Using Mindfulness to cultivate calm and focus during Pregnancy and for Birth Preparation is becoming increasingly popular. I feel that it is absolutely critical at the moment, while living through a Pandemic. Currently expecting my third baby, I can safely say that my daily formal and informal Mindfulness and Meditation practice is keeping me balanced and is helping me to cope with the overwhelming fear and anxiety that so many pregnant women and their partners around the world are experiencing in their pregnancies during the Pandemic.
Continuous thoughts of ‘what happens if I get Covid-19 while pregnant, will it affect my growing and developing baby, is it safe to be attending our doctor surgeries and hospitals for anti-natal appointments and scans, will it be safe to stay in hospital with my new baby following labour and birth, will my partner be allowed into the hospital for the birth of our new baby, will I be left alone with my new baby after delivery and have very little physical support from family because of visiting restrictions? So many questions, so much uncertainty, so much fear and anxiety circulating internally and externally with the Pandemic.
So how can Mindfulness help to cultivate this calm and focus during Pregnancy and for Birth Preparation? Mindfulness is about learning how to live more in the present moment, to live more in ‘being’ mode rather than getting stuck in ‘thinking’ or ‘doing mode’. It’s about using our internal resources and senses to create more ‘present moment awareness’ in our every moment rather than getting caught up and swept into ‘ruminating’ thoughts of past or future experiences, fears, anxieties, worries and what ifs. It is about learning how to meet ourselves in the very moment we are experiencing and learning how to anchor ourselves to this moment and this experience, whatever it may be.
What is so interesting is that when we learn to live with more present moment awareness, it can be surprising just how peaceful our ‘present moment’ can be. It can be a place of calm, balance and focus once we manage to turn down the sound from the continuous tracks of fear and anxiety that the DJ in our mind is playing so loudly! It can be remarkable that when we anchor ourselves to our present moment, without the constant chatter and critic of our mind, it becomes more clearer that most of the time, we are not in immediate, physical danger and the need to run, escape and that feeling of powerlessness somewhat subsides and we can feel more in control of our mind, body and emotional responses to our current moment experience.
I have personally found that using every feeling or episode of morning sickness, of fatigue, of body expansion, of pressure pains in veins and on the pelvis, back pain, every flutter of my little baby, every kick, every fist punch, every turn and roll, every disturbed and uncomfortable night sleep, every bit of acid reflux as an anchor to my present moment. Every time I experience some or all of these, I find myself taking some regulating breaths, rubbing the tiny new life in my tummy and repeating to myself, ‘this too shall pass’.
Mindfulness and these words have been incredible during my pregnancy in helping me to remember that ‘everything is temporary, nothing is permanent, every moment will pass’. Being Mindful is just as much about being able to connect to the ‘pleasant’ present moment experience as much as the ‘uncomfortable’ present moment experience and it is just as important that you learn how to accept either experience and let each one go and let it pass without trying to prolong or to hold on to it.
Using each moment in this way during your pregnancy helps to keep you focused and anchored to your present moment experience and enables you to build up resilience and internal focus and strength in advance of your pending labour and baby’s birth. It helps you to be able to accept, with no judgement, that sometimes your labour or baby’s birth might unfold and happen very differently than you may have imagined or dreamed of.
This resilience and focus helps you to deal with whatever you may experience during your labour. It empowers you to use your internal resources, such as your breath, to create calm, control and focus for each pain and contraction, with a knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’, until you get to meet your precious new baby.
Training your brain in this way as part of your pregnancy and for birth preparation also gives you the strength, confidence, belief, courage and resilience to birth your baby, whatever kind of birth unfolds. It also prepares your mind, body and emotions for a more Mindful and Self Compassionate post-partum recovery with your new baby.
A thought to leave you with:
‘This too shall pass … When things are bad, remember it won’t always be this way, take one day at a time. When things are good, remember it won’t always be this way, enjoy every great moment’
HOW to send Loving Kind Wishes to you and your baby during Pregnancy
The following is a step by step guide on how to send Loving Kind Wishes to you and your baby during pregnancy:
Leona has recorded a full Mindfulness for Pregnancy and Birth Preparation programme and it is currently available to purchase on her website at the following link: https://leonamcdonnell.com/courses/mindfulness-for-pregnancy-and-birth-preparation-online-course/
By Leona McDonnell Mindfulness and Wellness
Thank you so much to Deirdre Rusk for her amazing images! Check out more amazing images from Deirdre Rusk Photography at https://www.deirdrerusk.com/
As published by The Celtic Media Group in The Anglo Celt, Connaught Telegraph, Meath Chronicle, Offaly Independent, Westmeath Examiner and Westmeath Independent newspapers w/c 26/10/2020)