By Sahaja Douglass
I once asked my spiritual teacher, “Amma, if I become pregnant, how should I care for myself and the baby?” Her sage advise (spoken in deep, honey-toned Malayalam) was, “ Rest, especially during the first four months.” Simple. Practical. Profound. What best nourishes and nurtures a developing baby and pregnant mom is to chill out.
Preparation for the BIG CHILL
Throughout history, when couples wanted to expand their families, they PREPARED! Purification rituals were conducted for the woman and for her man, the blessings of spiritual leaders or prominent community members were sought, and plans were made by family members to nurture the pregnant woman so she could rest, relax, pray and spend her time in ways that made her feel happy. Usually, couples followed a specific diet that helped with fertility and nourishing their baby.
Not any more. Modern life is fast, furious and often stressful. Typically, if a woman makes plans to connect with her baby, it happens after birth, even though the baby’s development is critical from the start.
Prenatal neurological research demonstrates the negative effects stress has on the baby’s brain development; a stressed out mom produces chemicals called catecholamines, which send messages to her baby that there is danger in the world. In response to this warning of danger, the parts of the brain that are involved in “fight or flight” develop more “hair triggers” and the areas of the brain involved in social intelligence, compassion, healthy interdependence and peace are stunted in their development. This does not happen as a result of minor daily irritations, like traffic or burning a lasagna, so don’t worry!
However, if a mom is chronically stressed it’s not good for her baby! The increase of babies born with developmental challenges and childhood diseases is worthy of attention and can inspire us to take greater care when planning for conception and pregnancy.
So, what can we do to invite and support babies that are healthy, happy and spiritually attuned?
2. Meditate and pray
3. Practice gentle yoga
4. Eat nutritious and organic whole foods and take a quality whole food prenatal
5. Detoxify our home environments
7. Listen to soothing music
8. Turn off the TV (and computer after you’ve read this blog)
9. Take walks in nature
10. Lovingly gaze into the eyes of our Beloved