Sitting in that theater seat next to my own mom watching Bambi's mom sending Bambi off when she sensed the hunters getting closer in the forest - telling him not to look back no matter what, to run as quickly as he could - he did NOT know, but she did know she would decoy the hunters and was probably going to her death - yeah, even as a kid, I knew that that's what a real mom does. Simplistic I know, but that's how that scene in the film affected me then and now.
The second mom I have great affection for is DUMBO's. I love that she wears a little pink curly brimmed cap - and the way she looks at her little elephant calf, even when she realizes that his ears are humongous. Nothing can mar his perfection in her eyes. When the other elephant moms (and the clowns) make fun of Dumbo and the fun becomes intolerable during a performance, she breaks loose and tries to help her boy. The handlers imprison her in a padlocked wagon, but she sticks her truck through the bars in the door and rocks her baby to sleep. SO damn touching.
I've seen sentimentality described as 'unearned emotion' so therefore, these two scenes in these two movies do not qualify as sentiment - they are certainly NOT 'unearned emotion.'
These are two moms in two movies that have always defined motherhood for me.