A More Peaceful Motherhood
When birth takes place, not only the child but a mother and father are born.
Birth is a delicate time for the mother as it is for the baby. Childbirth is not only physical but mental and emotional event. Grantly Dick-Read in "Childbirth Without Fear" emphasizes how the mental condition of the woman affects childbirth in many ways from pregnancy health, to labor and birth to influence on the psyche of the child, to mothering abilities. Below is an article about development of the mother, followed by inspirational quotes from Dick-Read and from Spiritual masters.
Bonding and Development of Maternal Instincts
“Our women are so excited about their births, that it wouldn’t occur to them that they could be depressed!” Says Marie Mongan about mothers who have bonded with their babies and had natural births through HypnoBirthing. “They’ve not experienced anything but fulfillment and that is so important”, she continues, “ They feel good, they look good, and they have mellow babies. The pre-birth bonding is so important. If that is in place they usually do a stellar job of nurturing and protecting.” Normally, the love of parents for their babies is effortless and spontaneous, but sometimes things can interfere with that precious connection and as a result, relationships of parents and babies can begin with something strangely missing. “It is a fact: some mothers and fathers never do form that special attachment with a particular baby.” Says David Chamberlain in Windows To The Womb. “They can spend literally years anxiously searching for some way to establish that heart-connection that somehow never developed.”
In 1976, two American professors of pediatrics, Marshall Klaus and John Kennell, studied and wrote about maternal-infant bonding. They found that without bonding, not only the newborn baby failed to thrive as well but mothers were awkward and unconfident in handling the baby, breastfeeding was more difficult or shortened, if at all, and in extreme cases, irritability and anger toward the baby grew into child abuse.
“Will I be a good mother?” is a normal question for any woman. Many experts say yes -- as long as conditions are set that allow for natural mothering abilities to unfold. Just as hormones help the mother through birth, hormones will get her into mothering, and as with birthing, there are things she can do to get these biological helpers working such as rooming in with baby after birth, breastfeeding and holding, responding to baby’s cues, and baby massage. A satisfying birth experience for the mother is also key in how she approaches mothering. If birth did not go well, a woman can walk away feeling that something was lost even though the baby may be physically fine.
Bonding is a powerful example of the mind-body connection. “Research shows that mothers who are able to have more contact with their babies immediately after birth display more love and affection for their children throughout life”. It is simple as that. [Kumuda Reddy, For A Blissful Baby]
Since the 1970’s many authors have written on the effect of bonding on mothers and babies. Many have connected this study of the development of emotions in baby and mother to wide implications for society in terms of materialism, violence, and lack of care for the earth such as we are now seeing in climate change. Oxytocin is called the love hormone. This is a natural part of birth, and when absent or replaced with artificial induction, the capacity to love cannot help but be affected during this critical window of opportunity. [Joseph Chilton Pearce in Magical Child; David Chamberlain on love and violence (see his article Birth and the Origins of Violence ; Michel Odent on care for earth (The Farmer and the Obstetrician).]
When birth moved from home to hospital and with the rapid rise and appeal of all science in the mid-20th Century, the environment for natural bonding was severely compromised. The solution? “No-wait bonding. Bonding can begin anywhere, anytime, and the sooner the better” says David Chamberlain. Heart-to-heart bonding can begin before or after conception, any time in pregnancy and throughout labor, birth and after birth. This early and full action leaves no doubt or uncertainty and can only serve to deepen the connection between parent and child helping the incarnating soul to develop love and security for its new life. Adoptive parents can also participate in this process even more proactively since they usually arrive late in the bonding process.
Why does bonding work? The reasoning rests on the new and accumulating evidence that babies share with us the mysterious gift of human consciousness. Love is spiritual communication and babies are ready for it. [David Chamberlain, Windows to the Womb]
This article is an excerpt from Development of the Incarnating Soul, by Lakshmi
Inspirations on Spiritual Motherhood
In “Childbirth Without Fear” Grantly Dick-Read M.D. shows his extraordinary respect for mothers and speaks of the spiritual nature of childbirth and motherhood:
“Childbirth is not a physical function. The drama of the physical manifestations has blinded its observers to the truth – the birth of a child is the ultimate phenomenon of a series of spiritual experiences, from fantasy to fact and from fact to fruition.
“The natural reward of the physical achievement of pregnancy and parturition is not only a beloved possession, but an endowment of spiritual force enhancing the receptivity of divine guidance in motherhood. From this inestimable gift emerges the power of mother love, which forms the pattern of the infant’s psyche as surely as mother’s milk fashions its physique.”
“Its first cry remains an indelible memory on the mind of a mother; it is the song which carried her upon its wings to an ecstasy mere man seems quite unable to comprehend…No mother and no child should be denied that great mystical association…it is not only advantageous for the immediate present, but it lays a foundation of unity of both body and spirit upon which the whole edifice of mother love will stand.”
“When exhilaration and intense joy are experienced, physical changes occur which are readily diagnosable at sight and strangely infectious. The ecstasy of love that floods the whole personality when the earliest call of a new life awakens a woman to the realization of motherhood is a transport akin to mysticism.”
“Young mothers with no pretension to piety have unhesitatingly told me that they felt the nearness of God, or the presence of a superhuman being at the birth of their child…”
From “Vision of Sai Part I” by Rita Bruce, we hear from Satya Sai Baba on motherhood:
Motherhood is the most precious gift of God. Mothers are the makers of a nation’s fortune or misfortune, for they shape the sinews of its soul. Those sinews are toughened by two lessons they should teach: fear of sin and fondness for virtue. Both of these are based on faith in God being the inner motivator of all. If you want to know how advanced a nation is, study the mothers. Are they free from fear and anxiety, are they full of love towards all, are they trained in fortitude and virtue? If you like to imbibe the glory of a culture, watch the mothers rocking the cradles, feeding, fostering, teaching, and fondling the babies. As the mother, so the progress of the nation, as the mother, so the sweetness of the culture.”
From Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, spiritual teacher and author of education begins before birth (quote is from Daily Meditations 2011 17 August):
A pregnant mother must become aware of the power she has over the child well before its birth. It is not enough that she already loves the child; she has to learn to make use of the powers of love. While thinking of her child, it is possible for her to send her love all the way to the sublime realms to gather the elements necessary for the child to evolve well and then to instill these into it.
How can a mother believe that her own resources will be enough to give her child all it needs, without having to look elsewhere, above, on the spiritual plane? So, now and then, for a few minutes several times a day, she should stand before God in thought and prayer and say to him, ‘Lord, I want this child you are giving me to be your servant. But for that to happen, I need other elements, which are only found in you; please give them to me.’ You will say it isn’t easy to stand before God. Or course, it isn’t, but it’s just a manner of speaking. Just by thinking of beauty, light and eternity, that mother will be attracting higher subtle elements and passing them on to her child.
from Paramahansa Yogananda, in “The Divine Romance” we hear about motherly love:
Motherly Love is broader, based on feeling, rather than on reason. True mother love is unconditional. We can say that in many ways it is more spiritual and therefore greater than most human expressions of love. God implanted in the heart of the mother a love for the child that is unconditional, regardless of the child's merit or behavior. Even if the child in later life becomes a murderer, the mother's love remains steady, unchanged; whereas the father may be more impatient and less inclined to forgive. The unconditional love of the mother is perhaps the human love closest to the perfection of God's love. The true mother forgives her child even when no one else will. That kind of love exemplifies God's love; He forgives His children no matter what sins they have committed. Now who could have placed this love in the mother's heart, save God? In true maternal love God gives us distinct proof that He loves us unconditionally, no matter how wicked we are, or how many times we have sinned.