Hormones are coursing through your body like tidal waves. Seeing your ankles is a thing of the past. You need wisdom and knowledge to guide a new human being through life, yet choosing a paint color for the nursery is proving to be a challenge. The thought of parenthood evokes complete bliss and sheer panic, and you can’t seem to finish a thought without having to run to the bathroom. All of this is part of the pregnancy journey — an exhilarating yet stressful time, especially for a new mom.
Doctors and caregivers urge expectant mothers to listen to their body and relax during pregnancy but in our fast-paced, overachieving world, this is easier said than done. Say “hello” to the art of pregnancy meditation, the practice of quieting your thoughts and worries, focusing on yourself and being in the moment. It is about getting in tune with your body rather than making a mental to-do list during downtime, and during pregnancy; it can be just what you need!
So, what exactly is meditation? Psychology Today calls meditation the practice of “turning your attention to a single point of reference.” (Pyschologytoday.com). It is quiet time when you clear your head of all the day-to-day thoughts and worries that everyone experiences. Meditation is also mindfulness, being in the moment and aware of your body. Some people define meditation as getting in touch with yourself and finding an inner peace. The common denominator in all this is that however you meditate, it is not rocket science. Rather, it is simple. Still, actually practicing meditation is where the challenge arrives.
As a mom-to-be, there are several ways you can approach meditation. If you search locally, you can find classes at your gym, rec or community center. Hospitals and birthing centers can also be a good resource. Many women choose to approach meditation on their own, in part because it can be such a simple practice and something you can do in a quiet place in your home. And of course, in our digital age, online meditation is another option. So, what are some key components you can use when meditating?
- Breathing: Regulating, slowing and controlling your breath gives you a clarity of mind to focus on just you, your body, your baby. Deep in and out breaths are a perfect way to calm yourself and center your attention on one thing.
- Visualization: This is simply creating a mental image on which to focus. Picturing something pleasant in our mind takes our attention from worry and stress and emphasizes the positive. Everyone has a favorite place or a relaxing scene or image – conjuring up that image and focusing on each element of your image is visualization.
- Mantra: Unlike what we see in pop culture, a mantra does not have to be some nonsense word or foreign syllable… Rather, it is a word or phrase you repeat that allows you to focus, to calm yourself and to put your attention on the words and how you’re feeling, rather than anything else. Your mantra can be anything from your baby-to-be’s name or a word like “family,” “strength,” “peace,” or “love.” Some people prefer to use a phrase like “I am strong,” or “I can do this.” Since the time we were kids and our mothers taught us to speak kindly, we have learned that words have power. Just ask any sales manager or life coach and they’ll tell you that saying something aloud makes it real. That is what your mantra can do for you in meditation.
These are just a few successful meditation techniques, and like any practice, the more you delve into it and do it, the more you will learn about it. While the ways to meditate may vary, the results are often the same.
- Meditation allows you to connect with yourself and your body – this is key as your body is changing each day and will continue to do so, even after the baby arrives. Connecting with your body can also allow you to better handle the pain and discomfort that comes with pregnancy and ultimately, labor and delivery.
- Meditation also relaxes you and can result in better sleep – and let’s be honest, getting a good night sleep as a pregnant or new mom is worth its weight in gold!
- Meditation decreases tension and stress, and doctors agree that moms with less stress typically have healthier pregnancies and deliveries.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Studies have discussed meditation and ways it can help with pregnancy, delivery and postpartum depression. Mindfulness and meditation can help create a more positive, enjoyable parenting experience and the list goes on.
As a new mom-to-be, you may be wondering how and when you have the time or mental bandwidth to adopt anything else new. However, meditation can be a simple 10-15 minutes, throughout your week and results in some incredible, positive changes in your life. So, think about it. Think About It.
- Fraga, Juli. “The Benefits of a Mindful Pregnancy.” Nytimes.com. 05/31/2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/well/family/the-benefits-of-a-mindful-pregnancy.html
- com. “Pregnancy Meditation. The Benefits of Mindfulness. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/meditation-benefits#1”
- Nguyen, Dr. Ye. “Five Prenatal Meditation Techniques.” Fitpregnancy.com. https://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/meditation-mantras-visualization
- com. “All About Meditation.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/meditation
- Stern, Ellen Sue. “10 Daily Mom-to-be Meditations.” Parents.com. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-life/emotions/10-daily-mom-to-be-meditations/