Yogic perspective on parenting and surrendering to instinct.

I hope the original author will forgive me paraphrasing her work. Uma Dinsmore- Tuli is a yoga teacher and author of ‘Mother’s Breath’, a beautiful book about yoga and Pranayama in relation to pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. I re-read a chunk of this book last night and this part resonated into todays thoughts.

Uma is discussing each of the 10 aspects of Yama (self control) and Niyama ,(personal discipline) which are two of the eight limbs of yoga. One of these is Ishwara- Pranidhana (‘Awareness of a power beyond us’). Uma relates this to mothering as “learning to trust our instincts as Mothers.” What i love is that she then says “This starts with learning to trust our children, (…) recognising that their ceaseless change and growth is part of the flow of vital energy , which is governed by a force beyond us.“(…) “the child’s wellbeing is a precious responsibility to have, for the child is a force of nature, a manifestation of the divine life with whose care we have been entrusted. Once we recognise this we are on our way to a deeper type of trust. ‘A mother who trusts her baby is trusting herself to trust him. It is a more harmonious way in which one person relates respectfully to another. Once a Mother discovers she can trust her child, she learns a new kind of calm.’ (Stadlen:192)” (Uma is quoting Naomi Stadlen – author of ‘What Mothers Do,, especially when it looks like nothing’ here).

For me this resonates with moments when i have personally found peace in mothering through respecting the natural ability of my child to know how much milk she needs and when (i went with breastfeeding on demand pretty much from birth to 15 months when she stopped gradually and naturally) ; later on, how much she needs to eat, (although i do still stress about her varying appetite i know deep down that if she is hungry she will eat!) and also how to respond physically to her environment (for example learning to climb stairs, and taking her part in being lifted, swung and held upside down doing baby yoga!- these are not passive movements but rely on interaction!)

We hear people talk about Mothers instincts fairly often ( although it would be nice to see this respected a bit more widely eg in the medical profession!), but to look at the interplay of a mother trusting herself to trust her baby’s inner wisdom, for me that is pretty profound! I love it.

What do you think?