A Vedic Perspective on Postpartum Depression
[00:47] The Magnificent Gift of Motherhood
Let’s for a moment direct our thoughts to that being to whom we have and owe the greatest debt in our lives. And who is that being? In Sanskrit, we say Mata, M-A-T-A. It means mother. Mother.
She who gestated the body in which we live. She, who, for ten months, from the Ayurvedic perspective a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, 4 x 10 is 40, that’s ten months, about ten months is the proper amount of time of gestation, who gave us the body in which we exist.
And there is a tendency in modern psychology to blame mothers for everything. There’s a tendency in the ancient Veda to credit mothers with all good things.
Whether primordially or primally, she transferred to us the capability of the magnificent human brain. Not the little squirrel brain, not the junebug brain, not the gorilla brain, but the human brain with the vast 10 to 12 billion-neuron cerebral cortex.
The brain that has the capacity for computing that is beyond everything, built by mother. Brain built by mother. Out we came. Brain built by mother, and the rest of the body followed.
For us to have a proper appreciation of what it does to the physiology of a woman when she builds a brain and builds a body, it beggars belief. The taxing effect on the physiology of a woman is dramatic.
[03:04] The Needy Sound of a Baby
And almost no women at all have the advantage that we have, as Vedic Meditators, of knowing how to meditate their way through a gestation, a pregnancy, to meditate their way through the beginning days of the neonatal phase, where the baby has come out, and what the mother can do to keep her mind and body balanced. Almost no mothers.
We can say millions do have that knowledge, but millions out of eight billion, which is the population of the Earth, millions is nothing, a drop in the ocean, and we need to expand that knowledge. Without that knowledge, there is a phenomenon that occurs to varying extents in all mothers.
It’s not exclusive to certain mothers, contrary to popular belief, and that condition known as postnatal depression or postpartum depression is a state that affects absolutely every mother in varying degrees.
It’s a state that is partly caused by hormonal imbalance, which should be temporary, with proper knowledge it can be made temporary, by a lack of restfulness, interrupted sleep, by the woman’s body fluids being drained into the process of making breast milk, by the re-engaging of all the menstrual cycles, which were the feature of the woman’s life prior to pregnancy, and her relationship thereby with all the planets and the stars, the people around her, and then this little baby that, as lovely as a baby may be, is just demanding attention 24 hours a day.
And making all kinds of noises and sounds, which are notorious for causing humans to have to pay attention. You cannot ignore the needy sound of a baby.
[05:36] A Peaceful Pregnancy: The Ayurveda Way
Does postpartum depression have to be a state that is so critically dangerous to the well-being of a woman and then dangerous, as a consequence of that, to the health of her relationships with everyone around her? No, it doesn’t need to be.
Ayurveda, A-Y-U-R-V-E-D-A. Ayurveda, I’ve spoken about elsewhere, is the ancient science of understanding and knowing your body type, knowing exactly how your body specifically reacts and interacts with different climatic changes, different elevations, different other people and their body types, different food substances, different levels of hydration, and so on.
With knowledge of Ayurveda, and complete knowledge of one’s own consciousness state, with the use of Vedic Meditation, which, on a regular strategic basis, de-excites the woman’s consciousness…
We do recommend that women who are in gestation, women who are pregnant, should practice Vedic Meditation as much as is comfortable, with the slight emphasis that more is better, in preparation for the nativity of a beautiful child and bringing that into the world, having a backdrop, a bank balance of increased adaptation energy. A bumper crop of adaptation energy should be built for the ten months of pregnancy.
And then bringing about the maximum frictionless flow into the life after the baby is born, making arrangements for family members, or if necessary, hired help to assist the mother so that she can get her meditations done after the baby’s born, or having a qualified teacher of Vedic Meditation teach her how to catch-as-catch-can, which is the mother’s program after birth.
[08:03] Ayurvedic Herbs for New Mothers
Meditate in the night. Meditate even on a full stomach. Meditate any time when an opportunity presents itself.
And then the consumption of the intelligence in certain herbal products.
In Ayurveda, the intelligence of the plants and the plant world can be imported into the physiology of a mother to give her the capacity to be stable, adaptive, and successfully interactive with all of the new demands.
Even with all of this in place, as I’ve stated before, postpartum depression is universal. The idea that only certain women are afflicted by it is absolutely a fallacy, actually. Every woman is affected by it to various extents. Some may be less. Some may be more. There’s no one who’s not afflicted by it.
Because it represents massive change, a massive change in the physiology, a massive change in the anatomy, a massive change in the psychology, a massive change in the sociology, one’s particular sense of place, what role you play in the evolution of all the beings around you. What is your usefulness in society? All of these things are critical, crucial, massive changes that afflict all women.
And we really owe it to the mothers of the world to shift our attentions from figuring out things that actually don’t matter as much, to attending to the women and the mothers of the world.
[10:08] Walking in Mom’s Shoes
Beyond that, let’s spend some time considering what our own mother went through in the phenomenon of the production of us. What was it like to be her? What was it like to be her? Rather than, Oh, she did this. Oh, she did that. Oh, blah, blah, blah, blah,” all that complaining and whining about mothers.
What was it like to be her? What was it like to be in her consciousness state, in her situation, in her circumstances, with her own upbringing? Did you have siblings? If so, were there other babies around on the site that you were about to be added to the fold? And she already had other things to do. What was it like to be that woman?
We spend very little time considering the totality of the picture of the state of consciousness of a woman. And so it’s high time that we, as a society, begin the process properly of honoring women, and specifically mothers, and their massive, mostly unsung contribution to the well-being of society, in fact, the very continuance and maintenance of society. Without them, there’s nothing. There’s nobody.
And one of these should be a concerted program to open up the treasure box of knowledge of how to minimize the impact of postpartum depression in every mother who has worthy inquiry, every mother who’d like to find out about it.
[11:58] Vedic Meditation for Mothers To Be
Meditation, learning Vedic Meditation properly, is a very important first step for any woman who’s ever even planning to be a mother. Even before you find a partner, learn Vedic Meditation. You’ll take a more sensible approach to everything.
Once you are pregnant, practicing Vedic Meditation on a regular basis, and with greater frequency, and for longer periods of time during pregnancy, and then making arrangements to catch-as-catch-can and meditate as much as you can once baby is born.
And then be in contact with your local teacher of Vedic Meditation, or with my managers via my website, to find those experts in Vedic medicine, Ayurveda is Vedic medicine, who can help you to understand your own body type and how to supplement your diet with the intelligence of the plants, the herbal world. Wildcrafted forest herbs that are beautifully constructed, cooked together, blended together in special mother formulas that are designed to enhance adaptation, enhance stability, and thereby minimize any suffering that is unnecessary in the presence of such knowledge.
This is what we have to offer to the field of postpartum depression, which is basically the state of consciousness that, in varying degrees, afflicts every woman who has ever had a baby. Some to a greater degree, and who might have gone into crisis, and others to a lesser degree, but no one is immune to it.
There’s no such thing as immunity to it. It’s there in every mother, in every woman. This is a non-controversial statement that any medical doctor, or practitioner, or psychologist, psychiatrist would agree with.
We owe it to the mothers of the world to open up the whole fountainhead of knowledge of how successfully to enter the world and bring a child into the world, minimizing the impact of stressed consciousness states of the mother.
Jai Guru Deva.