Through my experience as a yoga teacher, I see that nowadays more and more people are actively seeking greater spirituality in their life. They are realising that something is missing, and has been missing for a long time. They hope to break out of long held limiting patterns. They are seeking teachers and gurus for inspiration and guidance back to that source of spirit. They long to fulfil an emptiness which has not been satisfied since their childhood. Perhaps this is why so many of us fondly remember our childhood. We felt we were being guided by unseen hands (we were!) and when we grew up and left the nest, we may have inadvertently dumped the mother as guru, assuming we could then go it alone.
This book has arisen partly out of my yoga students' queries and needs for information about these topics. Firstly for themselves, and later on for their kids, they sense the future world is becoming less and less spiritually orientated. Deep down they want to develop in their family a more positive consciousness. I believe this searching instinct and the results of it should be imparted to our children from the earliest possible stage of their life and I also believe it is the mother's role to ignite that search in her children.
At this point I want to clarify my position on the role of men in the early life of the child. Firstly, as the title of the book suggests, my mission is to help awaken women to the deeper elements, and a more responsible role, in their mothering. This does not in any way mean to underplay the importance a man (be he the biological father or not) can play in a child's development. Secondly, I do not intend the tone of the book to assist in any way the popular thinking that "men can be mothers too". They can not and they should not try. They can indeed be nurturers, but as I will expand on in later sections, this is only one of a child's needs and only one of the many aspects both parents need to provide. Thirdly, I do not want to create an impression that the ideas of the book are aimed at, or away from, any particular family model; either the standard nuclear form with a textbook mum and dad; the ever-growing "blended" model; the battling single mum or dad model; or a same sex family.
Today, most couples approaching parenthood have an understanding that the father will be, to varying degrees, physically, emotionally, intellectually
and spiritually involved with the child. This involvement is much greater than it would have been in previous generations. Most men, far more than ever before, are now empathising with and supporting their pregnant partner, being an active participant in the birth, bonding earlier and more strongly with the new baby. I believe that whilst these things are of enormous value to the mother, to the father and to the family's relationship as a whole, they are of little direct value to the child before the age of about 6 months, around which time a child becomes conscious of his individuality. Beyond 6 months a child begins true social interaction, firstly with a small number of intimate people - such as the father, siblings, grandparents and close friends. Up until then, it is obvious that babies experience their mothers as part of, or an extension of, themselves, just as they did within the womb. It is ironic that during this time, some mothers are simultaneously trying not to experience the baby any longer as a part of themselves!
For many months, babies are most sensitive to an aura or the vibe of a person around them more so than any knowing of who that person might be to them or what that person might do for them. They are born with a most intimate biological and psychic connection to their mother, and for some time these are the only two channels through which their mind and body can operate.
Following a child's birth, the involvement of a male partner in sharing the parental duties, day or night, definitely helps the woman in her own requirements of sleep, personal space, lessening of domestic duties and so on, and definitely helps the man to be more empathetic with his partner's changing life. It also helps the man to appreciate the nature and needs of his child. However, whilst the child may be getting to know the father's aura, and may reap the benefits of his loving hands-on care, none of the father's efforts can equate to the subtle maternal inputs for which he is not biologically (and therefore psycho-emotionally) constructed.
Babies and women are designed for each other - from the physiology of her uterus and breasts, through the more subtle factors like pitch of her voice, softer touch and hormonal smells, to the ineffable experience of having gestated and given birth to that child and the bio-psycho-spiritual attachment that brings to each of them. I believe that no man (nor wet nurse nor child care worker) can exactly substitute for those factors. Let's face it, nature made women to be, once impregnated, a fully self contained unit,