Hinduism: My Stepping Stone To Natural Parenting

Having been raised in a Hindu household, it seems that my path to natural parenting was inevitable.  My parents did not practice natural parenting as I donned disposable diapers, was formula fed, received the occasional spanking, and was raised in a general “mainstream” philosophy. That being said, however, I was still raised with a very natural belief system which has remained with me and shaped the type of parent I wish to be.

Photo Credit: Author

The one thing I most clearly remember my mother telling me was that “Hinduism is not a religion, it’s more a way of life.” I understand some scholars may argue this point, however I do tend to agree as Hinduism does not have “rules” or things that are allowed or not allowed. Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all are integrated and are genuine paths of God’s light, deserving tolerance and understanding of each other.  There is no belief in Heaven and Hell. There is constant learning. Hinduism teaches that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved.

The prevailing belief that I’ve taken into my adult years as a child raised in Hinduism is this: I must act in a way that seems natural to me, as well as in a way so that I continue learning and improving myself as much as I can with the lessons this life teaches me. These same beliefs shape my views of what natural parenting is and create a desire to act and live in a way that is natural to me. Therefore, it only makes sense to me that I would want to breastfeed my baby, to cloth diaper to reduce the environmental impact on the earth that I will bring my children in to.

Looking back on my childhood it surprises me how young I was when I became so very aware of the bond between mother and child – from a mother’s point of view.  I very clearly remember falling off a playground set as a little girl and instantly looking up for my mother not for comfort, but rather as a reassurance to her that I was okay and to calm her fear. It is this incredible awareness of the bond between mother and child, and the desire to nurture it to flourish and grow, that leads me to want to co-sleep with my newborn and babywear as much as possible.

As I have mentioned I was raised in a “mainstream” philosophy. I can also say that while my parents did not practice natural parenting, they most certainly do practice natural grand parenting.  It is encouraging and inspiring for me to see this change in them, and to watch them live the Hindu principle of learning from this life’s lessons.

Photo Credit: Author

As an adult I have had the privilege to have discussions with my parents about discipline and other parenting issues. They now agree that spanking, letting children cry it out, and instilling fear causes much more harm to the child than it does good. While my mother did not cloth diaper me or my sister, she is very encouraging of me wanting to cloth diaper my children, and she agrees that aside from the environmental aspect, cloth diapers today are just so darn cute!  (Mind you, cloth diapering has come a long way in 30 years.)

In general, while certain aspects of my desire to practice natural parenting manifested only after my husband and I started trying to conceive, in some regards it seems apparent we were headed here all along. Before journeying into the desire of starting a family, neither my husband or I had put much thought into how we would parent. After all, neither of our parents practiced natural parenting, and it seemed to work for them. Doesn’t everyone use Pampers, I thought? For quite some time we both just assumed we would do things as our parents did things. Growing up in Hinduism, I am thankful that I was taught by my parents to always be inquisitive and strive to learn lessons that are placed before me. It seems that while my parents were on their path to becoming “natural grand parents,” so were they also setting me on my path of desiring to become a natural parent.

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Natural Parents Network is happy to present an ongoing series about “Belief and Parenting.” We welcome contributors from any faith (or no faith at all) to speak about how their spirituality affects the choices they make as parents: whether you are a Buddhist whose beliefs led you to gentle discipline, an atheist whose worldview encourages consensual living, a pagan who emphasizes the beauty and reverence of nature, a Christian who seeks biblical guidance, or if you’re walking another path entirely — please share your experiences with our natural parenting community. See our Contributor Guidelines for details on submissions, and then email Dionna {at} NaturalParentsNetwork {dot} com to submit your story.

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Arpita has a background in sociology and psychology and is studying to be a Post Partum Doula. She has a special interest in helping mothers establish the breastfeeding relationship and sharing information about natural/attachment parenting. She lives in Canada with her husband. As they await their first pregnancy, Arpita writes about alternative fertility treatments including acupuncture for fertility, naturopathic medicine and ayurvedic medicine (and offers giveaways) at Up, Down and Natural. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, cooking, baking, knitting, scrapbooking and photography.

8 Responses to Hinduism: My Stepping Stone To Natural Parenting

  1. Acacia @ Be Present

    Wonderfully written, beautiful story. Your parents sounds so supportive and warm. It really speaks to their wisdom and humility that they are so open to support your parenting style even though it differs on the surface from theirs. I hear of so many people whose parents aren’t so supportive because of those differences.
    Hinduism is a beautiful, peaceful way of life and have always felt drawn to it. Thank you for sharing. I’ve added your blog to my subscription list!

  2. Kat

    Lovely article Arpita :-) It’s wonderful that your parents are so supportive and that they instilled in you the inquisitiveness that led you to feel compelled towards natural parenting.

  3. Arpita  

    Thanks for the comments ladies! Glad you enjoy the article! I am definitely lucky that my parents are starting to come around to other approaches to parenting and learning with me!

  4. Melissa K.  

    I really enjoyed your story, Arpita. I believe that a willingness to learn from life’s lessons is one of the best qualities a parent can have!

  5. Rebekah  

    Awesome article, Arpita. I love when you talk of the desire you had to reassure your mother and the bond that is there. And also you and your husband’s journey into attachment parenting. :)

  6. Darcel @ The Mahogany Way  

    Love this! I enjoy reading about how others find their way to natural parenting.

  7. Mama Mo @ Attached at the Nip

    Oh, I especially loved the part about gentle grandparenting. I would have to say that’s what my parents are doing, too! I’ve been trying to be an advocate for natural parenting for my siblings and cousins by way of example.

    Great piece, thank you for sharing!

  8. Stacy (Mama-Om)  

    Thanks for sharing your story — and the photos!

    I loved reading how your willingness to learn what life presents to you brought you to the path of natural parenting. That really resonates with me.

    Blessings,
    Stacy

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