Updated: Sep 5
Mothering the Mother
42 Days for 42 Years
Ayurveda for Pregnancy and Beyond
Mothering the Mother is about nurturing mothers in all stages of pregnancy and beyond. The intention of this guide is to cultivate harmony throughout the sacred journey of birth. This book is centered on the aspiration of welcoming the healthiest, most serene, and radiant child into the world. Simultaneously, to empower the mother, nurturing her to become the happiest, most tranquil, and authentically aligned version of herself.
Gratitude flows from the depths of my heart, a boundless river of appreciation to all my mentors and guides. To Baba Hari Dass, whose teachings on purification and his embodiment of wisdom have been a guiding light on my path. To Kalpana and Devakar, who extended their unwavering belief in me, along with kindness and care, during moments when I felt undone. Jaisri Lambert, your guidance, love, and support have been a treasured gift, and your offer to edit this book is a blessing beyond measure.
To my family, who continuously remind me of the ceaseless blessings within the Universe, for being steadfast partners on this journey, especially on the red road, and for providing unyielding support and reassurance. To the Universe itself, for its boundless abundance and unwavering support throughout my evolution.
I extend my appreciation to the wisdom of Africa and the profound teachings of Malidoma Some. To Bonnie Davis, who stood by my side as my birthing support, and to Leslie Gunning and her dedicated team who provided unwavering support throughout the entire birthing process. Julie MacDonald, you have been my energetic guardian and dear friend, and I thank you. To all the courageous souls on this planet who follow their hearts, I offer my gratitude. To the healing and transformative power of medicine and the profound wisdom it imparts. Darrel Bob of the International Indigenous Leadership Gathering, you have been a beacon of inspiration on my journey, and I am grateful. Suzanne Robiquet, you held me in ways no one else could, and I am deeply appreciative of your presence in my life. To every single person who has crossed my path, leaving footprints of wisdom and love. Dr. Sarita Shrestha, Dr. Kelkar, Ambika, and all the dedicated staff and residents at Mount Madonna, your contributions have been invaluable. Dr. Lad, your teachings have been a wellspring of knowledge and insight. To Kashi, for your enlightening pregnancy yoga teacher training, I extend my thanks. Sydney Badger, your wisdom has illuminated my path, and I am grateful. And to Caroline Myss, for sharing your truth and wisdom with the world, I offer my heartfelt appreciation. With boundless gratitude to each and every soul who has enriched my journey, shaping it into a rich river and garden of love, learning, and growth.
Listen to your heart
Find your rhythm,
Allow quiet time,
Respond to the pain,
Ask for what you want.
Draw upon your inner strength.
Reach out. Laugh.
Accept challenges. Cry.
Feel your strength.
Release the tension.
Trust the process.
Let go of fear.
Be present. Sing.
Open your heart.
Embrace the experience.
Mothering the Mother: A Transformative Journey
The journey of pregnancy is nothing short of a profound transformation, one that forever alters your life, your reality, and your future. As you embark on this path, the impact of your hormones will work their magic, reshaping your body, stirring your emotions, and challenging your mind. At the heart of it all, your entire being is preparing to welcome a new soul into your belly, to nurture this incarnating being, and eventually, to bring forth this young human into the world. You are bestowed with the incredible gift of giving birth from your own body.
In these sacred moments, you embody the creative aspect of the divine. Your radiance and consciousness become a beacon, attracting a soul into this world. Over the course of 40 weeks, you are the fountain of spirit that nourishes not only the body but also the character of your child. Every experience, sight, sound, and even the energies you expose yourself to play a role in shaping your child's development.
Your heart longs for consciousness and awareness, both as a woman and as a mother. You yearn to transform your radiance, cultivate a healthy lifestyle, and elevate your consciousness. Your deepest desire is to offer your child and your family inspiration, values, character, and a life filled with happiness. Know that you are not alone in this longing; it is a universal aspiration shared by countless women on this planet. You can achieve it.
As Tarn Taran Kaur Khalsa beautifully states in "The Gift of Giving Life," the journey of motherhood is a transformative one. It is an opportunity to awaken, transform, allow, and be the best version of yourself.
The journey of pregnancy is a profound transformation that touches every aspect of your being. As you navigate this sacred path, it's essential to not only nurture your physical body but also support your emotional and spiritual well-being. This chapter explores how to embrace the transformative power of motherhood and offers guidance on self-care through Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle practices.
Supporting Your Physical Body with Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle:
Balancing Doshas: Ayurveda recognizes three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—each with its own qualities. During pregnancy, it's crucial to maintain balance. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine your dosha and receive personalized dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Nutrient-Rich Diet: Emphasize nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits. Incorporate herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, and fennel, which can alleviate common pregnancy discomforts.
Hydration: Stay well-hydrated with warm water or herbal teas. Avoid excessive cold or iced drinks, which can aggravate Vata.
Prenatal Yoga: Gentle yoga postures tailored to pregnancy can help maintain flexibility, alleviate aches, and prepare your body for labor. Consider joining a prenatal yoga class for guidance.
Meditation and Mindfulness: Cultivate inner calm through daily meditation and mindfulness practices. Deep breathing exercises can help manage stress and anxiety.
Abhyanga: Self-massage with warm, nourishing oils like sesame or coconut oil can soothe your nervous system, reduce stress, and support skin elasticity.
Adequate Rest: Prioritize sleep and rest. Create a peaceful sleep environment, and consider a warm glass of milk with spices like cardamom before bedtime to promote relaxation.
Pregnancy-Specific Yoga Nidra: Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation technique that can help you connect with your baby and release tension. Explore guided pregnancy-specific Yoga Nidra sessions.
Ayurvedic Recipes: Incorporate Ayurvedic recipes into your daily meals. For example, try a nourishing Kitchari—a blend of rice and mung beans cooked with healing spices. Add vegetables for extra nutrients.
Journaling: Maintain a pregnancy journal to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It's a therapeutic way to process emotions.
Therapeutic Support: Seek the guidance of a therapist or counselor if you're struggling with emotional challenges during pregnancy.
Positive Affirmations: Create a list of positive affirmations to boost your confidence and mental well-being. Repeat them daily.
Visualization and Focusing on What You Like:
Birthing Visualizations: Practice birthing visualizations where you imagine a calm and peaceful birthing experience. Envision yourself surrounded by supportive individuals and a loving atmosphere.
Baby's Arrival: Visualize the joyous moments when you hold your baby for the first time. Focus on the positive aspects of motherhood that excite you.
Resources and Words of Wisdom:
Books: Consider reading books like "The Ayurvedic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" by Vasant Lad and "Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful" by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa for more in-depth information on Ayurvedic pregnancy care.
Doulas: Explore the option of hiring a doula—a trained professional who provides emotional and physical support during labor and delivery.
Online Communities: Join online pregnancy forums and communities to connect with other expectant mothers and share experiences.
Ayurvedic Practitioners: Consult with experienced Ayurvedic practitioners who specialize in pregnancy care for personalized guidance.
Ayurvedic Recipes: Seek out Ayurvedic cookbooks or online resources for delicious and nourishing recipes that align with your dosha.
Words of Wisdom: Remember that every pregnancy is unique, and it's okay to seek support and guidance. Embrace this transformative journey with an open heart, trust in your body's wisdom, and allow yourself to savor the beauty of becoming a mother.
As you embark on this transformative journey, remember that you have the power to nurture and support yourself through Ayurvedic wisdom, psychological resilience, visualization, and a deep connection with your own desires and preferences. Embrace the journey with love, and may it bring you profound growth and joy.
Compassion: Nurturing the Nurturer
Compassion begins with being compassionate with yourself. By extending kindness and understanding to yourself, you unlock the potential to become the best mother you can be. The journey of motherhood is not without its challenges, and self-compassion is the key to navigating them with grace and love. When we know ourselves and what makes you feel good and alive you can communicate that to others during your birth process and beyond.
Compassion lies at the very heart of motherhood. It's not just about caring for your growing baby but also about tenderly nurturing the woman within—the one who is about to embark on a transformative journey called motherhood. This chapter delves deeper into the profound importance of self-compassion during this critical phase in your life.
The Importance of Self-Compassion: Motherhood is a beautiful, yet demanding, journey filled with both joys and challenges. While you are nurturing a new life within, it's easy to forget the importance of nurturing yourself. Here's why self-compassion is not just a luxury but an absolute necessity:
Emotional Well-being: Pregnancy and early motherhood can bring a whirlwind of emotions. Self-compassion allows you to acknowledge and accept these feelings without judgment. It gives you permission to experience the entire spectrum of emotions without labeling them as "good" or "bad."
Physical Wellness: Your body undergoes immense changes during pregnancy and postpartum. Self-compassion encourages you to prioritize self-care, ensuring you get adequate rest, nourishment, and exercise. It reminds you that your well-being is interconnected with your ability to care for your baby.
Stress Reduction: Motherhood often comes with stress and anxiety. Self-compassion acts as a buffer, helping you manage stress more effectively. It teaches you to respond to challenging situations with kindness rather than self-criticism.
Resilience: Nurturing self-compassion equips you with the emotional resilience needed to face the uncertainties of motherhood. When you approach difficulties with self-compassion, you bounce back more quickly and adapt to changes more effectively.
Techniques for Practicing Self-Compassion:
Self-Kindness: Treat yourself with the same kindness and care you would offer to a dear friend. When facing self-doubt or criticism, ask yourself, "What would I say to a friend in this situation?" Then, offer those words of encouragement to yourself.
Mindfulness: Cultivate mindfulness by staying present in the moment. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness helps you distance yourself from negative self-talk and promotes self-acceptance.
Self-Compassion Meditation: Explore guided self-compassion meditations. These practices are designed to help you develop a kind and nurturing inner voice.
Seek Support: Connect with other mothers, either through support groups, friends, or family members who can empathize with your experiences. Sharing your journey with others can alleviate feelings of isolation.
Self-Care Rituals: Create self-care rituals that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it's a warm bath, reading a book, or taking a leisurely walk, prioritize these moments for yourself.
Words of Wisdom:
"You are enough, just as you are. Each emotion you feel, everything in your life, everything you do or do not do... where you are and who you are right now is enough. It is perfect." - Haemin Sunim
"Be kind to yourself. Remember that self-compassion is a journey, not a destination. Treat yourself with the love and care you would give to your child, for you too are a precious life deserving of nurturing."
Books: Explore books like "Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself" by Kristin Neff for a deeper understanding of self-compassion techniques.
Mental Health Professionals: Don't hesitate to seek guidance from mental health professionals who specialize in maternal mental health. They can offer valuable tools and support.
Mindfulness Apps: Download mindfulness and meditation apps that offer guided practices specifically tailored to self-compassion.
Remember, practicing self-compassion is not selfish; it's an act of profound self-love that benefits both you and your growing family. By nurturing the nurturer within, you become better equipped to provide love, care, and empathy to your child. It is through your own self-compassion that you create a nurturing environment for your family to thrive.
Empowering Communication: Nurturing Needs and Desires
Communication is the cornerstone of motherhood's transformative journey, where clarity becomes the catalyst for understanding and empathy. This chapter delves into the profound significance of clear and empathetic communication, introducing the transformative power of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) while celebrating the wisdom inherent in a mother's intuition.
Clear communication within the family and birthing team is vital for fostering a harmonious and nurturing environment. As a mother, expressing your needs and desires with precision not only nurtures your own well-being but also creates a loving atmosphere for your child to thrive. The introduction of NVC, a framework rooted in empathy and non-judgmental expression, empowers mothers to communicate effectively. By observing situations impartially, recognizing and expressing feelings, articulating underlying needs, and making actionable requests, mothers can foster compassion and cooperation within their families.
In this journey, a mother's intuition emerges as a guiding force, drawing from her profound connection with her child. Trusting this intuitive wisdom is vital in decision-making, often leading to choices that align with her child's well-being. Taking responsibility for one's needs and desires, combined with intuitive insights, empowers mothers to advocate for their children's best interests. In the interplay of clear communication and maternal intuition, a mother's voice becomes a beacon of love and guidance as she navigates the multifaceted path of motherhood, nurturing not only her child but also her own soul along the way.