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Influencing the Unborn Child
Yoga and Childbirth - Chapter 5
In 1962 most authorities did not believe that the unborn child could be influenced by the activities of the mother. In that year a shocked world witnessed the birth of growing numbers of malformed thalidomide babies. Yet for generations, those who had listened to their intuition had warned the public time and again that a tragedy could occur if they were not more careful in their use of medical drugs and diet. The world is still being warned that drug use during pregnancy is only part of the problem. In a world rushing headlong into the ever greater use of manufactured, synthetic and preserved foods, any number of further catastrophes still promise to mature.
Prior to 1962, it was generally believed that the placenta acted as a barrier to harmful substances ingested by the mother, or circulating in her blood. To damage a baby without killing the mother too was thought impossible. To quote from a recent scientific statement, however, ‘We now know that nothing could be further from the truth. There are a number of substances which can damage a baby profoundly, particularly during the early weeks of pregnancy, probably even before the mother knows she is pregnant.’ The harmful influences are listed as radiation, chemicals, notably drugs, and some infections. There is as yet no detailed knowledge of exactly what changes most drugs, such as aspirin, codeine, and the host of other medical chemicals, cause in the unborn child. But in animal experiments it has been found that almost any drug can damage the foetus.
Dr Guttmacher, in his book, Pregnancy and Birth, gives possible causes of damage as: German measles during early pregnancy; the transfusion of Rh positive blood to Rh negative girls or women; excessive insulin during pregnancy for the diabetic mother; poor standard of physical, nutritive or reproductive health in the parents at conception, and in the mother during pregnancy; X-ray during pregnancy, especially to the pelvic area, general anaesthesia in pregnancy during dental and surgical procedures; air travel in un-pressurised cabins before the twelfth week; children born to aged parents; medical and social drugs (smoking and alcohol, for instance).
Obviously, such statements need some comments in balancing our understanding. Despite the fact that the unborn baby can be hurt by so many factors virtually all of them due to the unnatural things men and women subject their bodies to – the foetus is, nevertheless, fantastically resourceful in meeting difficulties, especially in healthy parents. This naturally applies to elderly parents also.
Quoting once more from a reasonably conservative authority, we find the statement:
Only in recent years have we come to recognise the importance of foetal life. Its quality has a profound effect on everything that happens later to the individual. The growth and health of the foetus is influenced to some extent by its own inherited make-up, but this is profoundly influenced and -modified by its environment, probably from the very moment of conception. . . . The uterus itself must be a suitable bed and container for the baby. . . . It can only do this if the mother herself is in good health, and, ideally, the mother should be free from disease and extremely well nourished throughout her pregnancy. In general, the better the health and nutrition of the mother the better will be the baby’s chances of a healthy nine months in the womb and a robust delivery and survival.
Why drugs can be harmful
Having said this much, let us look in greater detail at the statements already made. For instance, why can drugs and unnatural procedures harm the unborn baby? What is meant by ‘a poor standard of physical, nutritive and reproductive health’? And what is a chemical?
As yet, very little is known as to exactly why drugs and some unnatural procedures cause the results they do. Perhaps we can gain a little insight by understanding what drugs do, and why we use them, or at least why they are used.
-There are many types of drugs. Some are derived from plants or trees, such as opium, quinine, and digitalis. Although found in plants they are nearly always simply one part of the plant’s chemical compound, which is extracted and concentrated. Other drugs are chemicals that are produced almost entirely artificially, either through the refining processes as in oil derivatives, or through other chemical procedures. Now drugs have entered yet another area, that of the antibiotic type, which are not inert chemicals but living moulds, as with penicillin. One can state fairly confidently that all drugs are used either to produce changes in the body, or to stop changes taking place. These are the reasons for drug use.
It seems that these are also the reasons why they are dangerous, especially during pregnancy. We need little imagination or understanding of natural processes to see why. Anything, whether plant or human, that is full grown, is difficult to alter in size, build, and basic characteristics. But the further back we go in the process of growth, the greater ability we have to direct and influence the development that will follow. In pregnancy as a whole, and in the first three months in particular, the most fantastic, even miraculous, changes are taking place. Apart from anything else, the sperm and ovum increase their weight millions of times. During these very intricate and delicate changes, any chemical or drug, which after all is specifically designed to either induce change or interfere with it, can influence the development radically.
The medical practice uses drugs because they influence the body’s nervous system, functions, cells, etc., in major ways. As adults, or established children, we can sometimes survive such drugs without too violent side-effects, because our body and its processes have reached a point of stasis that protects it. The foetus has not by any means reached this stability; its whole life is fantastic change and growth.
We have seen that drugs are either synthetic substances, or chemicals taken from plants and concentrated in order to have more profound or ‘concentrated’ results. But the statements made by doctors say that drugs and chemicals may injure the unborn baby. Therefore, what is the difference between a drug and a chemical? Basically, most drugs are chemical substances that are used for medicinal purposes. Whereas a chemical, as the word is used above, is a chemical substance (i.e. a substance artificially produced) used for non-medical purposes. The word therefore covers a variety of chemicals used, for instance, in agriculture as fertilisers and pesticides; in the home as pesticides, food additives, flavourings, sweeteners to food and drink; as fumes, gases, water additives, etc.
Many chemicals are therefore taken into our body in the air we breathe, fluids we drink, foods we eat, and household -appliances we use. At first sight these do not appear as dangerous as the use of drugs during pregnancy. It is certainly true that most of them produce nothing like the changes of, for instance, thalidomide. But at the beginning of this chapter I said -that the intuitive are still warning us of coming catastrophes. It is in this area they feel one of the greatest dangers lies. This is because of several fairly logical reasons. Most of these chemicals are taken quite unconsciously. They are taken in very large amounts. Neither is there a feeling of reserve about them as with the use of drugs.
To take but two of the most commonly used chemicals, we have white sugar and white flour and white rice. Many people will feel shocked
that I have named these as chemicals, yet neither of them occur naturally. They are produced by complex procedures. They are concentrated extracts of plants. Both produce marked changes in the body, and so could almost be called drugs. Certainly both are dangerous influences on the unborn, and the born. Why?
Some years ago, a dental expert, Dr Price, became interested in the causes of tooth decay, and also dental malformations that is, misplaced, cramped teeth, and narrow mouth. He began to investigate, and during many years research gradually uncovered far more than he had ever expected, or even looked for. He found that the causes were due to our change of diet, particularly white flour and white sugar. This may seem an interesting little snippet of information, one to be smiled over and forgotten, until we pause one moment in -thought. Remember, I did not just say dental decay; I also said dental and mouth malformation.
Is it not a sobering thought to realise that more and more of our race, through its growing diet of chemicals, are being born with malformations? Joan Grant, during an archaeological dig in the Middle East, collected forty sets of teeth. She says that -there were ‘children’s teeth, middle-aged teeth, teeth of men who were so old that the surface of the molars was ground almost smooth and in none of the forty sets I collected was there a single decayed tooth, nor a jaw abscess, nor a wisdom tooth that had not grown in exact alignment with the rest.’
Please do not think that I feel white flour, white sugar, and the other chemicals we absorb are simply causing malformations in increasing numbers of unborn babies. No, it is even worse than that. What is happening is that the drugs and chemicals are doing exactly the job they were designed for – namely, producing changes in our body. In particular, on one of the most sensitive parts of our body, the genes in our sperm and ova.
During the 1930’s, Sir Robert McCarrison, a world-famous nutritionist and scientist, carried out an experiment in diet using rats. He fed groups of rats diets common among a variety of different races. The diseases suffered in each race were startlingly reproduced among the rats. But possibly an even more important experiment, in considering the results of refined and synthetic foods, was that done by Bernasek in Prague. One group of rats was fed on wheat grain, dried lucerne, margarine cod liver oil, dried full milk, casein, calcium carbonate and salt. The other group was fed on a diet where all natural fats had been replaced by margarine, with all known vitamins, minerals and trace elements added synthetically. Thus this diet was the chemical equivalent of the natural one. All of these rats, from an original 120, in four generations had died out entirely. Quoting from an article by Michael Allaby in Here’s Health, he describes the fourth generation as follows:
From the two females remaining, two litters were produced; one litter of two young, the other of five. These seven new-born rats formed the fourth generation. Three of them died straight after birth and the other four died between the sixteenth and twenty-second days, though at first they seemed to develop normally. So, by the fourth generation the experiment came to an end the subjects were all dead.
From the autopsies performed on all the dead rats it was learned that the females which had appeared to be sterile had, in fact, conceived, but had reabsorbed their foetuses. The young who died all suffered from disorders arising from inadequate development of myelin, the fatty substance, containing protein, which forms a sheath to the larger nerve fibres, together with degenerative changes in the nerve cells themselves.
Considering the huge influx of processed and synthetic foodstuffs, this would suggest increasing sterility in humans, and growing abnormalities at birth.
Nutrition and health
This brings us to another of the medical statements, that a poor standard of physical, nutritive or reproductive health may contribute towards malformations. All that we do, all that we are, and how we live, influences our genes, and thus contributes towards the characteristics we pass on to our children. As may be seen later in this book, the genes are not the be-all and end-all of the child’s possibilities. They may be best likened to the building material which the developing baby uses. Present scientific attitude may prefer to think of them as the master plan that controls the whole development. As we have already seen, however, thalidomide can throw even the best genes to the devil. There are also other factors. Nevertheless, it depends very much upon the mothers of this era as to how our race develops in the next few generations.
It has always been recognised by animal breeders that the quality of the offspring is mostly due to the quality of the parents. It is important that the parents be in top form when they mate, as this too has a great influence on offspring. It has for long amazed me that people will go to such lengths and effort to bring their animals to top condition, regulate their diet carefully, see they are exercised, happy and content, to produce beautiful offspring, yet they themselves couldn’t give a damn when producing offspring. They rest inadequately, eat rubbish they would never feed to their animals, mate even in the middle of an illness, and generally act as if they had not a degree of intelligence. The same people walk about saying, “Isn’t it terrible the number of babies born with cancer now.”
It is the opinion of many nutritionists that most, if not all, cases of children born dead, sick, malformed, or who die shortly after birth, could be avoided by correct diet and living. In America today, the most ‘civilised’ and therefore the most badly fed country due to enormous food refinement, it is estimated that one in six men cannot father a child, 1 in 200 babies is born deformed, 600,000 have cerebral palsy, and, 1 out of 100 babies is mentally retarded.
The adults are in an even worse state as their impoverished diet leads to further degeneration of health. One in ten is likely to become a patient of a mental hospital. Sixteen million have heart defects. Nearly a million are being treated for cancer. There are eight million arthritics, and three million diabetics. Also multiple sclerosis adds another 250,000; muscular dystrophy 200,000, and TB another 400,000. Obviously, the unnamed sicknesses would take the total into fear-raising numbers. If you believe that this is the fate of mankind, to suffer and die, then it reflects the sickness of mind our society lives in. Investigations carried out by Sir Robert McCarrison, on the Hunzas of the Himalayas, showed a race to shame our ‘civilised’ races. There were no kidney diseases, no cancer no heart conditions, no ulcers, tooth decay, digestive illnesses, arthritis, malformations, or other illnesses. Neither were there any criminals, mental illness, homosexuality, alcoholism, drug addiction, delinquency, or social disturbances. They live to a great old age with all faculties, and death is usually quick and painless; a laying aside of the body. Adelle Davis, in her book Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit, also mentions the researches of Dr Price as reported in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
He tells of a people with erect postures, unbelievable endurance, and cheerful even dispositions. These people had excellent bone structure; their faces and jaws were so wide and well developed that their teeth were not crowded together, and stayed free from decay just as their bodies stayed free from disease. The statistics concerning the incidence of cancer, ulcers, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, heart and kidney diseases, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy were zero, zero, zero in every case. Names for these diseases were unknown and unneeded. Dr Price found no physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, no crime, no prisons, no mental illness and no institutions for the insane, feeble-minded, alcoholics, drug addicts; no child delinquency, no homosexuality. Every mother nursed her babies; a non-functional breast was unheard of. Mental, moral and emotional health accompanied physical health.
Many other studies of so-called ‘primitives’ revealed groups in Africa, South America, and elsewhere, having the same health and well-being. These investigations, in similar studies of such communities who had been influenced by the ‘civilised’ races even though living in the same area, but now eating civilised foods such as white sugar, white rice and white flour, found tooth decay, faulty bone structures, crime, sexual immorality, perversions, ulcers, colitis, and soon through the list of civilised sickness.
Medical and social research have also uncovered a mass of information the public knows little or nothing about. A few snippets of such information that refer to pregnancy, childlessness, and malformations are as follows.
Studies have shown that smoking not only results in a smaller baby, but in some cases in infertility. Males have shown dead sperm due to smoking. Tests on rats given nicotine resulted in decreased fertility. A German study revealed its influence on sexual hormones generally, resulting in greater incidence of sterility, frigidity, miscarriage and menstrual disturbance amongst smokers. Animals absorbing the equivalent of twenty cigarettes daily had a ten times higher rate of still-births than usual.
The Lancet and British Medical Journal both draw notice to the fact that cortisone taken during pregnancy can cause cleft palate in the baby. Other factors have also been found to cause the same results. Vitamin A and the B vitamins, especially B6, when withheld in animal diets, caused harelip in progeny. Experimenters could cause this at will simply by withholding these nutrients. Similar results have been noted in humans.
Dr Kugelman states that the increase in mental backwardness or illness in the new-born is often due to insufficient nutrition in pregnancy. The results of a seven-year test were given in the 1955 March issue of Time. 2,400 women took part in the test. They were from working-class families with poor diets. Some were given pills of no nutritional value. The others received nutritional supplements during their pregnancies. It was shown that the children from those women on supplemental nutrition were indeed of higher intelligence generally than those on the placebo.
A fascinating story is told by Dr Anna Szasz of Budapest. She has worked for many years on the treatment of Downs Syndrome children, and has discovered that vitamin E supplement given from birth causes gradual but very definite positive development to take place. One of her patients, a woman of middle age, gave birth to three Downs Syndrome children, each one worse than the last.
She then became pregnant again, but this time Dr Szasz put her on a high protein diet with plenty of vegetables and liver. She was also given full vitamin supplementation with an emphasis on vitamin E. Her baby was born at the right time, perfectly sound and healthy.
Still on the subject of Downs Syndrome, Dr Rapaport researched into the incidence of Downs Syndrome births in areas with fluoridated water supplies. He found that in areas with only up to 0.2 mlg of fluorine per litre of water, 34.15 Down’s syndrome per 100,000 births occurred. But in areas where the fluorine level was 1.0 to 2.6 mlg per litre, 71.59 Down’s syndrome were born per 100,000 births.
As pointed out elsewhere, Dr Carlton Fredericks (Ph.D.) reports that still-births rose 150 per cent in areas that became fluoridated. And animal research has shown fluoride dissolves forming heart tissue in embryos.
Experiments have shown that animals eating only proteins that have been cooked die out by the fourth generation. Considering how little uncooked foods people now eat, this naturally suggests a threat to correct reproduction. The animals developed malfunction increasingly in each generation. The same is happening to thousands of people in our society now. Our very babies, fed on a ‘formula’ instead of at their mothers’ breasts, are literally initiated into the death-dealing process at birth. Because the difficulties do not show immediately is no sign that the changes are not occurring in the baby’s body. If the baby has to have a formula preparation, the threat can be offset by feeding living protein as soon as possible. Pasteurised milk, killed as it is by heat, is not among the living protein class.
During the years 1924-29, 20,061 babies were investigated at the Chicago Infant Welfare Centre. To quote from Alan Moyle’s book About Nature Cure, the facts arising from this investigation showed the enormous difference in death rates between breast-fed and bottle-fed babies.
Infants ———– ——–Deaths –Percentage
Entirely breast-fed 9,794 — 15 —- 0.15
Partially breast-fed 8,605 —59 —- 0.7
Artificially fed 1,707 ——–144 — 8.4
Reaching a high standard of health
Having looked at some of the negative aspects of how the unborn baby can be influenced, we may turn our attention to more constructive features. If we consider what can cause detrimental results, we can begin to see clearly what will cause beneficial results. To summarise, we said that virtually all artificial and unnatural influences can cause injury to the development. This is because, being unnatural, the mother’s and the baby’s body have to attempt an adjustment to it, or normal functions are interfered with. This applies to all drugs and those chemicals which induce harmful changes, including such as ‘the pill’, and those taken as food. The prospective parents, and the pregnant mother especially, should attempt to reach a high standard of -health, on a whole-food, and as far as possible raw-food, diet.
This will be explained in greater detail in the chapter on diet. All influences that interfere with natural processes should be avoided. Great attention should be given to the body’s needs, such as sufficient exercise, rest, social relaxation, breathing, toilet, self-expression and reception of love and affection, and so on. Undoubtedly, with many of us, it will be the loving and disciplined work of several generations attempting to live in the right way, before the bodies produced are the completely beautiful and radiantly healthy temples of the soul they should be.
There is then the other side to influencing the unborn child that is at present still smiled upon as superstition by most doctors and scientists. This is the influence upon how it will look, and specifically upon the nature of its personality. Obviously, nearly all that is written about this subject has been by those I have called the intuitive section of society. Just as these were the first to point out the physical dangers of pre-natal influence, they are also the first to point out the possibilities of psychological influence. So far, it is only the physical influence that science can see for itself. Also, much rubbish has been said and written in the name of the intuitives concerning this subject. Nevertheless, there does seem to be some very serious evidence and statements worthy of consideration. To understand these statements, we have to understand how the intuitive mind works. It does not reach its conclusions by reasoning from revealed ‘facts’. It appears, in its highest form, to directly experience things, or perceive directly without the use of intellect. The difficulty then lies in attempting to express what has been experienced. It is as difficult as a scientist attempting to explain to a layman the complex relationships of biochemical activity. Fortunately, many of these intuitive realisations are to a small extent now observed scientifically.
For instance, one of the intuitive statements is that the unborn baby has, from the start, an aware relationship with the mother. This is where we begin to have difficulty in explaining intuitive terms, simply because such issues are not common knowledge. But by ‘awareness’ is not meant thought. Nevertheless, the baby is not a dead thing. All living things have awareness in some degree, and the unborn baby is certainly not a piece of rock, but has a high level of awareness. Just as a bad relationship with the mother can cause psychological difficulties in the child, and later the adult, simply because the adult develops from the child, so can problems experienced by the unborn baby cause difficulties in the child. I have noticed in one of my own sons that from the earliest part of his life, in fact from birth, he has been far more cautious and in need of security than my other children. From the time he could speak he would never allow a fire to be left on in his room; he did not walk until three due to fear of falling. Babies are often born with psychological problems. In the case of my son, this is possibly due to the difficulty of his breech birth, and its shock and strain. In others, there is evidence to show that it has preceded birth.
Meanwhile, taking it as an unproved possibility, what can we do about it? The whole force about much that has been said in regard to pre-natal influence is its inference that one can put it on’ like a regime for slimming. This influence, from the scanty information at hand so far, is not a thing we can switch on or off. It lies in the whole realm of how the woman reacts to the fact there is another being developing within her. It lies in whether she feels resentment, fear, fulfilment, love, guilt, desire to abort, and the infinity of other human feelings. Is the baby wanted? Why is it wanted, or not wanted? Is the relationship with the coming baby a mature, problem-facing one? Some have a baby as one might have a doll, others in an attempt to cement a marriage, or through family or social pressure. All these attitudes constitute a form of relationship with the unborn, and of course the born, baby, and have tremendous influence upon it. Any pressing psychological problems we may have, such as frigidity, feelings of uncleanness in regard to sex, great insecurity, deep depressions, and so on, also constitute a relationship that influences the baby, even prior to birth. Ideally, one should attempt to resolve such problems prior to pregnancy.
As nobody is perfect however, we cannot, and indeed it is unrealistic and itself a problem to aim at human perfection. What we can aim at is the admittance of our weaknesses and problems, and the attempt to recognise them as difficult areas
F that should not control the important decisions in our life. What -we can do is to see our life as a field of amazing possibilities that can be worked on, gradually moulded and released. What we can do is to attempt self-understanding, and through it growth to greater maturity and self-expression.
Let us face facts. What influences the baby most, whether born or unborn, is the whole structure of the mother and father’s personality, and all the actions and interactions that arise from this. It is unrealistic to think we can suddenly change this pattern of our moods, fears, preferences, hates and morals, just because a baby is planned or on its way. But it is not unrealistic either before or during pregnancy, to look upon oneself as a problem that can be gradually worked on and understood. We therefore have to admit that one of the greatest factors in influencing our children is what we have already done with our life. How much ability, patience, understanding, perseverance, gentleness, lovingness, co-operation, and insight we have cultivated. History proves it as at least a general fact that an Abraham Lincoln is not born from the womb of a hateful vengeful woman. It is also now recognised that any long discipline of mind, emotion or body can alter our genetic makeup. In his book Raja Yoga, Yesudian, talking on this subject, gives the example of Nijinsky, the great ballet dancer. For several generations his family had been dancers; now, the very bone structure of his foot had altered from the normal, enabling him to leap quite extraordinarily.
Special efforts during pregnancy, whether of diet, exercise, or mind, do seem to count for a lot, however. Obviously one does not have to be a great musician to give birth to a musical prodigy, or a great runner to give birth to an athlete. It helps if it is ‘in the family’, but it is by no means necessary. Again, it is the relationships between parents and child that count for most; the depth, discipline, sincerity, encouragement, example of love, that help or hinder the expression of what the child is. We do not create the child, but as parents we do hand over much in the way of physique and health, attitudes, emotions, understanding, that are the building materials, the foundation of the child’s future life as an independent being. The special discipline during pregnancy can play a very real part in this. One could, of course, quote cases like that of Amy Johnson’s mother who, during pregnancy, thought of little else except aeroplanes and flying. But such cases are unusual. What can be done is to attempt to live in as great a harmony with ourselves as possible. That is, attempt to supply what our body needs in the way of nutrition, exercise and rest. Also we can indulge in our special interests, or those things that bring great pleasure and happiness. Read again the books that have moved you, or opened depths of realisation and feeling. Listen to the music you love. Rest often. Indulge your desire to talk or cuddle or swim, or whatever it is that brings lasting fulfilment and a sense of well-being. Avoid stress as much as possible. But not in the negative sense of avoiding challenges, problems, or running away from difficulties which, if only you faced up to them, would begin to be resolved. In other words, as much as possible be yourself, your real self, the self you have always longed to be deep down, but which fears and pressures have prevented you from realising. This is all your baby requires of you. Undoubtedly though, the offering of self to Life, or God, as a channel for the expression of Life’s hidden splendour, has more influence in creating a beautiful baby than any other single factor.
Gayelord Hauser tells us, in his book The New Diet Does It, of an interesting approach to this question. He says:
Once when I was in Paris, I stood in a museum admiring ‘The Thinker’ by Rodin. Beside me was a young American woman, an acquaintance, attractive enough by ordinary standards. On close scrutiny, however, her face showed lines of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. She had told me her story; how the children had been ill all winter; there had been a siege of pneumonia besides continuous colds; and a small son had been operated on for mastoid. The winter had left her so fatigued from worry and sleepless nights and hard physical work that her husband had insisted on the holiday in Paris and had arranged for his mother to stay with the children. (Extract from The New Diet Does It reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd.)
Such stories are common enough, but invariably sad to anyone who holds the conviction that these illnesses are needless and can be prevented.
‘How I wish I might be an artist,’ she exclaimed wistfully. ‘It must be wonderful to be able to create such beauty for others to see. I spend my life cooking, shopping and nursing the children. I’m nothing, really, just a Hausfrau. It makes one seem so useless.’
She had touched on one of my deepest convictions: that every mother can be an artist, a sculptor, that she has it in her power to create and help develop live, vital beings.
‘Don’t you see that you can create beauty in building beautiful children?’ I asked her. ‘Rodin first worked in clay, then in bronze; you work with living flesh. Just as he moulded his works of art, so you are moulding the bodies and spirits of your children. Just as he spent hours in shaping and reshaping clay, you spend hours in shopping and cooking. When the cooking is done with care, and foods which build health are purchased, when those foods are prepared to save their vital elements to build beauty, then the kitchen has dignity as great as the studio of any famous artist.’
Gradually I could see her wistfulness and dissatisfaction disappear; her attitude toward housework and child care changed.
Years later when I met her at a lecture I was giving in Philadelphia she showed me three wonderful, glowing children. She had created three works of art which were beautiful not only in body, but in mind and spirit.
Love as a Creative Force
Wherever we look we see that a thought or impulse is a creative thing. We only have to look at the buildings or fields around us to see how we have shaped the world through out thoughts. Obviously action follows thoughts and feelings, but what we think and feel can influence the very sensitive process of growth going on when we are in the process of pregnancy. any ideals and hopes will influence your child, as will what you do.
As a parent, we provide an opportunity and environment in which a spirit can incarnate and become more refined. Nevertheless, I still believe that as parents we are part of a continuum very few of us really are aware of. I believe the physical and psychological health of the parents is vital, and that we should not undertake parenthood lightly. I don’t mean we should be deadly serious about it, but I do feel that we need to make sure we have the right atmosphere and environment for a child to be born into.
Because of my interest in this I have devoted quite a big area on my web site to reporting peoples dreams, impressions and experiences of readying themselves to receive and give birth to an incoming being. But of course, the birth is just the beginning of being parents.
In some of my writings about this I have said that being a parent, especially if you are the mother, is one of the most demanding, fulfilling, challenging and rewarding experiences any of us can meet. Unfortunately, northern European and American attitudes to parenthood have moved into a strange artificial condition for many people. I see some mothers wanting to be independent of their babies almost from birth. Yet being parents is one of the most fundamental expressions of being alive. It extends and nurtures life. It is a doorway through which the future emerges. And it can also be a way of exploring one of the greatest mysteries of life – the emergence of a conscious personality from a tiny mammalian life form. I believe that the personality of a child is not innate in the physical body. Left alone without being cared for or spoken to, no personality would spontaneously bloom in the body of the child.
Any personality that does develop is an amazing weaving of parental and social relationships, interlaced with the quality and hereditary traits carried in the body. Nature and nurture work together within the framework of infinite possibilities.
Parenting is like a work of art, and the canvas you work with, while not a complete blank has an incredible range of possibilities. As can been seen from studies of poor parenting, and nurturing parenting, you can raise a stunted criminal personality, or a gifted radiant person. Some parts of the art need much work. It might involve some pain and struggle. But great art is never done without a full engagement of the artist. So we need to bring to our parenthood all our creative skills. You need to use your wisdom and discernment. I believe one should not let failures turn us from creating what can be a great painting.
But looking at parenting from the light of personal transformation, being a parent is a spiritual path. Strangely I have never seen this mentioned in books on mysticism, yoga or the inner life. Nevertheless parenthood has all the disciplines of great spiritual endeavour. (See definition of the word spiritual). In the incredibly intimate relationship between mother and baby, or parents and baby, you meet the mystery of LIFE face to face. In various spiritual disciplines or belief systems this is stated in a variety of ways. In Christianity it appears as, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” In other words you are dealing with an expression of the divine in dealing with your child. In helping your child to discover its own depths and potential, you are helping Life to discover itself.
Perhaps the greatest preparation for this approach to parenthood is for you to have opened your life to the influence of your own Core or Spiritual influence. This amounts to an attempt to live your life with fuller awareness of how who you are and what you do interacts with the depths and heights of life around you, within you, and beyond your present knowledge.
As parents we do not simply help create a body for a being who has never existed before. We are a doorway for the spirit to enter on another stage of an eternal journey into discovering its wonder and place in the scheme of things. If we are open to it, we may consciously take part in this. My own experience of this was when I dreamt that a being wanted to enter into my wife. It asked me to have sex with my wife to form a body for it. We did this and I then dreamt my wife was pregnant with a son.