890. Is maternal love an instinctive virtue or feeling shared by both humans and animals?
“It is both. Nature has endowed a mother with the love of her children to guarantee their survival. In animals, maternal love is limited to providing the material needs of the mother’s offspring. This affection ceases when this care is no longer needed. In the human race it lasts for a lifetime and assumes a character of selfless devotion, raising it to a virtue. It even survives death, and follows the child in the afterlife. Therefore, there is more to this love in humans than that which exists in animals.” (See nos. 205-385)
891. Since maternal love is natural, why mothers hate their children, and often from birth?
“The absence of maternal love is sometimes a trial chosen by the spirit of the child, or a form of atonement if the child has been a bad father, mother, or child, in a prior life (see no.392). In any case, a bad mother can only embody a bad spirit, who tries to make the child fail in the chosen trial. This violation of natural law does not go unpunished, and the spirit of the child is rewarded for the obstacles it overcomes.”
892. When parents have children who cause them grief, are they excused for not feeling the same tenderness they would have felt if their children’s behavior had been different?
“No, because parents are responsible for training their children; and their mission is to put forth every possible effort to lead them to the right road (see nos. 582, 583). Besides, the grief of the parents is often the consequence of the bad habits they have allowed their children to adopt from birth; they are forced to reap what they sow.”