What I had long suspected is now official — ‘mother’ has been found to be the most beautiful word in the English language. A survey that encompassed 40,000 overseas voters and learners of English at the British Council Centres has revealed this. Over 7,000 learners from 46 countries participated in it and the word ‘mother’ easily topped the list.
Why has this word won this distinction? A young woman-doctor I know married but did not want to have children. She wanted to devote herself entirely to her profession.
Pressure from the family mounted though and she finally succumbed to their pleas. Her pregnancy was a difficult one, with many threats to her well-being, but the child that was born was an absolute delight. He was healthy, beautiful and sweet-tempered. The mother is now all smiles. “When I look into his face, I forget all my pains and troubles,” she avers. Here, perhaps, lies the secret charm of the word ‘mother’ — it stands for unconditional love.
‘Mother’ loves her child simply because it is hers. There are no conditions attached to it. The child does not have to live up to any expectations. It may have brought pain, it may not be beautiful; it could mean sleepless nights and endless chores, but mother continues to pour love and attention on it. There is nothing the child has to do in order to win her appreciation. It is loved simply for being the mother’s child.
Unqualified love such as this can come only from a mother. Adoptive mothers are no exception. There is the story of such a mother with two children — one natural and the other adopted. The two grew up together, receiving plenty of love and care. A visitor who knew that one of them was adopted, asked, “Which one is adopted?” The mother looked her in the eye and said, “I don’t know.”
Mother’s love is bliss, it is peace. It cannot be acquired, but is given freely. To be loved for what one is and not for what one can give brings the deepest satisfaction that one can ever know.
When George Eliot wrote, “I think my life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face”, she spoke for every one of us. No wonder then that ‘mother’ tops the list of the most beautiful words one can think of!