Santosha is a principle philosophical tenet of the yogic tradition that most closely translates to our concepts of joy, peace, and contentment. But santosha is not just about being happy, especially the happiness we experience when things go our way. Santosha challenges us to find peace in the moment—to accept and appreciate what IS, no matter what that looks like. It’s about looking inward for a sense of fulfillment and trusting that you have everything you need.
Santosha also touches on our yearning to always be in the next thing, to compare ourselves to others, and to constantly seek or avoid things outside ourselves. When we look at what others have or experience and let that define our sense of joy, success, or wellbeing, we invite in disappointment.
Santosha invites us into contentment by taking refuge in the calm, still place within, which is always available to us, no matter what life brings. It also asks us to open our hearts to gratitude for what we do have and make peace with our stories, exactly as they are.
So how does this idea of Santosha apply to pregnancy, birth and motherhood?
There is perhaps no experience more intense and transformative than the journey from maiden to mama. It’s a heroine’s journey—the path is not easy or simple, but it is phenomenally beautiful and full of opportunities for growth. The key—and the great challenge—is to find the joy, the peace, and the contentment along the deep chasms and tall summits of this sacred path. It’s about accepting the way this journey unfolds for you, even when it’s tough, and even when you want to turn back. It’s about loving yourself and your story.
When we get pregnant, the world is there, ready to tell us what our pregnancies and births and motherhood should look like. Some may tell us to fear birth, to fear our bodies, to fear the inherent changes taking place. This point of view focuses on lack and denies the truth that we really do have what we need to usher in new life (the most awesome feat EVER). Others may say birth and motherhood are only pure joy and ecstasy, which sets women up for failure when their experiences don’t quite measure up.
Santosha, in this context, is about tuning into that inner space (located right where we grow our babies) which knows all and has all you need for your particular journey.
You are enough, you have enough, you are strong enough, your body is perfectly suited to this adventure, and you can do this.
Parts of your story may not be pretty—they may be really, really hard—and that is part of the beauty. Because it will make you. The hard, ugly parts hold the potential to bring you the greatest peace because of the lessons they carry.
Santosha is so aptly applied to pregnancy and birth because, while support through pregnancy and birth is paramount, each pregnant woman must walk the physical journey of carrying and birthing her baby alone. She is the only one who can. It is her inner reservoirs of wisdom, strength, courage, creativity, patience, love that will lead her through the transformation from maiden to mother.
Santosha calls us to celebrate the joy and the wonder of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, exactly as they are for each of us. It asks us to accept and love ourselves and our stories. Santosha, like motherhood itself, beckons us to tap into the ever-present peace and joy within—our power, our awesome creativity, and the bliss that cannot be taken from us.
The strength and spirit of Santosha is a wish we send to all the brave and beautiful souls walking the path of motherhood (and parenthood and humanity in general). We know you have everything you need—but sometimes you need an extra partner to offer you support in finding greater peace and joy along the way. Santosha Birth & Wellness is honored to serve as one source of support for women seeking natural and holistic ways of being well through the childbearing season.