Eva Mendes & the Marvelous “M” Word

Biology Demonstrates Motherhood’s Design

The documentary The Other “F” Word raises the question, “How does parenthood impact a person’s life decisions?” The biopic explores the changes that fatherhood – the other “F” word – provoked in several male rock musicians. The point of it is that being a dad made a difference in the lives of these men and how they thought about life.

Now, there is no indication that this phenomenon is ubiquitous or even generally valued by all newly minted fathers. However, the physiological impact for moms is backed by robust research.

There is evidence that suggests biological changes impact a mother’s preferences in life. Medical research has discovered what moms anecdotally report - that there is such a thing as “pregnancy brain.” Woven into cerebral changes is a natural release of the chemical oxytocin, dubbed “the love hormone.”

The bonding of mother to child has also been connected to infant protection.  Could it be that part of the protection mothers feel toward their children includes distancing their offspring from fearful experiences in life choices?

A New (Old) Innate Ambition

Eva Mendes, the mother of two daughters with her partner Ryan Gosling, is an example of a mom who has decided to shield her young ones from negative situations in her Hollywood workplace. Mendes confirms that she wants her two daughters’ upbringings to be separated from the Tinsel Town spotlight, explaining that fame can be "super scary when you try to raise your kids."

Mendes seems innately compelled to protect her children by carefully considering what movie roles she will take. According to Entertainment Weekly Mendes says she has “family-oriented standards.”

I have such a short list of what I will do, before kids I kinda was up for anything. I mean, if it was a fun project. But now I won't do violence, I don't want to do sexuality, the list is short.

In another interview Mendes explained, “Now that I have children, I’m kind of extreme.” Limiting her role selection seems connected to childrearing. Commenting as a mom, she explained on a (now deleted) Instagram post:

There are many subject matters that I don’t want to be involved with, so it limits my choices and I’m fine with that. I have to set an example for my girls now.

In a USA Today Q&A the actress further conceded:

I felt a lack of ambition, if I can be honest. I feel more ambitious in the home right now than I do in the workplace.

What I try to emphasize is that I don’t let them see me put attention to how I dress. They’ve never seen me get ready for something; they’ve never seen me at work. Which is fine, for whoever wants to do it that way, but the way I keep it normal is by not letting them see me in these situations. I’m just Mom. And I’m more than happy to just be Mom.

Appearing on The View, Mendes said that her future choices for Hollywood projects need to be “nice and clean.”

Created to Care

Mendes’s declarations, as well as The Other “F” Word, raise important questions: Why is the parent-child bond so important? What attitudinal, ethical shifts come with parental responsibilities? How is a mother’s persona changed by having children?

The Bible’s plan for parenthood is clearly identified. Parental instruction and family heritage are crucial components of the Hebraic-Christian mindset, offering clues as to why parenting is so important. Multiple, generational examples – from Abraham to Moses to Joshua – show the design and need for parents to teach their children right from wrong.

Yet motherhood seems to be especially designed for giving care and connecting. Women who are initially unable to bear children – from Sarah to Rachel to Hannah – not only yearn for the opportunity to have their own progeny, but the focus of their lives shift when they become the mother of a newborn. Instincts to protect, care for, and oversee are built into the design of the birth process in moms.

Even the choice of movie roles by Eva Mendes lends support to the idea that giving birth changes a mother’s brain. Yes, fatherhood may compel an external need to make life changes. But because God has created their reproductive systems, moms’ internal biological systems give evidence that they have been created to care for the children they birth.

has taught junior high school through PhD students over four decades, in both Christian and public education contexts. He has a Master of Theology in Old Testament, PhD in Social Science research, and just finished another Master’s in English. He is a book review editor for Christian Education Journal. Mark has written or contributed to nine curricula and books. He has also authored scores of peer-reviewed journal articles and encyclopedia essays, and maintains online writings at www.markeckel.com.

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