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Spiritual awakening through the motherhood journey

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Abstract

Motherhood is an opportunity for creative spiritualgrowth and transformation in women. This potential lies latent in the intense emotional experiences inherent in mothering which are designed to bej?ui+l and to accelerate spiritualdevelopment. We interviewedfirst-time mothers regarding the revelations they came t o via the challenging experiences of motherhood. Mothers describedthe lessons they learned as spurring a rebirth, as ifthey themselves were born, with new eyes, awakened t o a reality of life which they had not known before. They spoke in intense4 spiritual language even though at times they themselves did not acknowledge or realize it mirrored the basic spiritual tenants ofcompassion, patience, surrender, and Divine love. While listeningto their collective voices, we could not he^ but hear the universal story of the hero myth. In deciding to mother a child, women are in fact spiritual heroines called to the daunting adventure of motherhood, where through a series of trials they are brought forth into a richer, more mature condition. When occurring against a culturalbackdrop, however, that does not recognize nor honor mothering as a critical window for spiritual awakening, women navigate this journey unas-sistedandare at higher risk for dysfunction. It is time then to change the current myth of motherhood to a new conceptualization that recognizes spirituality as an essential and integralpart of the mothering experience for the betterment of all mothers, their children, and the ultimate renewal of society.
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... However, over the past several decades, the primary setting in which birth occurs is hospitals. The ID:p0085 hospital setting may undermine the emergence of the spiritual aspects of childbirth (Athan & Miller, 2005;Hall, 2015). Conversely, home birthing seems to be associated with greater expressions of the spiritual experience with a concomitant increase in the perception of childbirth as a positive and validating life experience (Burns, 2016;Klassen, 2001). ...
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PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to examine the how different aspects of the birthing environment were associated with a parturient's states of consciousness, spirituality, and satisfaction with the childbirth experience. DESIGN The study utilized a convergent mixed methods research design involving both quantitative and qualitative components with convenience sampling. In total, 276 Brazilian postpartum women completed a states of consciousness mini-test and the Expressions of Spirituality Inventory—Revised. A small subsample of women who gave birth in different settings were also interviewed. Quantitative data were examined using descriptive statistics, bivariate correlations, and analysis of variance and covariance. Qualitative interview data were thematically analyzed. MAJOR FINDINGS Home birth and the absence of a physician were associated with a higher occurrence of favorable non-ordinary states and satisfaction with childbirth. Spiritually-inclusive birth preparation was found to be associated with most spirituality and states of consciousness variables and more than childbirth satisfaction. MAIN CONCLUSION Non-ordinary states emerged from a parturient's sense of security with their surroundings and from preparation for childbirth. Spiritual experiences were related to pre-existing spiritual beliefs and practices.
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... Unlike other spiritual "crises" that may befall us unwittingly, motherhood can be reconstructed as an empowered choice to willfully embark on a spiritual journey. From the Jungian point of view there is no spiritual neutral ground and motherhood, like the mountaintop, is no exception (Athan & Miller, 2005). ...
... Women experiencing distress in the formation of their family may be best served by drawing on their faith or sacred resources, because r/s beliefs have been well-documented to contribute positively to people's health and wellbeing, particularly when dealing with significant stress, personal threat, or loss (Gall & Cornblat, 2002). Although a recent growing body of literature has described r/s as part of motherhood, it has mainly focused on successful pregnancy and childbirth, with relatively few studies linking r/s factors to the more distressing spectrum of reproductive life (Athan & Miller, 2005;Callister & Khalaf, 2010;Jesse, Schoneboom, & Blanchard, 2007). Roudsari, Allan, and Smith's (2007) literature review revealed a "remarkable gap" in the scholarship on infertility and religion, whereas Cowchock et al. (2010) listed religion as playing an especially important role for bereaving the loss of a child. ...
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