"Mother love recognizes your potential. It's forgiving," writes Constance C.R. White.

We all have some mother in us, some mother love. It's a particularly fierce, intense love, encompassing great sacrifice. Mother love is nurturing. Above all, it includes a blind spot, not the kind that stops us from calling people on their bad behavior, but one that allows us to gaze at the good in you. Mother love recognizes your potential. It is forgiving. It never writes you off. It sees your mistakes as just that—a wrong choice or path taken that is not immutable.

When your mother was pregnant with you, hormones released in her body assured her connection to you. She carried you inside herself. She was literally host to you; you can't get more intimate than that. And yet we all, biological mothers or not, have the capacity for such intimacy. Adoptive parents, it has been argued, show an even greater commitment than biological mothers by opening their arms to a child not related by blood. Today the very definition of mother is changing—biological mother, adoptive mother, single mother, married mother, surrogate mother, dads who are both mother and father. But the how of mothering will never change...

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