Motherhood as a path to realization
How to be a serious Dharma Practitioner
and a Mommy at the same time
Listening to my Dharma sisters crying about how their life as practitioners will come to an end once they become pregnant inspires me to share what I think of as the great precious human rebirth in a female body.
I’m not a mother myself, but I draw my ideas from years of work – first as a medical student in a labor ward, then a nanny, a kindergarten teacher, and a children’s group leader, and later as a psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor working predominantly with children and mothers.
Mahayana Buddhism is all about serving others. It is about turning obstacles into opportunities, about giving up attachment. Having been up all night looking after children fighting to catch a breath, or standing there waiting for them to finally drop their poo into the potty for the first time (yeah!); having watched them take their first step, and utter their first word – all the challenges and boredom, as well as the joys – I see no contradiction in mothers being serious Dharma practitioners.
It saddens me to hear that many of my Dharma sisters feel excluded from the ranks of serious practitioners once they have a baby, and I know of many stories of mothers who have felt bringing their children to teachings was unwelcome. I remember finding one of my Dharma sisters outside the temple during a teaching following a highest yoga tantra initiation. There she was, with her newborn at her breast, in tears of frustration. “Now I just took this initiation and can’t be in there with you others because he is crying. And no-one else has the right to vomit into my bra…!” Oh motherhood! Surely, taking a highest yoga tantra initiation for the first time within a week of delivery is not the easiest way to approach things. They might find their formal practice is more restricted, admittedly, but mothers can continue to excel as true “secret” practitioners…!
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This article is an excerpt of the full article printed in Mandala