Congratulations! You’re having a baby...now what?
From the moment you find out you are expecting a child to the day your little bundle of joy arrives in this world there is a marathon of ups and downs and everything in between for parents-to-be.
There are moments of pure joy, of tears, of fear, and anxiety as you begin to prepare for your new life as a parent.
I wish that I could say as a recent new mother that these feelings bypassed me and I found my pregnancy to be smooth sailing and down right zen, but it appears that even meditation teachers struggle with the emotions that come with such a big life transition.
In fact, over the past year I have learned all too well how deeply I would need my meditation practice to keep me and my partner going during my pregnancy and into parenthood.
I would like to begin by clarifying two things.
First, pregnancy and parenthood comes with so many emotions and there is no right or wrong way to feel during this time, this experience is something that will be uniquely yours and however you feel about it or during it is ok.
Second, I want to highlight that what we are about to dive into isn’t just for moms-to-be.
Keeping a meditation practice and focusing on your mental wellbeing and resilience is essential and beneficial for all parents regardless of if you are mom, dad, mom that isn’t carrying the child, partner, co-parent, adopting and everything in between.
Becoming a parent turns your world upside down no matter what role you are playing during the growth of your unborn child and these principles and resources work for all forms of parents-to-be.
So let’s dive in.
If you’re reading this article you probably already know that there are so many emotions and ups and downs that come with the journey to parenthood, and it can all change at the drop of a hat and although you may be filled with so much excitement during this time you are probably experience some anxiety as well.
Your mind might be swirling with thoughts of the changes that are ahead, the health of your baby, how to prepare and what life will look like once the baby is out in the world.
That’s so normal, and it’s important to remember that the purpose of meditation is not to take away your feelings or emotions, but to give you the tools that you need to be able to ride the waves as they come and not let yourself get smashed by the waves that come with this uncertain and exciting time, and perhaps one of the best tools you can have is guided meditations.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been shown to improve your physical and mental wellbeing by neurologically changing the structure of your brain.
After 8 weeks of a daily meditation practice of 10 minutes the part of your brain that runs your fear, stress and anxiety response, the Amygdala, begins to shrink in size where the parts of the brain that are associated with consciousness, decision making, and memory increase and become stronger.
It also decreases the amount of stress that people are experiencing, and has been linked to increased feelings of happiness and acceptance.
There are also a wide range of physical benefits with meditation that include lowering blood pressure, improved circulation, balancing hormones, and improving sleep (which you will definitely need one baby arrives!)
It has also been shown that those who meditate regularly report higher mental resilience and ability to adapt to change and high stress situations.
Not to mention, there have been specific pregnancy benefits shown such as decreased preterm birth rates, and a reduced risk of prenatal anxiety and postpartum depression in mothers who practice mindfulness and meditation during their pregnancy.
While many people are on board with the benefits of meditation, and want to either strengthen or start a practice during this time, they don’t know how or where to start a practice to reap the benefits, which is why I have compiled a list of my favorite guided meditation resources to help you get the peace of mind you’re craving.
When starting a practice it is easiest to begin with guided meditations, or meditations that are led by a guide or teacher, so you can follow along and listen to the practice and not have to wonder if you’re doing it correctly, or feel yourself getting lost on how to really meditate.
Then over time if you want to explore different styles, or meditate without a guide you certainly can.
Guided Meditation Resources
Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for people to listen to guided meditations.
In fact I love sharing my guided meditations in this way so much that I’ve created two podcasts just for guided meditations, and there are dozens of other wonderful meditation podcasts that you can find on all major streaming platforms, but I’ve listened a few of my favorites below.
- Mindful in Minutes- Over 100 guided meditations that are 20 minutes or less that range in topics from insomnia relief, anxiety reducing, morning mantras, and everything in between. This is my first podcast that I created over 3 years ago to give people the tools they need to have a daily guided meditation practice for free and new meditations are added weekly.
- Meditation Mama- During my pregnancy I wanted to find a way to share the meditations that I was personally using so I created my spinoff podcast, Meditation Mama, which is a collection of 15 guided meditations for pregnant women to help you unwind and connect deeply with your soul and baby during this time.
- Molly’s Mornings- Another one of my personal favorite meditation podcasts is Molly’s Mornings. These short guided meditations are all around 10 minutes and are so soothing and quick. When I am looking for a quick guided meditation practice this is what I use.
- Insight Timer- This popular meditation app has an entire pregnancy and fertility section, as well as over 100,000 other meditations that you can choose from. This versatile platform allows you to try many different teachers and styles of meditation.
- Calm- Another popular meditation and mindfulness app, Calm has guided meditations, sleep stories and over a million different practices that you can choose from for a low monthly fee.
- Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby- This is one of my favorite books for expectant moms. This book has guided meditations, yoga poses, and ayurvedic recipes for each month of your pregnancy and beyond.
- Real Happiness The Power of Meditation- This book, although not specifically created for those expecting children, is one of my favorite books for people starting a meditation practice. Sharon Salzberg does such a wonderful job of breaking down complex ideas, and helping you create a 28 day meditation practice and has guided practices in each chapter that introduce you to many different styles.