I think I realised quite early in life that feeling maternal and being a mother are two different things. Every mother is not maternal, and a maternal person need not even be a mother.
When one of us got hurt playing our childhood games, mothers were often not nearby. Who soothed us then? Could be a neighbour, a young lady not yet married. Her gentle hands would heal, sending us scampering back to play. Or sometimes a mother would gently pull aside her own bratty little girl, but scold the rest of us so harshly that if we had had tails they would have been tucked down, never to come up again!
Maternal doesn’t mean loving only your own child. Maternal embraces all children, wanting to help them, encourage them. Feeling maternal both gladdens and saddens. You are happy for the back bencher who has worked hard, and you are sad for the neighbour’s child who has to have stitches in her forehead after a fall. Maternal loves and censures, consoles and condones.
The best combination – A maternal mother!