Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spirituality and Childbirth

Gold Dome Masjid by TeeJe.
Gold Dome Masjid by TeeJe

The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.

Much of a woman's allure, is not in the color of her eyes, or coquettish smile, but rather, lies in the layers of tissue, muscle and fat which conceive, nourish and birth her children. It has been written about and allegorized since pen was put to paper, probably even before. Women themselves ponder its meaning and symbol. Rightly so, for it is hard to find a greater sign on this earth of something more powerful, more majestic, more intelligent, than a mother's growing girth and the subsequent perfection of her rose mouthed babe.

Many women find themselves in a more reflective state while gestating their young. Who will this little one look like? Boy or girl? When will the labor begin? How long will it be? Will I be able to breastfeed with success? With so many unknowns it is no wonder that many women turn to a Higher Power to make sense of it all. It is calming and reassuring knowing that with all the uncertainty and upheaval that this new life has brought, that it is the same Power who called its soul forth and into your womb, the One who will bring the contractions, who long ago rendered the gender of your baby, and who has brought many, many women to the other side of this childbearing experience. What a glory to participate in a child's creation!

And now modern science has proven it. A study was recently published in the Journal of Perinatal Education which showed a connection between childbirth and a woman's spirituality. They looked at data collected from 250 culturally diverse women over the past 20 years and concluded that many women experience a richer spiritual experience during the childbearing and mothering experience. Among other things they found:
  • Childbirth as a time to grow closer to God.
  • The use of religious beliefs and rituals as powerful coping mechanisms
  • Childbirth as a time to make religiosity more meaningful
  • The significance of a Higher Power in influencing birth outcomes
  • Childbirth as a spiritually transforming experience
Based upon their findings, the researchers are recommending that health care practitioners ask their patients, "Do you have any spiritual beliefs that will help us better care for you?" There is no time like the birth of a child to ask that question. I hope that all of the above come true for you dear readers!!

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