Magical Beginnings is a book full of tips for enhancing holistic experiences during pregnancy. It addresses physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of health and meaning. The book blends information with instructions in exercises such as meditation, yoga, visualization, breathing, and deliberate control of sensory inputs.
There is a lot about Magical Beginnings that I find wonderful. I believe it is beneficial to give as much (or more!) focus to matters of the soul and inner life during pregnancy as to any other aspect of pregnancy and birth. This book is one of the rare books that truly does that. For its balance in this regard alone, it is worthwhile. If you actually put the recommended exercises into action in your life, the rewards would be profound. They are a perfect fit for the natural needs of pregnancy.
I also found the basic information offered in Magical Beginnings about how to deal with pregnancy discomforts and about the birth process simple, clear, and accurate. The postpartum section provides good advice on how to promote healing naturally through rest, diet, and herbal comforts. There is also a chapter on emotions and communication and another on health for fathers (as well as a primer on what to expect in your pregnant partner) that are excellent and share information not found in many other pregnancy books.
Enmeshed throughout the entirety of Magical Beginnings is a running discourse on the importance of love, beauty, connection, and the absence of stress. I am a big fan of the concepts shared, but ironically, found this book’s white-washed approach a little disturbing. The word that comes to mind is “saccharin.” The discussion feels contrived or synthetic; an artificially sweet substitute for real insight into timeless and important matters.
I’ll try to explain through one example: Connecting to your unborn baby, in Magical Beginnings, is an idealistic act of sitting in a beam of sunlight with your hands gently caressing your stomach and your consciousness uniting with your baby. In real life, it’s often an ordinary, almost unnoticeable familiarity realized when you see your baby after birth and recognize them as someone you’ve known. Or perhaps, it’s a messy feeling of anxiety or an outburst of aggression seeded from a protective sense.
It’s not that I don’t believe it ever happens in the beautiful ways illustrated in Magical Beginnings or that I find their exercises trite. It’s just that I come away feeling like the words are written by an idealistic guru, one who actually does not possess life-won wisdom or insight into these precious matters. I fear that guilt and disappointment may be bred when the intention was to empower.
I encourage you to glean support, encouragement, and some information from Magical Beginnings. Put the exercises into practice. But guard yourself from reading it in a way where you develop an iconic, saintly ideal which you strive to meet.
About Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives’ Authors, Deepak Chopra, David Simon & Vicki Abrams
Deepak Chopra, M.D., has written many books on health and spirituality. Starting with a mainstream medical career, Chopra moved towards the integration of Ayurvedic principles. He then co-founded The Chopra Center, working on holistic health care in Carlsbad, California. He now focuses more on writing and the business of alternative and complementary health products and courses, like those found on www.deepakchopra.com.
David Simon, M.D., was the co-founder and medical director of the Chopra Center. He had a private practice in neurology, and then served as chief of staff and medical director of the Neurological Rehabilitation Center and Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital. Simon explored a wide variety of healing traditions and wrote many books on holistic health care.
Vicki Abrams, C.C.E., I.B.L.C., is the director of the childbirth and yoga programs at the Chopra Center. A mother of five, she is an international board-certified lactation consultant, childbirth educator, doula, and yoga instructor.