Sometimes, when I tell people that pregnancy can be a time for self-growth and transformation they roll their eyes. (ok, maybe they don’t, but they do nod politely.) It sounds so “happy-hippie-dippy”. Sure, you’re thinking, “If I had an hour a day to meditate and didn’t feel so awful during the first trimester and didn’t have a toddler jumping on me and needing me all the time. Maybe then!”
But it’s true. When we think of pregnancy we often think of growth - growing a baby. A woman becoming a mother. But what about a woman becoming a more enlightened woman through the process? I don’t think that childbirth is the only way to grow as a woman, I truly considered being a childless amazing auntie for many years and think those are valuable roles we need. Yet here I am with an 18 month old and TWO 22 week olds in utero.
I do not have gloriously beautiful perfect pregnancies. I do not walk around in fields with flower crowns practicing yoga all the time. I have terrible morning sickness for the first 16 weeks of each. I miscarriged my first around 13 weeks. I’ve struggled with perinatal depression during this very pregnancy. My husband works 4 hours away 5 days a week right now. All the more reason I am intimately aware with the amazing benefits and unique opportunity that pregnancy provides for self-exploration, for challenging growth, for brave choices and exercises in letting all the other shit go.
I’m a fast mover. I’m a city girl at heart, I talk too fast and I tend to fill my calendar with more creative ideas than I have the actual time to complete. Pregnancy forces me to slooooow it all down. When I walk too quickly I get pelvic pain. When I schedule too many things my brain fogs over. I do best when I take a bath every single day, when I journal. When I make small ten minutes sketches to get out my thoughts on paper and when I call my best friends.
My yoga practice changes weekly. It’s often deeply healing, sometimes very challenging (as in I guess I can’t go upside down today or I might throw up!) , and always revealing. It helps me locate where I am. It helps me remember I need to pray and connect with God. It helps me stay open to the possibilities that are all around me.
Pregnancy can be a unique vessel for transformation because it there is spaciousness and unknown built into it. We quite literally change every day and with profound change we need to pause more often to reflect, to integrate, to release.
Here are my very real and very practical questions you can ask yourself to allow pregnancy to transform you into an even more enlightened mama for the first time or the next time. Take 5 minutes to breath, without your phone or other people around. If you have to hide in the bathroom, I give you permission:
What feels different (physically or emotionally) this week?
What do I feel I’m resisting during this particular stage?
What am I embracing whole heartedly?
What do I need today that will make this experience feel more nourishing? Is it a physical or emotionally thing?
Some ideas to help enhance the enlightenment of pregnancy:
Get a tiny sketchbook (less intimidating) and sketch tiny things as they occur throughout your day (feelings, thoughts, images that come to you in dreams).
Sandra Maurer, CD, RYT
Sandra Maurer is a Mama Wellness Coach, Certified Birth Doula and Registered Yoga Instructor specializing in Fertility and Prenatal Yoga with a BA in Art Therapy. Her passion is empowering women through all stages of Mamahood - from preconception through postpartum by guiding the whole woman. She is most often found at her local hipster coffee shop or second hand bookstore. She's an east coast girl living in the midwest with her crazy musician husband, toddler Fiona and two more on the way! http://wholebeginnings.com