Birthing Ayurveda: Week 16—Your Baby's Developing Emotions
Welcome to Birthing Ayurveda, where we follow one woman's pregnancy experience week by week—from a positive home pregnancy test all the way to delivery.
During the fourth, fifth, and sixth months of the pregnancy, critical parts of the baby’s brain and mind develop. The fourth month is dominated by the development of the heart center, which involves emotions and the ability to sympathize and empathize, as well as desires and tendencies of the personality.
Normally, we do not necessarily associate emotions and passion with either the heart or the brain alone. But the heart center, specifically the fourth chakra, is the center from where we connect with the outside world—which is why our hands will come first to our heart area when something moves us before they move to the head.
Ayurveda has beautifully spoken about the mind in terms of a different set of doshas. Like vata, pitta, and kapha, all three have important functions in the mind in a healthy and balanced state. (For a more detailed description click on the word for a link to the glossary.)
- Sattva. I like to think of this quality as that which brings and seeks harmony. It is equilibrium and compassion with wisdom.
- Rajas. Rajas is like the ego’s drive to do and accomplish. Think of this quality as that which brings about divisiveness (separation between yourself and the other) when out of balance.
- Tamas. This is the quality of inertia and heaviness. Out of balance, this quality can bring about a destructive (even self-destructive) action.
There are a number of studies that have started to look at the connection between the mother’s emotional and mental state during pregnancy, and that of the child. It’s a rapidly growing field, incorporated into a larger field that studies the impact of health during pregnancy on the developing fetus as it grows into an adult, called fetal origins.1, 2, 3 For the science folks out there, take a look at this fascinating, growing field!
As I entered this week, I thought about how this center is developing in my child. Certainly this child has come with its own package of tendencies of how it will interact and relate with the world, but this week makes me keenly aware of how my emotions, my tendencies, my outlook, attitudes, and beliefs about the world, will also help shape Charlie’s.
To develop the heart center these are things that I tried, and things to consider placing more time and energy towards, during this month in particular.