22 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2018
Sp itual Pregnancy— A beautiful beginning
A baby benefits tremendously if a spiritual and nourishing attitude is cultivated by the parents—particularly the mother—even before it’s birth, says Anuradha Sahu
Most couples, after tying the knot, start dreaming of having children to complete their family. And while visits to the doctor and checking up material to nd the best possible time to conceive are routine, not many look at the spiritual
aspect of conceiving and giving birth to a baby.
An unborn child is a sentient being that is highly receptive to the thoughts and feelings of the mother as well as the vibrations surrounding it. Therefore, if care is taken to feed the foetus with the highest of positive thoughts and frequencies, it is more likely that the child will be born with a strong mental and emotional foundation.
Historically, babies have been compared to a blank slate in the Western culture, and it was believed they could only learn what adults taught them once they could speak. However, in the last 30 years, neuroscienti c research has helped us discover that babies are wired to receive and process information from before birth.
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Says Marianne Littlejohn, South Africa-trained professional nurse and childbirth educator, and an ambassador for compassionate birth and parenting practices, “Pregnancy and birth are normal life events for most women. To this end, interventions should be kept to a minimum wherever possible. A baby who is born gently and welcomed by warm, caring parents receives the best possible start in life. Women who are well prepared in their minds, bodies, and spirits can experience birth as a profoundly moving and empowering event.”
“Eat right, do not starve.” “Have a glass of fresh fruit juice every day.” “A glass of milk with saffron at night is good for the child.” “Go for daily walks to have an easy, normal delivery.” A pregnant woman is generally subjected to such advice from family, friends, relatives, well- wishers and, sometimes, even from complete strangers. Sadly, even though plenty of care is given to the physical growth of the child in the womb, not much attention is paid to the mental, emotional, and psychological needs of the growing child.
Parenthood is more than biology; it is a unique and beautiful journey that is demanding yet joyful. Even ayurveda stresses upon the need for the mother to be fully ready in order to bring a new life into this world.
References to Garbh Sanskar (education of the foetus) can be found in ancient Hindu
scriptures such as the Puranas and the Vedas. But the practice is not limited to India alone. Different cultures around the world encourage nurturingthebondbetweenthemotherandthe growing baby, which is similar to the concept of ‘educating in the womb’.
“A mother focussing on loving the life within her and thanking the Creator for blessing her with this gift is spiritual pregnancy according to me. During this period, one needs to focus on nourishing the soul and not just the body to make the baby more grounded and comfortable,” says well-known author Jamuna Rangachari.
The gift of motherhood
Right from the time of con rmation of pregnancytothetimeoftheD-day,thejourney of a mother-to-be entails a mix of varying emotions ranging from joy, exhilaration, hope, and ecstasy to anxiety, anticipation, dilemma, and mood swings.
The pain of labour and every other strain, however, seems to vanish the moment the newborn arrives. Holding the newborn close to her bosom is nothing short of a divine miracle for the new mother. The almost ethereal glow encompassing her says it all!
When I met Ananya, our neighbour’s daughter (after the birth of her twins), in place of the carefree and gregarious girl that I’d known
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before, I saw a mature, more patient and mindful young woman. No more impulsive decisions, no jerky actions, no more of ‘I, me, myself’ but ‘my baby rst’.
The maternal instinct is present in every woman. While some feel it prior to having kids, others do not. Apparently, even if it is missing in some, it certainly does materialise once the baby arrives. It is transformation all the way as family dynamics also undergo a sea change. Pregnancy is much more than creating a new human; it’s also about creating a new family.
1900s psychiatrist Daniel Stern explained in his books The Motherhood Constellation and The Birth of a Mother that becoming a mother is
an identity shift and one of the most signi cant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.
The making of a baby
Genes carry the information that makes us who we are. They play an important role in determining the way one looks, behaves, and a whole lot of other things about an individual. Many traits like the type of hair, skin colour, physique, and the way one smiles or laughs are passed on from one generation to the next in a family by genes.
However, there are several other aspects that impact the unborn foetus while it is in the mother’s womb. A lot of learning happens in the
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prenatal phase, thereby in uencing the mental, emotional, and behavioural pattern of the child.
Studying the pattern of early brain development, neurobiologists have identi ed a 33-month critical period (nine months of pregnancy and the rst 24 months after birth) of accelerated development. During this period, there is a biological need to learn; thus, this period is also called the ‘mental hunger period’. Neurons in the brain begin to form within 10 days after conception. Ample brain development takes place, and billions of these brain cells are added to the developing brain every day, creating the drive to learn. Psychological and spiritual development begins in the period between the last three months of pregnancy and the
rst year after birth. Mothers’ emotions and behaviour are predominant stimuli for the foetus.
Recognising and catering to these needs contribute not only to the intelligence but also to the psychological well-being of the child. This is the best gift we can ever give to a child!
In ayurveda, the birth of a healthy child is seen as equivalent to planting a tree, for which we need seeds, soil, the right time, and the right nourishment. In current times, it could be a tri e challenging to live out the ayurvedic principles, but one can surely be more aware and take conscious steps towards living an empowered and balanced, harmonious life.
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Studies show that the lifestyle of both the parents before conception has a huge effect on the children’s health in later life.
Says Swami Muktananda, founder of Siddha Yoga, in the book Spiritual Pregnancy by Joshika Kapoor, “The spiritual preparedness of the parents is an overwhelming factor in the conception of every child, whose consciousness will be moulded and fed by the spiritual essence of the parents.” When both the parents are tuned in with each other and share the joys and perils together, the journey becomes an enjoyable one. Therefore, it is advisable for both parents to adopt an awareful lifestyle, in tune with nature, each other, and their inner selves if they wish to give birth to an evolved being.
When parents are in harmony with each other, it becomes much easier for them to follow the practises and rituals related to Garbh Sanskar.
Pre-birth education—Garbh Sanskar
The Puranas and the Vedas have ample
references to the prenatal education of the baby. The knowledge of Garbh Sanskar can be traced back to ancient scriptures as early as 400 BC or, perhaps, even earlier. Pre-marriage counselling is the rst step towards Garbha
Sanskar. In ayurveda, Sushruta, the father of surgery, states that the unborn child’s mind starts developing by the fth month. Various other cultures too have recorded evidence of prenatal in uences on the unborn child. As early as 500 BC, Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, stated that the foetal environment can determine a child’s behaviour.
Mothers in Western countries often listen to classical music such as that of maestros like Mozart to make their child ‘unbelievably smart.’
Garbha Sanskar implies learning in the womb. It essentially means educating the mind of the foetus. It is traditionally believed that a child’s mental and behavioural development as well as personality begins taking shape as soon as it is conceived and that it is further in uenced by the mother’s mental state during pregnancy.
Research indicates that a baby’s brain develops up to 60 per cent while in the womb. It is also becoming more and more apparent that an unborn baby is able to respond to outside in uences such as sound, light, and movement.
There is now a growing body of scienti c evidence that supports the practices related to Garbh Sanskar and its effect on the unborn child. Modern studies have proved that a foetus
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can respond to external stimuli. In fact, the hormonal secretions activated by the mother’s thoughts can also impact the baby in her womb.
Indian legends are replete with stories of prenatal in uences. Most of us are aware of the famous story of Prahlad, the young son of demon king Hiranyakashipu, and an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Unlike his father or the demon clan, Prahlad was inspired to worship Lord Vishnu from the womb because his mother had spent the nine months of her pregnancyinSageNarada’sashramimbibing spiritual lessons that stayed with her and her son after he was born.
Another example is that of Abhimanyu, the brave young son of Arjuna, who learnt the secret of breaking into a ‘chakravyuh’ or the ‘multi-tier defensiveformationonthebattle eld’ashis father explained it to his mother Subhadra
while Abhimanyu was in the womb. Sadly, however, he did not receive the knowledge of destroying the formation which resulted in him being killed by the Kauravas.
If these claims seem exaggerated, then, in modern times too, there is enough evidence that proves how the baby gets impacted by the thoughts and feelings of the mother.
Says Riri G Trivedi, certi ed yoga therapist, clinical hypnotherapist, and a regression therapist, “Many of our personality traits and physical and emotional problems can be traced to experiences that we had while in the mother’s womb and also during the process of giving birth. Various emotional and physical problems, such as feelings of loss, alienation, rejection, loneliness, grief, relationship problems, separation anxiety, panic attacks,
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Garbha Sankara nourishes the foetus spiritually in the womb
depression,claustrophobia,paranoia,asthma, headaches,andsinusproblems,canbetraced back to the traumas surrounding birth.
Citing the case of a young lady with complaints of chronic migraine, Riri says, “The migraine attacks had started immediately after she conceived her rst child. She approached us after having tried out every other treatment. While regressing her to the mother’s womb state, she could relive the state and tap into feelings of her mother at that time. The fact that her mother wanted to abort the foetus was perceived by the foetus and it created an emotional block resulting in the migraine. After the regression session, her migraine disappeared.”
Lee Salk, child psychologist of Cornell University Medical College, concluded after his research of studying teenagers who had committed suicide that they had suffered a lot more medical problems during birth and their mothers had been ill more often during pregnancy. “Problems that occur before or during birth increases one’s susceptibility to stress,” he says.
Morris Netherton, a regression therapist, found that people who feel isolated or have autistic traits were often born to mothers who had been unconscious during birth or were taken rapidly to an incubator.
Samuel Sagan author of Awakening the Third
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Eye says, “Pregnancy is, therefore, a privileged time for spiritual growth, a time to do a lot of meditation and enlightening reading and to work on developing intuition and perception. Apart from the fact that the baby is extremely sensitive to the mother’s most secret thoughts and emotions and in uenced by them, a spiritual focus during pregnancy can bring about big inner shifts in the mother.”
Given below are some major steps which an expectant mother can take to ensure
a positive environment for
her unborn baby:
Listen to good music
Listening to good, harmonious music ensures that the baby
gets good and peace vibes
from the mother. Ancient literature says that a baby starts hearing and responding
to its surroundings from the seventh month of pregnancy. Soft and spiritual songs or mantras and shlokas or music known as ‘Garbha Sangeet,’ instrumentals like the ute, veena, and the Samveda mantra can actually help in quicker development
of the soul and mind of the baby.
Keep yourself happy
Let go of all the grudges and negativity and spend time on hobbies like knitting, painting,
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gardening, playing an instrument, or even pottery that can help bust stress and keep you happy. Isn’t it amazing that when the mother holds a crying baby close to her chest, it stops crying instantly? It is important to be at ease during pregnancy.
Think happy thoughts
As per Garbh Sanskar, the mother should not indulge in activities or practices which stress her out. Taking undue stress or watching or reading things which scare or worry you are not recommended during pregnancy as they trigger the release of hormones which may have an adverse effect on the foetus. Being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually contented during the nine months is essential. Garbh Sanskar recommends reading spiritual and educational books to shape the personality of the child in the womb. It is believed that reading when pregnant can help pass on the wisdom to the unborn child. Books with moral values or mythological stories are recommended, such as epics, autobiographies, biographies, and holy texts. It is important that her near and dear ones too try to keep her happy and stress-free and do not hurt her feelings.
Since the growth of the foetus depends upon the
health and nutrition of the mother, the dietary regime is an important aspect of pregnancy.
A balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals is, therefore, recommended. A balanced amount of calcium, folic acid, and iron make up the Garbha Sanskar diet which includes Sattvik food that is freshly prepared, nutrient- rich, and includes all ve tastes, viz. sweet, salty, pungent, bitter, and sour. An absolute abstinence from addictive substances is a must. Cigarettes, alcohol, and everything that is toxic must be avoided.
A holiday in a scenic place helps relax mentally. Vacations called ‘babymoons’ are gaining a lot of popularity these days and for a good reason! Pregnant women can take recourse to aromatherapy as well for relaxation. It uses the sense of smell that sharpens the senses and soothes the body and mind. Essential oils and other aromatics may be used to help the mother de-stress.
Yoga and light exercises
Practising yoga or some form of light exercise is recommended for the physical well-being of both the mother and the child. Pranayamas or breathing exercises help to calm and relax the body while preparing you for breath-control during childbirth. Light exercise increases
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exibility, improves blood circulation, and reduces backaches during pregnancy. Speci c Garbh Sanskar yoga asanas boost the mother’s chances of having a full-term normal delivery with minimal labour pains.
Meditation is an important aspect as it de-stresses the mind. It involves getting into the ‘no mind zone’ to help attain peace and tranquillity and enhance concentration. Visualising good things about the baby while you meditate is also a great way to bond.
Communicate with the Divine
Praying and chanting mantras is believed to be good for the spiritual development of the baby. Ancient scriptures contain mantras and shlokas which are bene cial for unborn babies. The mantras that are chanted, bless the baby with good health and moral values and are an essential partofspiritualbeliefs. RecitationoftheGayatriMantrahelpscultivateinthebabyvirtuousand spiritual thoughts.
Communicating with the unborn child
Communicating with the unborn baby is Garbh Samwaad that contributes to the mental growth of the baby. The baby can feel you and can listen to every word you say even when it is in the womb. In this way, parents can do away with formal introductions after the child is born and have fewer sleepless nights as the baby is much more content and at peace. After birth, such a baby will also have an instant bond with the parents and be more ready for breastfeeding.
Being energy conscious
Our emotional health dictates the vibrations that we emanate. There are people and places we want to run away from as the energy is either heavy or draining while there are people and places that energise us and make us feel happy. We are all vulnerable to energy. Therefore, it is but natural that the unborn too is affected by it. It is important to discern between the two for the well-being of both, the mother and the unborn baby, and ensure that one is around good positive energy and not that which is heavy and draining.
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The essence of Garbh Sanskar
Are there any key differentiating qualities between children born using Garbh Sanskar and
• The ancient text tells us that children born with the appropriate prenatal education are gifted with enhanced ojas and tejas (vital energy essential for the body).
• They have a stronger mind, intellect, and memory.
• They have creative minds and are more con dent, brave, bold, loving, happy, and with an attitude of service.
• They have a good blend of all the four attributes—mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.
• Children are born with improved immunity and are healthier at the time of birth.
• If the prenatal education is begun with sincere devotion from the planning stages, the risk of hereditary diseases in children gets mitigated to a great extent.
Giving birth in a holistic environment is as important as conceiving the baby spiritually. Jaqueline Maria Longstaff, founder of the Singing Heart Ashram near Arunachala in Tamil Nadu, says, “My own birth in this lifetime lasted three days and three nights. It took years to be free from this trauma. A traumatic birth can in uence the rest of a person’s life. I truly understand the importance of more enlightened birthing methods.”
She visualised a place called the ‘Cosmic Airport’ where souls can come for spiritual birthing. She says, “Years ago, I awoke one morning and, lying in bed with closed eyes, was surprised to see an airport appear. I saw an arrival lounge, departure lounge, and transit lounge. As the vision became clearer, I could see that the arrival lounge was a place where women gave birth to babies painlessly, in an enlightened energy eld, so that babies arrived conscious and un-traumatised.”
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She advises expectant mothers, “As a woman prepares for birth, it is important that she really knows herself and is not afraid of her thoughts and emotions. A pregnant woman goes through many changes. Pregnancy is a maturing process, yet, at the same time, her unconscious comes up to the surface. Sometimes pregnant women are said to be hysterical, but this is simply because everything surfaces and culminates with the birth. This is why it is a great help if the woman knows herself well and can accept all aspects of her personality. Hopefully, the partner can accept this situation and support. She is maturing into a mother, and for this to happen fully, a good intuition and sense of responsibility are needed which can develop naturally during pregnancy.”
Jaqueline advises women to prepare their physical body with things like yoga, re exology, massage, or relaxation. She tells them to treat themselves with love and respect during their pregnancy. On the inner level, the mother can mentally visualise a light- lled birth canal for the delivery of the baby.
Jaqueline has worked with re exology for pregnant women and describes how re exology strengthens the physical body. Research also shows that it eases pain, stimulates contractions, and loosens the placenta if it is stuck. It helps even if it is done only during the
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pregnancy and not during the birth. Some years ago, British research showed that with the help of re exology, the average length of time for a birth was ve hours and three minutes. Research shows that women who receive re exology have fewer complications during pregnancy and childbirth. It has also been seen that re exology, massage, homoeopathy, and ower medicines help not only alleviate pain but also tiredness. However, the woman should not be told what she must use but should be encouraged to listen to her body and use what is most comfortable for her. Different women have different needs. A woman giving birth should also be encouraged to let her body do what it feels like doing during the birthing process.
The function of the man is to support and be totally present for the woman giving birth. He can be with her in body, mind, and spirit and give her peace and security. Ideally, the man shouldn’t get caught up in practical things.
Every parent wants the best for their child. A healthy pregnancy is necessary to ensure the baby’s well-being after birth too. Garbh Sanskar has gained popularity as an enabler for the mental and physical development of the baby.
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