1. Did you meditate during your pregnancies yourself? If so, how did that affect you?
When I first got pregnant, I was very busy in my job. But I noticed early on that I wanted to take time exclusively for myself, and also for my baby. So, I came up with the idea to seek out pregnancy meditations. Unfortunately, I did not really find what I was looking for, so I began to do some research myself. I looked up what happens in the baby’s different developmental stages during the respective weeks of pregnancy, but also what changes my body undergoes during this exciting time.
I began to write my own meditations to match my pregnancy week and I read them myself. It felt wonderful to spend 12 minutes a day intimately focusing on myself and my baby. Because the meditation texts were already completed in the sense that they matched the pregnancy week and were written down, I had the idea to have them read professionally in a recording studio. I wanted the guided meditations to be available to other women as well; this is how my little label kamija was born. Shortly thereafter, my first son was born. These were two deeply moving events in my life.
If you take a closer look, you often find yourself in a meditation state in everyday life without actually realizing it. For instance, an immersive moment in which you concentrate on just one activity is already meditation. In that sense, I have always meditated. However, I only started intentionally doing it when I became pregnant. In these moments of meditation, I was remarkably close to my baby and I thoroughly enjoyed this togetherness. I could leave all stress behind, concentrate fully on myself and my baby, and arrive consciously in the here and now. Living in the present was a welcome alternative to constant thoughts of what had happened during the day and what was still on my to-do list. Meditation has brought a lot of clarity, calmness and balance into my everyday life.
2. What advantages does practicing meditation have during pregnancy? – Is it also recommended for beginners? What if the pregnant woman cannot sit down for extended periods of time?
Any woman can meditate during pregnancy, regardless of whether she has years of experience in meditation or is just starting off. It’s like brushing your teeth – if you are open to the ritual, then meditation can soon become an integral part of your day. The wonderful effects meditation has on body and mind can be experienced immediately. This way you can focus on your baby throughout your pregnancy and even strengthen the mother-child bond at a very early stage. Through meditation, you gain confidence in yourself and your own body and learn to trust your intuition. This is an important aspect with regard to childbirth. But pregnant women can also experience their role as a mother through meditation, which is a completely new and still unknown situation to many women, making them stronger and self-confident.
3. How can meditation help reduce classical stress factors during the various stages of pregnancy?
Whether it’s back pain, heartburn, morning sickness or premature labor – meditation can help with many pregnancy related health complaints. Our mind is our strongest tool and through meditation we have direct access to our subconscious and our thoughts. Through positive thoughts and reprogramming of the subconscious, we can consciously influence our body to achieve healing effects. Meditation is therefore a powerful method to relieve pregnancy symptoms.
4. What helps with birth related anxiety and directly during childbirth?
Anxiety about delivery is a very present fear for many women. This is mainly due to the centuries-old idea that birth itself equals pain. Of course, women are also influenced by their surroundings, often increasing their fear of birth. This anxiety then makes a significant difference during childbirth, so that pain actually arises or intensifies due to these feelings. Meditation is a very effective way of acknowledging and confronting birth anxieties, followed by releasing and dissolving these fears.
Through regular mediation and positive affirmations, women can achieve a deeply relaxed state that they can recall at birth. Free from anxiety, deeply relaxed and strengthened in their role as a mom, it is possible that pregnant women who meditate can give birth in a powerful and self-determined way that is also painless.
5. What is your tip for calming down in stressful everyday situations?
My everyday life is often very busy, but nevertheless my tasks are fun and I like facing the challenges that family and work life come with. However, there are moments when everything simply becomes too much for me. To reduce stress in my everyday life, I love to take time exclusively for myself. A yoga session with subsequent meditation helps me out a lot, just to switch off and leave everything behind. In these moments, I draw new strength and also an inner serenity. After this recharging session, I can confront a towering mountain of work in a completely different manner. Through yoga and meditation, I progressively manage to be more in the here and now – not in the past or in the future. Therefore, my tip is that you always and regularly create little islands of peace, which will actually provide you with the time you need to properly take care of yourself.
Katrin Michel, two-time mom, meditation-coach, HypnoBirthing course leader and pregnancy-yoga teacher, author of the book “Becoming a Mom, Being a Mom – The Meditation Book for a Mindful Pregnancy, Birth and Time with the Newborn”, producer of the CD “Moments for you and your Baby”. www.kamija.de