or more.
  • 35,000 of births in 2002 were attended by physicians, midwives or others outside a hospital facility.
  • 55% of mothers with infant children in 2002 were employed, down from the record 59 percent in 1998, the first significant decline since the Census Bureau began collating such data in 1976. In 1976, 31% of mothers with infants were employed.
  • 63% of employed women with infant children are college-educated.
  • 72% of employed women, between ages 15 and 44 are mothers without infants.
  • 687,000 child day-care centers operated in the USA in 2002. Of these, 69,000 centers employed close to 750,000 workers and another 618,000 were self-employed persons or companies without paid employees. Many mothers use such centers to juggle the demands of motherhood and career.


Nearly all world religions define tasks or roles for mothers through either religious law or through the deification or glorification of mothers who served in substantial religious events. There are many examples of religious law relating to mothers and women.
Major world religions which have specific religious law or scriptural canon regarding mothers include: Christians,[17] Jews,[18] and Muslims.[19] Some examples of glorification or deification include the Madonna or Blessed Virgin Mother Mary for Christians, the Hindu Mother Goddess, or Demeter of ancient Greek pre-Christian belief.
In Islam, the Q'uran dictates the mother occupying an importance and position three times superior to that of the father. However, while the mother is considered the most important member of the family, she is not the head of the family.[citation needed]

Synonyms and translations

The proverbial "first word" of an infant often sounds like "ma" or "mama". This strong association of that sound with "mother" has persisted in nearly every language on earth, countering the natural localization of language.

Familiar or colloquial terms for mother in English are:

The Hindu mother goddess Parvati feeding her son, the elephant-headed wisdom god Ganesha

In many other languages, similar pronunciations apply:

  • mama in Polish, Russian and Slovak
  • māma (妈妈/媽媽) in Chinese and Japanese
  • máma in Czech
  • maman in French and Persian
  • ma, mama or Ibu in Indonesian language
  • mamma in Italian and Icelandic
  • mãe in Portuguese
  • Ami in Punjabi
  • mama in Swahili
  • eema (אמא) in Hebrew
  • or mẹ in Vietnamese
  • mam in Welsh
  • eomma (엄마, pronounced [ʌmma]) in Korean
  • In many south Asian cultures and the Middle East the mother is known as amma or oma or ammi or "ummi", or variations thereof. Many times these terms denote affection or a maternal role in a child's life.

Famous motherhood figures

Charity by Bouguereau 1878

See also


  • "The Evolutionary Biology of Human Female Sexuality", by Randy Thornhill, Steven W. Gangestad [20]
  • "Motherhood - How should we care for our children?", by Anne Manne[21]
  • "Mother nature: maternal instincts and how they shape the human species", by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy[22]


  1. ^, Mother
  2. ^
  3. ^ Growth and Development
  4. ^ Chapter 46 Animal Reproduction
  5. ^ Diane S. Feinberg, M.Ed. The Importance of Mother and Child Attachment
  6. ^ "In most Western countries the family model of a sole male breadwinner is in full retreat." Accessed 19 September 2007.
  7. ^ Why Are Fathers Important? Interview with Dr. Ross Parke, professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside, author of Fatherhood (1966) and co-author of Throwaway Dads (1999). Accessed 19 September 2007.
  8. ^ Save the Children, State of the World's Mothers Report 2006.
  9. ^ Gendered differences in parents' encouragement of sibling interaction: implications for the construction of a personal premise system
  10. ^ a b Fathers' speech to their children: perfect pitch or tin ear?
  11. ^ Hladik, E., & Edwards, H. (1984). A comparison of mother-father speech in the naturalistic home environment. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 13, 321-332.
  12. ^ Leaper, C., Anderson, K., & Sanders, P. (1998). Moderators of gender effects on parents' talk to their children: A meta-analysis. Developmental Psychology, 34, 3-27.
  13. ^ Mannle, S., & Tomasello, M. (1987). Fathers, siblings, and the bridge hypothesis. In K.E. Nelson & A. vanKleeck (Eds.), Children's language, Vol. 6, (pp. 23-42). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  14. ^ Motherhood: Is It Ever Too Late?, July 15, 2009
  15. ^ Getting Pregnant After 50: Risks, Rewards July 17, 2009
  16. ^
  17. ^ "What The Bible Says About Mother". Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  18. ^ Katz, Lisa. "Religious Obligations of Jewish women". Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  19. ^ ‘Ali Al-Hashimi, Muhammad. The Ideal Muslimah: The True Islâmic Personality of the Muslim Woman as Defined in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  20. ^ "The Evolutionary Biology of Human Female Sexuality", by Randy Thornhill, Steven W. Gangestad
  21. ^ "Motherhood - How should we care for our children?", by Anne Manne
  22. ^ "Mother nature: maternal instincts and how they shape the human species", by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Mothers article)

From Wikiquote

The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men — from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

A mother is the biological or social female parent of a child.



  • The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men — from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.


  • Heaven is under the feet of mother.
  • A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
    • Tenneva Jordan
  • A mother is a woman who shows you the light when you just see the dark.
    • Grimaldos Robin
  • All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
  • Him whose mother is no more, distress carries off.
  • Mothers, of course, are all right. They pay a chaps bills and don't bother him. But fathers bother a chap and never pay his bills.
  • When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
  • When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.
  • You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool mom.
    • Captain Penny - Cleveland Kid Show Host 1950s
  • If women choose to have children into their sixties and seventies, we should make sure that they are informed of any potential health risks entailed. And then we should do what we always do when devoted parents give birth: We should offer them our congratulations and our best wishes. In this regard, the ethics of parenting are surprisingly simple. Mothers should be judged on their love and commitment, not their chronological ages.

See also

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up mother in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Mother's Day Quotes


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address