Meditation and Reflection: for the expected and unexpected journeys in the childbearing years.

Updated: Sep 25, 2018

Meditation and reflection have been a significant part of my life regardless of where I have lived. I was first exposed to meditation through my Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in religious studies, where I studied Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism. Additionally, I have practical experience of meditation through repetitious prayer, singing and chanting in both the Catholic and Mayan religious practices of Mexico. Furthermore, meditation was a significant part of my life when we lived in Australia, and both my husband and I participated in silent retreats, weekly meditations and Tai Chi groups in this country. Reflection and journalling have often coincided along with my meditational experience. As part of my degree in Mexico, we practised weekly and sometimes daily reflections in a group setting mainly focusing on our own personal struggles in adapting to a new culture, lifestyle in a rural village, and working in intimate settings with families, counterparts, and other group members. Communication and introspection was an essential part of all of these reflections and we were encouraged to be honest with one another and ourselves.

Throughout my life, I have used meditation and reflection to assist me in many personal struggles. Meditation has helped me to cope with the losses our family has experienced through miscarriage and infertility. The quietening of my mind and the focus on my personal needs has enabled me to connect with a higher sense of purpose than the personal tragedy I was living through at any given time. Personal reflection has enabled me to reflect on and take care of my needs, as well as to effectively communicate these needs to others. Therefore, I wish to share these gifts with the families that I work with throughout the childbearing years.

I value facilitating meditations for others focusing on pregnancy, birthing, the postpartum period, as well as infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy loss. The quietening of the mind offered through meditation can help pregnant people and families reflect on their fears and dreams for their growing family. This reflection can help them in their communication with their care providers to ensure their needs are met and to find practical ways of addressing these concerns. Additionally, meditation can help you to bond with your baby prior to birth and get in tune with both your body's and baby's needs. Taking time out of everyday to connect with baby and address any concerns or needs that you both may have can help you to have a smoother birthing journey. Furthermore, meditation can help you to cope with the massive changes occurring within your body. Pregnancy is a time of great physiological changes that have both a physical and emotional toll. Reflecting and integrating upon the bodily changes that occur throughout the childbearing year can help you cope with pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

Although meditation and reflection are great tools to use during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, they can also be an important tool to use during times of grief and loss. When pregnancy loss, infertility, miscarriage, birth trauma, stillbirth or infant death occur, meditation can assist in the grieving process by helping the meditator quiet the mind and reflect on their emotional, spiritual, social, and physical needs. Meditation brings us into higher levels of consciousness which can help us to learn, grieve, integrate and grow from our losses. Both reflection and meditation enable us to embrace our sorrow without having to get over it. We do not need to overcome our loss or be freed from our grief, we simply need to accept it as a part of our life story, so we can eventually grow within it. Additionally, reflection allows us to experience our grief without being judged by others and accept ourselves where we are at in our loss journey. For all of these reasons, I feel that meditation and reflection should be an integral part of any grieving journey and offer this to the families that I work with.

Authentic Heart Listening Doula Services regularly hosts meditations in Leduc and will soon be expanding into Edmonton and area. These meditations include topics for reflection on pregnancy, birthing, and infertility or pregnancy loss. For more information on when and where these meditations will be held check-out my website and Facebook page for upcoming events.

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Colleen Stadlwieser, CHD, HCHD, RYT-200
Leduc, AB, Canada

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