Queen Victoria, also called Alexandrina Victoria (1819-1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and self-adopted Empress of India. She inherited the reign from her father, Prince Edward, after her three older brothers all died at a relatively young age, 18. From then on, she ruled the great country for sixty years along with her husband, Prince Albert. However, even though she did an excellent job at controlling her own government for a long period of time, she struggled with the basics of the motherhood and often failed to connect emotionally with her children.
Behavioral psychology emphasizes that what we have learnt and associated with makes up who we are now. We are the results of different events we have been through within our environment. While we all know Queen Victoria was an accomplished ruler, you may be astonished to hear that she hated motherhood. Now I am going to analyze why Victoria was a terrible mother due to the environment she lived in. Victoria had quite a harsh and miserable childhood. From her diary, we know that she “led an unhappy life as a child, and did not know what a happy domestic life is”. She couldn’t spend any time alone unless sharing the same room with her mother. Her mother never allowed Victoria out of her eyesight and was being extremely protective. The lack of maternal love from her mother and solitude lead to the lack of knowledge of being a mother. Besides her childhood, Victoria also suffered under certain environmental pressures. She often struggled with reigning a country and being pregnant at the same time. While she had to devote more time towards the children, she couldn’t maintain her power the same as before. Moreover, during the era which medical conditions hadn’t fully developed, Victoria was tortured by the pregnancy and recovery. Consequently, those intolerable pressures and memories from her environment made an impact on Queen Victoria and turned her into a terrible mother.
Cognitive psychology focus on higher mental processes of humans such as thinking, problem solving, and memorization skills. Even though the outside pressures caused her to hate motherhood, some of her personal beliefs unconsciously influenced her too. Victoria undeniably felt she had a lonely childhood, but she still had an older brother and sister who she was deeply fond of. The long term isolation caused by her mother made Victoria believe she was always staying in an isolated environment without any care and love. Also, Victoria had some drastic beliefs about babies. She believed children were stupid parasites that affected her life. From a letter to her uncle, she remarked, “you will see with me the great inconvenience with a large family, and independent hardship to myself”. She thought them as disappointments and wouldn’t like them till “they [became] little [humans]. ” Besides those beliefs, Victoria had eternal struggles with opposing duties as a mother and a queen. In her opinion, she would rather give up on her children than weakening her power since she had nothing else except that position.
During that era, all women were believed by Victoria along with the rest of Victorian society as weak creatures and she was the only exception. If she lost the crown because of the weakening power, she would become meaningless like the rest of feeble women in society. Moreover, after her postpartum depression affected her thinking process, she didn’t know how to connect with her children properly. She even blamed her own son for Prince Albert’s death which doesn’t make any sense. Therefore, as her personal beliefs and outside factors slowly affected her cognitive thinking, Victoria started to hate motherhood and pregnancy.
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