“Two of Parental Love’s major active ingredients are fear and guilt”

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I can provide you with a definition of parental love, but I will tell you this: Two of its major active ingredients are fear and guilt. Fear of the vast and bewildering spectrum of terrible things that might befall the object of that love, and guilt that you might not have done enough to prevent them. Of course, I’m biased, but this forceful apprehension of the world’s expansive treachery, in contrast to the innocence and beauty of the tiny creature you have just brought into it, seems to me to be the only sane reaction to having become a parent.

Mark O’Connell, “‘What a Raw Deal for the Poor Little Guy’”, The New York Times Magazine (3 August 2014), 45.