Are the 9 months of pregnancy over glorified? A time, when a woman ought to feel excited, glowing and in touch with her maternal side. A time when she is to be happy and relaxing as much as possible. I often imagined a pregnant woman walking through the fields in a perfect floral dress with a gigantic smile on her face. This was before I was pregnant.
The Bumpy Ride
What is the reality though? In this day and age, pregnancy is not easy, whether it is the actually pregnancy itself, financial stress, work stress or new adjustments up ahead. We live in a society where we are independent, unlike eastern society. The transition to motherhood if all on our own. Family might come around the time of delivery. Mother and mother in laws may even stay for a week or two, but after that- it is just you, baby and husband. Motherhood surfaces all types of emotions and craziness, but so does fathergoo. Women tend to speak out, men tend to hold it in.
Until recently, I never understood this tradition known as garbhani paricharya. In India, pregnant women go to their parents home for up to a month before delivery and stay for at least 45 days post-delivery. Mothers care for their daughters by preparing foods that are vata pacifying and help out in taking care of the baby. Traditionally, the husbands come to visit and stay on weekends.
I thought to myself, wouldn’t she feel more comfortable in her own home with her husband and baby instead? This is supposed to be a time of bonding, so then why stay away? What many do not realize is that dads-to-be are going through major mental and emotional stress, subconsciously and consciously. Some women experience their husbands stress may it be directly or indirectly. By staying at her parent’s place she can focus on her recovery and the baby.
The countdown became more real as my husband and I developed our own fears about parenthood. Even after communicating these fears, they would often resurface. The idea of staying with my parents post-delivery was a bit terrifying, and 1.5 months is a pretty long time. I had envisioned, my husband and I bonding with the baby in our home and slowly adjusting to parenthood. Though, I kept questioning myself, if he would be able to give the support and comfort necessary during postpartum with his long workdays.
Ayurvedic Roots in Tradition
I pondered more and I found there was logic in the decision to go stay with my parents after giving birth. Initially I thought it was not fair for my husband to have less quality time with our baby. I was surprised that he completely supported this decision. In fact, he jokingly mentioned how he was looking forward to sleeping through the night for 1.5 months!
In a way he was relieved- to know that I would be well taken care of, fed, without having to worry about keeping our home tidy or run errands. Instead I would be able to focus solely on recovering myself both physically and mentally.
According to Ayurvedic tradition, garbhini paricarya is to help the mother recover. It is to support and care for her so that she is less likely to develop postpartum depression. It is deep rooted in Ayurveda to prevent postpartum depression or any other vata related diseases.