Neurobiologists call oxytocin the love hormone: the more oxytocin in the body, the more care and nurturing mammals show for their babies. Oxytocin decreases aggression in a mother’s body overall, with one exception – in defence of her young. When babies are threatened, oxytocin actually increases aggression. For mothers, rage is part of love: it is the biological force that protects that which is loved.

When I learned this, I thought of my mother and the ferocity in her eyes when she had fought for me. I did not know that she had that kind of rage roaring inside her. She couldn’t access it ...


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