Sunrays: The joy of motherhood
The mental health of the child is majorly dependent on the mental state of the mother. That is why it’s important to maintain a happy state of mind during pregnancy as well as during nursing
When I see a young mother giving her all to her child, I remember the oft-quoted words, “God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers!”
Motherhood is a unique experience! Looking at a new-born’s delicate and fragile limbs, the immaculate formation of organs, both visible and invisible, makes one wonder at the miraculous way God creates a foetus.
Certain traditions around childbirth in our culture, seem to be weird and baseless, but are they? The women of yore insisted on observing a period of rest after childbirth. It was called ‘sutak’. Were these just old wives’ tales or were they scientific? Every tradition was based on sound knowledge!
Motherhood starts with conception and it never really ends.
Having carried a foetus in her womb, a woman experiences the miracle of a new life growing inside her. From the time of conception to that of delivery, the journey is punctuated with emotions. The mother-child bond starts even before childbirth.
Whether a woman delivers through natural labour or by C-section, her body goes through a lot, both physically as well as emotionally.
Each one of us has been born this way, but we tend to forget what mothers go through during pregnancy and childbirth.
The immunity of both the mother and child is very low after the delivery.
It is the mother’s milk that builds immunity in the child. It takes about ten days for the child to develop immunity. So it is prescribed that there be Havan and Puja on the eleventh or thirteenth day before meeting relatives etc. Before that, the child is too fragile and should not be exposed to other people. Only the parents of the newborn and other immediate caregivers should be allowed to touch the child. All of this is very scientific. Covid-19 has taught the world the importance of not touching strangers and the possibilities of cross infections.
The mother of the child is restricted from entering the kitchen. This is purely because she needs to rest. If she gets the luxury of rest, she recuperates well.
The rest period varies for women from different strata of society. Women from the Brahmin community were prescribed 10-day rest, Kshatriya women 20, Vaishya women 30 and Shudra women 40 days. This was purely because of the rich or not-so-rich diet available to them as well as the work they were expected to return to. Their bodies needed these varied periods of time to recover enough to resume their stream of work. This was carefully thought out to prepare each woman to return to the physical labour her lifestyle entailed.
The mental health of the child is majorly dependent on the mental state of the mother. That is why it’s important to maintain a happy state of mind during pregnancy as well as during nursing. Women, during pregnancy, were encouraged to spend time in prayers, have positive thoughts and read the scriptures. She was encouraged to sing to the child to establish a bond with it.
Our ancestors knew about the herbs that help increase lactation. Nursing the child is easier when the mother takes a good diet and does not have household chores or professional responsibilities to attend to.
A mother’s milk is a flow of emotions. The more the mother cuddles and cares for the baby, the better she is able to nurse. Emotions like anxiety, stress and sadness decrease the flow of breast milk. These emotions are felt by the baby too. So the woman was advised to abstain from going to places where there was sadness or a death had occurred.
The traditional panjeeri that contains medicinal herbs, is any day better than any multivitamins to regain strength postpartum.
Let us collect this precious knowledge from our elders and pass it on to our children… so that it is preserved for posterity!