Hmm mindfulness and pregnancy. Do the two even go together? Is it possible to be mindful in each moment while increasingly growing larger, planning endlessly for the arrival or your baby, and pondering what the future will be like?! Not to mention actually birthing the baby..
From my personal experience, there really were times throughout pregnancy that I was able to be in the present moment: when I was working out, relaxing and feeling Asher kick, and many other times. But there were also times that I found myself so badly wishing that he was here, and thinking about the future, that it was all I could think about. It’s like you get stuck in this futuristic excitement and can’t really do anything else. Sometimes it seemed like I was so “in the future” that it was difficult to remember what I had to do in the present moment (clean, work, normal everyday things). And the “present moment duties” did not seem as fun. During those times, I did not notice or treasure the kicks as much, wasn’t as connected to myself, and I didn’t stop to smell the baby detergent on his new little bitty clothes that I was folding (does anyone else agree that baby detergent is probably the best smell ever?!)
While I really do think it is so important to wonder what things will be like when the baby comes, and ponder through many of those questions, along with getting everything done that you can.. it is just as important to treasure every moment along the way! People say “enjoy the crying and times that you are up all night breastfeeding because you’ll never get that time back” and I really think that enjoying those moments starts now. I don’t want to be so excited for Asher’s next stage of life without embracing the current stage he is in! I can just picture myself down the road watching him crawl and saying “I can’t wait until he walks!” Which again, isn’t bad- but I don’t want those thoughts to take away from the glorious present-moment crawling that is going on.
So how can we slow down and experience the present moment?
Treasuring the moments of growing our babies is so important.
How beautiful it is that our bodies are capable of growing humans, providing them with everything they need to go from a poppyseed to pumpkin?
How joyful is it the first time you feel them kick and continuing to feel them kick, move, play, and hiccup?!
I personally want to experience the present moment so I don’t regret it later. I want to build the habit so that when my baby is here, I am not focusing on the future.
If we spend the whole pregnancy out of the present moment, it will be very difficult to make that switch post-pregnancy. Habits are built by repetition, which builds new neural pathways and connections in our brain. Lets start making these connections now for a healthy, mindful, and joyful pregnancy and life! These are the top 4 mindfulness practices that were suggested to me throughout my pregnancy, and that I have found very helpful:
1. Practicing Present Moment Gratitude
Gratitude brings us back to the present moment. Eckhart Tolle, author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Power of Now, talks about how when we “live in the future” the present is never good enough. Taking our thoughts back to the present moment and having gratitude for where we are brings joy and fulfillment back to the present. This is important in pregnancy and as a parent because we really do want to treasure every moment with our little ones!
2. Intention Setting Yoga
This is something I noticed a switch with throughout pregnancy. I have always loved yoga, but I used yoga for more of a workout before pregnancy, and throughout pregnancy I used it as a restorative practice to reconnect with myself. I noticed that I always had a specific intention at the beginning of class (where I used to not). I also noticed the power of the intention as a meditative practice. Throughout the yoga session, if I found my mind wandering I would simply bring my mind back to my intention and experience the present moment. I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed working on my intention in class and found that it stayed with me after class as well.
3. Long Walks
This was a big one for me. I knew walks were good for me and would slow me down but I did not want to do them! I wanted to keep up my treadmill interval workouts even though I knew my body was saying “it’s time to slow down now”. There’s something about slowing down that is frustrating right?! We are all so impatient and want to get where we want to be, get the workout done quickly, and cross everything off the todo list that “slowing down” not only is a bit scary- it seems impossible. I eventually was able to go on long walks, slow my mind, and listen to enriching podcasts along the way! I now love walking.
Ha. I know, right?! Be still?! Who has time for that?! I am certainly still working on this one. The best luck I have is on the weekends 🙂 I know meditation, spiritual practices, and being still is so important, but lets be honest, it’s hard. I think finding what works for you is important. If you think sitting and focusing on your breath is dumb, don’t do it! I have found that a short bible reading and affirmations is useful for me during times that I am trying to be still.
I would love to hear the mindfulness practices that benefit you. What makes you feel most connected to yourself in pregnancy or just in life?! Leave your thoughts and comments below!