Yoga and Childbirth - Chapter 8
Looking at the conditions of some women who have been unable to have children, and who have never adopted any, one can see childlessness can have an extraordinary influence. The women may become prone to excessive worry and nervousness compulsive talking, health fears, owners of pampered dogs, and cut off from deep contact with others. Just as the lack of fulfilment in the sexual instinct can cause frustration and neurotic symptoms, so does the lack of fulfilment of the mothering instinct in some women cause similar conditions. A man or woman may find an acceptable means of expressing and fulfilling the emotions and energies that lie behind the sexual urge, other than in sexual intercourse. Likewise, some women express their tenderness and need to care and cherish in other ways than raising a baby. However, it is not only women who feel urged to parenthood. Many men also have very great inner drives to produce a baby.
Nevertheless, this chapter is more concerned with ways and means the childless couple can use to overcome their barrenness. Despite the fact that hope can be held out to a number of such couples, it is none the less a difficult subject to approach, this being due to the fact that there are so many possible causes of barrenness. Estimates show that one in ten couples in the US are unable to have children. Also, age has a great bearing on it. Before the age of 20, only 4 per cent of women remain childless. From 20 to 24, 6 per cent, 25 to 29,10 per cent, 30 to 34,16 per cent. One of the basic causes, even according to medical opinion, is poor health. Dr Guttmacher says that
sound health enhances fertility, and the fertility level of a couple can often be improved to the point where pregnancy will occur by improving nutrition, reducing the overweight and building op the underweight, relieving anaemia, changing conditions that may be causing fatigue or correcting glandular disturbance
He goes on to say that any means of relieving nervous tension may work miracles. Other causes can be mumps in male testicles, abdominal surgery, gonorrhoea, method of intercourse, sperm content, blocked fallopian tubes, or blocked tubules in the male, over-acidity in the female sex organ, lack of ovulation, thyroid problems, and too many others to list.
What are the practical things to do then?
1. Health. Be frank, are you in good health? Do you have much catarrh? In the woman, this rubbish in the system can block the passage in the sex organs, where the sperm should pass. Are you overweight, anaemic, generally depleted, overworked, on a poor diet high in starches, alcohol, and manufactured foods? Do you smoke too much? Even if you think you are healthy, your childlessness at least questions this. In your diet, exercise and rest, make sure you are more than adequate. Diet and exercise are dealt with more fully in other chapters. Sidney Rose-Neil, a well known naturopath, told me that of the women who come to him for treatment for childlessness nearly all of them are anaemic, and respond to diet therapy.
2. The sex act. Do you realise that the most fertile time for the woman is around the fourteenth day after the last period? If so, does intercourse coincide with this? Yoga sees the sex act as something far deeper than most medical philosophy, although the act itself is enough to precipitate pregnancy in most people. If it is directed by love and respect for each other, and climaxed by full orgasm, the results are inwardly different to the unfeeling sex act. We have already seen that nervous tension or psychological problems may cause barrenness. As the sexual act can be used as the barometer of one’s psychological health, it is worth looking more closely at it. For one’s inner tensions, fears guilts or phobias may be reflected in the sex act Reich says that full orgasm is the ‘capacity for surrender to the flow of biological energy without any inhibition.’ This results in involuntary pleasurable contractions of the body.
The typical course of fulfilling sexual intercourse he describes as first a pleasurable erection. In cases of long abstinence, premature ejaculation usually occurs, before proper orgasm can be achieved. Then in the male there is the urge to penetrate; in the female a desire to be penetrated. The man is naturally gentle through feelings of love, and not because he is covering up feelings of aggressiveness, sadism, or desires to bite or hurt. The woman feels she is drawing the man in, the man, that he is being drawn in. In the disturbed emotions, this may cause tensions or problems. From here the pleasure is intense, without causing rapid ejaculation. The movements become spontaneous, and should be allowed to occur quite outside of one s conscious will. This calls for an ability to surrender entirely, and talking or laughing show serious lack of surrender. Just as the heart beats without our conscious effort, so the movements of one’s body at this time occur even though one has completely ‘let go’. Now the pleasure, which was concentrated on and in the sexual organs, begins to spread to the whole body.
Then a sudden increase in excitation occurs. While one could have interfered with the spontaneous movements before, now it becomes impossible. Contractions of the whole pelvis occurs, with a wonderful melting feeling, and there is a tremendous relief of tension. During this there are spontaneous deep breaths or cries of pleasure, the head goes back, the mouth drops open as the orgasm is reached. This is followed by complete relaxation, without any feelings of guilt, disgust, hate, leaden exhaustion, repulsion or indifference. Rather there is a feeling of tenderness and desire to sleep. Only in disturbed satisfaction is there further desire for intercourse.
If this pattern is seriously disturbed, it is worth seeking advice from marriage guidance councillors, or a psychiatrist. Although one must not alight on this as the cause of barrenness. Many extremely sexually disturbed people have babies. I have mentioned it only as a possible clue to those whose childlessness is thought to be psychological.
Other causes of barrenness in the sex act may be too frequent or too infrequent intercourse. For those whose sperm count is low, a lapse of some time prior to the fertile period will help the sperm count increase. For those who only have intercourse very occasionally, the sperm ready to emerge sometimes lose their potency, and the second intercourse will contain more active sperm. Similarly, very hot baths, or some drugs, tend to kill the sperm. A hot bath, even some days prior to intercourse could mean an inactive batch of sperm. Certainly baths should only be comfortably hot. Smoking sometimes does the same thing. Vitamin E helps such conditions enormously.
Intercourse when one is tired also seems to be a cause of barrenness. It is best to wake in the early morning after some hours of sleep, and love each other, then sleep again until it is time to rise.
3. Dreams. Take notice of any dreams that suggest changes in diet, mental outlook, or habits.
4. Medical help. If none of the above things seem applicable, arrange an appointment at a clinic where thorough examination of both partners can be given. Do not be put off by one’s ordinary doctor. I have known such a doctor tell a woman to forget about it and go and buy some new clothes!