Pregnancy and Childrearing According to Tantric Principles
Part 2 in a two-part series, continued from previous article “Starting a Family According to Tantra: Planning to Conceive and the Moment of Conception.”
In addition to its advice regarding planning for the moment of conception, which was discussed in some detail last month, Tantra also has many prescriptions for a spiritual pregnancy and birth, as well as guidance for raising a child harmoniously in modern times.
Pregnancy: The Energetics of Creating a Child
While it’s very common for pregnant women to become more aware of their nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet when eating for two, a tantric yogini’s pregnancy is also characterized by attention to the energetics of food. She not only takes care to eat a well-balanced, primarily (if not entirely) vegetarian diet, she also eats more of the yang spectrum of foods. Within the context of macrobiotics, all foods are characterized as either yin or yang, which denotes their qualities in a dualistic manner and describes how each type of food contributes to either a more receptive (expansive, flexible, passive, i.e., yin) or emissive (contracting, rigid, active, i.e., yang) manifestation of that person. In macrobiotic energetics, the yang tendencies are considered stronger and more important for the early development of children.
Michio Kushi, a famed Japanese researcher and founder of the US-based Kushi Institute, is a leader in the field of embryology, which employs this emphasis on food and other macrobiotic energetics as they pertain to the growth of fetuses. Kushi’s research is worth referencing by any expectant mother.
According to Kushi, in nine months the cells of a developing fetus multiply by approximately a billion times whereas following birth, the child’s growth increases by only 23 times during the next 90 years. So accordingly, a change of only a few degrees in the beginning, during pregnancy, can give an exponential return. According to macrobiotics, which tantrics widely subscribe to as a system of food energetics, a mother should eat as perfectly as possible during those nine months. She should not feel pushed to the level of neuroticism, but should rather feel guided and inspired for the duration of her pregnancy. A balanced diet of, for example, 40%/60% (yin/yang) which is also very pure and simple, will do wonders for the developing fetus. The difficulty lies in choosing primarily yang foods, as one look at the list shows that yin foods are always juicier, tastier, and most often preferred!
During a woman’s pregnancy, Tantra prescribes meditation, tantric lovemaking, and the appropriate Yoga practices suitable to give the growing child the best energy for his or her development. The expectant mother should examine the music she listens to for its resonance (no Metallica!) and should care seriously for her emotions to avoid entering states of anger, depression, etc. She is the steward of this child, his environment knit tightly with hers, and even emotions have an influence at the astral level. To express love for the child coming, she should aim to spend as much time as possible in loving and divine states of consciousness. In fact, if a woman can reach states of samadhi during pregnancy, that child will already be much closer to a very spiritual life.
It goes without saying that childbirth itself, as the culmination of pregnancy, should be as natural as possible. A tantric woman who has long been practicing breath control (pranayama), kegal exercises (for the muscular control of the yoni, or vagina), and frequent periods of deep relaxation should have a much easier time of childbirth. A tantric woman may be under the care of a midwife rather than a hospital’s staff, and she may also have a doula, or labor coach, present during water birthing, hypnobirthing, or another natural home birth; even birthing among dolphins has been documented. It is highly recommended for all women to search online for the clips and films available on orgasmic childbirth – not only is this actually happening, it is possible and within reach for all women with a mindset of openness to aspire for this ideal.
The Tantric Family: Raising Children in a Tantric Way
Starting with breastfeeding, which should be continued for as long as possible (minimum two years for the maximum health results and maturity of the immune system), there are many things a couple can do that align with tantric practices and can contribute to the best development of a child.
Medically speaking, in yogic communities, it is often recommended to avoid vaccinations. This will have to be the parents’ personal decision based on their own research. According to some studies, vaccines increase the likelihood of autism in a child and even carry health risks. The motivations and loyalties of the allopathic medical industry are explored candidly in books like The Medical Mafia, which can enlighten our choices in this regard.
In addition to inviting the child to be present during the meditative practices of the parents, which engulf a child in beneficial spiritual energies from an early age, the child should be taught about tantric principles and values (including nonviolence, truthfulness, etc.) and encouraged to feel his or her chakras. The sight of a young child spontaneously choosing to meditate is truly beautiful to behold!
Lastly, the parents should commit themselves to acting as living personal examples for their child, using disciplinary techniques that rely on wisdom and not intimidation and force. Tantric parents do their best to avoid exposing a child to TV, video games, white sugar, and harmful influences. They also commit themselves to their child’s real freedom and independence, that she view herself as a being with the ability to participate in her destiny and not as property or an extension of her parents’ dreams. This kind of respect should always be present when we decide to become involved in the fate of another soul. Through conscious tantric practices with regard to becoming parents, we can enable the highest expression of this beautiful inner calling.