Read Liz's final blog post about how meditation has effected her pregnancy before her due date in a week's time. The Headspace team wishes you the best of luck with the birth Liz!
The final countdown to my 'due date' really has begun with it now only a few days away! I find myself experiencing a mixture of feelings but, on the whole, I'm relaxed and positive and just excited about seeing and holding my baby for the first time.
The niggles of late pregnancy have been very different to the earlier stages, with the main frustration being physical limitations: walking, getting out of bed and being unable to bend down to paint my toenails! Sleep has also been a major problem and I seem to wake up at 4am most nights for several hours. Yet despite this I've generally felt very calm and emotionally balanced. Increased endorphins may have had a certain amount to do with it but I think my meditation practice has also played a big part.
The past few months have been unusually busy with one thing and another and yet I've actually had more energy, or perhaps just a greater emotional capacity to juggle things, than I felt before. I've been careful to plan my time to fit in at least 15 - 20 minutes of meditation a day, even when I was on the go or just exhausted. Apart from the usual benefits of doing the practice itself - calming and focusing the mind and body - it was also important for me to know that I was dedicating focused time to myself and the baby.
It can also be quite easy to get swept along in other people's perceptions and anxieties about pregnancy, birth and all that comes with having a new baby. Colleagues, friends and family are well-meaning but there's nothing like being pregnant for bringing out people's views on everything from how long you should wait before having sex after the baby's born to the suitability of your house, car and anything else you can think of! I've found it extremely helpful to have a strong sense of what I wanted from this experience to keep myself grounded and I believe meditation has helped me to achieve that.
The practice that Andy introduced me to has been tailored to each of the stages of the pregnancy and he adapted it to any problems I was experiencing with the practice or otherwise. Looking back, I can see that each stage was ideal for that particular moment and it has perfectly prepared me for this point. Having never gone through birthing before I have no real idea of how I will cope with the pain and the other challenges but I have faith that what I have learnt will be beneficial. I also feel sure that it will be helpful in getting through those early uncertain weeks and sleepless nights...