A defining moment in my life was caught on camera; it was the moment my new-born son first stared contemplatively at my face, and I his. I realized he was filing away for the rest of his life, who this person holding him was, his entire world, if for a short time: MOTHER. That primitive bond of nurture, protection and comfort would come from this image now implanted in his brain...
Conscious Birthing implies conscious relationships and conscious living. Emotional maturity and response-ability are part of it. Sadly, many woman in India, whether they are aware of it or not, are in a relationship with an immature partner. Especially when married, a woman oftentimes does not only have to work, take care of the household and children, but also has to care of her husband, a “manchild”.
The manchild can operate the most complicated machines, can repair cars and fix electric equipment, but he is unable to deal with a dishwasher or washing machine. If confronted about his lack of contribution to the household and relationship, he becomes emotional like a child. Needless to say that a manchild is not the best support when it comes to reliably supporting and protecting your birthing experience. In fact, he might not even be the best partner to raise a child with, as he is still a child himself.
And what about the upcoming generation? How are you teaching your sons and daughters that house work is family work, not women’s work? How are you teaching your sons that it is not a woman thing. That women do not really like to or want to do all the care of the house. And above all, they do not want pick up after their man as if he is a child. Being pushed into a mommy role by a man is not conscious, not fair and not appropriate.
People who are emotionally immature sometimes have intense and dysfunctional relationships with their parents. For men, this can include how they relate to their mothers.
The unhealthy dynamic usually starts in childhood and is sometimes referred to as enmeshment. When a man is enmeshed with his mother, he might continue to rely on her to meet his emotional, social, practical, and financial needs (even when he is in a partnered adult relationship).
Instead of taking responsibility for their actions or behaviours that might have caused problems, a person who is immature is likely to blame others. People who lack emotional maturity tend to see and present themselves as always being an innocent victim. So an immature person might prefer to spend time with others who also lack emotional maturity, as these individuals are less likely to question, criticize, or challenge their behaviour.
You might find that you dislike many of your partner’s friends because of how they behave. You might even consider these friends to be a “bad influence” or worry that they are stoking your partner’s immature behaviour.
People who are immature often don’t have healthy ways to cope with stress. They tend to use consumption of alcohol, tobacco, food (substance abuse) as well as media (entertainment, video games, porn) to avoid their feelings, responsibilities or anything else that causes them stress. In contrast, an emotionally mature adult takes up a stress-relieving activities such as yoga, tai chi, jogging or swimming, confides in a friend, works with a therapist and basically has a solution-oriented approach to problems.
The manchild lacks a sense of responsibility for some of the more mundane aspects of adult life, like paying the bills or household tasks. He refuses to contribute to any of the cooking, household shopping, cleaning or laundry. If asked to help with chores, the manchild might respond with irritation. And he might need to be “bribed” for performing tasks that are simply a routine part of keeping a home and functioning as a responsible adult.
Menchildren who feel entitled to being treated a certain way by their partner might “act out” if they feel that their needs have not been met or have been ignored. Emotionally immature men who are parents might even feel threatened by their own children. For example, a man might be upset if his partner prioritises the kids’ needs before his (a behavior that is also common in narcissistic parents).
At first, his behavior might have been fun and entertaining. Perhaps you were drawn to him because you felt that he was a “challenge” or someone that you could “fix” or change. His childlike behavior might have made you feel like you needed to take care of him, dote on him, or guide him.
What to do?
Initially, you might have felt attracted to and enjoyed these aspects of your partner’s personality. As your relationship progressed (perhaps even to marriage), however, you might have become exhausted by, or even resentful of, your partner’s immature behaviour.
The first step is to ask yourself how you might be enabling your partner’s behaviour. It might be that there are certain aspects of your personality and life experiences that have influenced how you relate to your partner.
Think back to your childhood. Do you feel that you had to grow up fast? Were you overly responsible because you had to care for siblings or a parent? Is it possible that you are continuing to perform the caretaker role in your adult relationships?
While it is important and necessary for you toe stablish healthy boundaries it will not necessarily “cure” your partner of their immature behavior. These boundaries are for your health and well-being. You can also work on changing yourself. If you have been enabling your partner’s behavior, the changes you make (such as letting go of or shedding the caretaker role) will help both you and your partner move forward.
Throughout this process, you and your partner might benefit from working with an experienced holistic therapist to understand your behaviour patterns and work on changing them. A therapist can help someone identify the underlying reason for their behavior. Emotional immaturity can sometimes be a sign that a person has a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder (BPD).
In this context, we would like to mention The Great Indian Kitchen (2021). A movie that examines the drudgery of housework through the experiences of a recently married woman. The wife’s physical and emotional labour is invisible to her family, especially her insensitive husband. The film points out typically Indian male entitlement.“Traditional producers, in Kerala at least, would never touch a movie like this,” Baby pointed out. “That’s why we produced the film ourselves along with our friends on a roughly two-crore budget.”
Beautiful documentary series – and a must watch. The Other Side of the Glass started the conversation about a man’s experience at his baby’s birth and his need to be seen as having his own experience as the father, a partner, and a witness. Men across the US shared their experiences of birthing their babies as “like being in a war zone” and being powerless – on “the other side of the glass” even if present.
In view of the current situation in North India – lack of awareness amongst pregnant parents and medical professionals as well as a lack of facilities – we have decided to move forward with a hands-on-approach: we ask for donations. The money that reaches us will be immediately used for awareness campaigns, networking & research, website maintenance AND eventually for funding the implementation of a holistic birthing sanctuary near Dehradun (Uttarakhand).
Here we go, once again, a pregnant lady from Rishikesh contacted us, asking for a place and a doctor that would allow her a natural birthing experience. And once again, I have no one to recommend in this region! Once again I directed a pregnant woman towards South India: Kerala and Hyderabad.
It is exasperating, infuriating even, that women cannot get any holistic support for their birth planning in Uttarakhand. Forget homebirths and waterbirths. There are just no midwives / doulas around, and even if one can be found, there are no doctors / ob-gyns as back up, who have the necessary holistic view, the commitment and integrity. Because even if doctors say they support zero/minimal intervention, they tend to change their minds last minute. Usually, money is the reason, as they can charge much more for c -sections etc. Standardised clinical birthing is also time efficient (‘cookie cutter principle’) and fairly foreseeable in terms of risks. And although women might be able to get the natural birth with no epidural, they still get episiotomy and made to stay in the bed in one position… Continue reading “Birthing Dilemma in Dehradun”→
“I call on the next generation of young women to be the mothers of the Compassionate Revolution that this century so desperately needs. You have a special role to play in creating a better world. It is often thought that women are more empathic and sensitive, and more receptive to the feelings of others. These are qualities that are embodied by mothers. In this sense, women are models of humanity.” ~ His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama
You yourself may have experienced a difficult birth, and let’s face it, you only have to start talking to couples about their births, and the horrific stories start pouring out. Clearly the system around birth is not working, because it is not your body that is failing. Let’s look at how birth trauma is defined. Continue reading “The Truth about Birth Trauma…”→
While medical interventions can and do save lives in a small percentage of births, the majority of labors can unfold as nature intended. As natural mamas, we need to take back this experience! Natural birth is a tremendous rite of passage, but you just may be surprised at how beneficial it is for baby and mama.
Written by Genevieve Howland (childbirth educator, bestselling author, breastfeeding advocate, mother of three)
“Limbic imprinting is the inborn capacity of the nervous system to absorb and memorize, on a cellular level, all of the information from its surrounding environment during the early formative period– the moment of conception through 9 months of gestation, birth, and the first few years of life. Every fluctuation of the mother’s hormonal, physical, emotional experiences are registered by the fetus and non-cognitively recorded in its developing nervous system. These early impressions and sensations remain with this person throughout their entire lifespan. Good news: If the original limbic imprint, or ‘basic settings’, were undesirable and painful, it is possible to consciously create an alternative later on in life. Continue reading “Deciding factor: Limbic Imprinting”→
Conscious birthing is as much about conscious conception and parenting, as it is about the actual natural birthing process. Given India’s rich yoga and ayurveda traditions one would expect this country to have holistic doctors and natural birthing facilities available en masse – but the reality is far from it. When searching for clinics for water birthing, midwives for home birthing and experienced, holistically thinking gynaecologists in the state of Uttarakhand (North East India), there are NONE to find.
Conscious ‘conception-birthing-parenting’ are part of conscious living. What about conscious city planning and landscaping? Shouldn’t this also be an integral part of our considerations and social responsibility, in order to prepare the ground not only for the well-being of our children but also for creatingsustainable infrastructures for generations to come? Increasing traffic, the related bad air quality, noise and lack of safety are major concerns that need to be addressed – urgently and wholeheartedly.
So called modern societies have dramatically disturbed women during the child birth process and these days we seem to have not only a lack of an appropriate cultural model for childbirth but also a lack of time, patience and trust in a woman’s body, and the natural orchestration of mother and baby during birthing.
It seems standard to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. The artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the ‘bonding effect’ as the natural hormone. Continue reading “Slow Birth & Social Implications of Fast Birth”→