9 Ways to Incorporate Spirituality Into Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy, birth and the bringing of a new being into your family involve a deeply spiritual process of change and transformation.
Incorporating spiritual practices into your birthing preparation is just as important as preparing for the physical arrangements of birth, just as important as taking care of your body, and just as important as preparing your mind for the changes that pregnancy and a new baby bring.
We take such care while choosing a hospital and/or medical caregiver, and while packing our hospital bags or collecting supplies for a home birth.
We know we must take care of our bodies through balanced nutrition and proper exercise during pregnancy. We also mentally prepare our minds through reading pregnancy/birthing literature, and taking birthing classes.
How can we incorporate spiritual preparation into pregnancy?
Below are nine ways you can spiritual practices and activities into pregnancy. I have grouped them into three general categories, rituals, practices, and creativity. Some activities could fit into more than one category: this is fine since we are looking at pregnancy and preparing for a new baby as a holistic process.
Try out and tweak the ideas below in any way that you feel could work for you, your family, and your interests and abilities.
1. Rite of Passage
In our modern society, we have lost the rituals that mark the birth of a new baby and the making (or re-making) of a mother. We can and should create a ritual that helps mark the change to our communities that a new baby brings.
Many new parents are now choosing to celebrate with a Blessingway ritual. This term is borrowed from the Navajo, so in an attempt to avoid cultural appropriation, some people call this ritual a Mother Blessing or Belly Blessing.
The Mother Blessing focuses on welcoming the pregnant women into her new role as a mother, instead of focusing on gifts and things for the new baby during a “traditional” modern baby shower. You can have the ritual before or after the birth of the new baby.
Some ideas for a Mother Blessing: other mothers present can tell stories about birth, everyone can share a birth affirmation, you can all do a collective art piece or everyone invited can bring a stone or crystal for a birthing altar for the mother-to-be. Pinterest can be a great resource for more ideas. Find the ritual(s) that works for you and your faith.
2. Making and Using an Altar
Having an altar or special space set aside can help us to focus positive energy for our pregnancy and birth.
During my pregnancy, I had a specific shelf in my house that was my pregnancy and birthing altar. I added images, stones and other objects that helped me visualize health, happiness and relaxation for my pregnancy and birth.
Some more options: candles, incense, photos, books on birth, framed quotes and/or anything else that inspires beauty and Spirit for you.
3. The Babymoon
A current trend for married and partnered couples in preparing for a new baby is the babymoon vacation, taking a couples trip, before the new one arrives. Be it an all-out two week vacation to Bali or just a night away at a hotel in your hometown with your partner, going on a babymoon gives us the perfect chance to connect and reconnect.
If you have the means to go on a babymoon, you can make this trip as intentional as you want and really use this time to focus on strengthening the love in your partnership.
As you take the time to celebrate your bond as a couple, you are doing great work in preparing to bring your new baby into a caring and loving home.
4. Yoga, Meditation, Prayer, Quiet time
Whatever your preferred spiritual practices may be, try your best to keep up with your yoga, prayer, Bible study, etc. during your pregnancy.
The time you spend in your spiritual space is time well spent while waiting for the arrival of your new little one. Having a new baby is hard work! Our practices help us fill up with patience, love and kindness. We need all the positive reserves possible so that we can give back that love to the new being in our lives.
5. Time in Nature
Any time spent in nature is also time well spent!
You don’t have to turn it into a big production: walking through parks and down tree-lined streets is a wonderful way to incorporate time in nature.
While I was pregnant with my daughter I could feel how she would move joyfully every time I took a detour on my way home and wandered down the riverbank a couple blocks from my house. Being in nature helped us relax and connect.
6. Alternative Therapies
DISCLAIMER: Check with your health care provider if you have any doubts about participating in alternative therapies while pregnant. Make sure you work with an energy worker or provider that understands how to work with pregnant women.
Massage, crystal work, acupuncture, Reiki and many other alternative energy therapies can bring rest and relaxation and aid in reaching deep meditative states.
If you are or ever have been pregnant, you know that feeling rested and energetic while pregnant is a gift and not always easy to achieve! Also, time spent in a meditative state during pregnancy can help you connect on a soul level with your baby on the way and help prepare you mentally for labor and birth.
Journaling can help you connect with the ever-changing feelings of pregnancy. Writing down your fears and worries can also help you process and understand them better.
If you can journal this daily, more power to you! But even once a month can be wonderful: keeping a journal will give you an irreplaceable record of the gestation period and your feelings, thoughts and fears during pregnancy.
Journaling for your baby on-the-way can also be a great way to connect with the being who is so close to you, yet haven’t met yet.
Personally, I am saving the journal that I wrote in while I was pregnant with my daughter for when she is older, to be given to her when she begins to menstruate herself.
Draw, paint, watercolor, sketch, sing and dance your way through pregnancy. You are already a creative conduit for a new being, what better time could you ask for to try your hand at your own creations!
Don’t worry if your paintings aren’t perfect. You don’t have to show your art to anyone, but you might be surprised at what you create. You can make your art specifically about pregnancy or your baby on the way if you want.
I regret not making enough art during my pregnancy. I treasure the drawings that I did make.
9. Dream Board Collaging
Cut or print out beautiful pictures or images of pregnant and/or birthing women and make a collage. Add inspiring quotes or affirmations. Keep your dream board in place where you can see it every day.
You can find inspiring images on Pinterest or through Google searches, or in pregnancy and spiritual/meditation magazines. You can also draw your own!
One word of caution: at least for me, images I place on my dream boards always come to pass. Choose your images and words and quotes wisely.
Aside from all of these activities, the most importance spiritual practice you can have is to focus on gratitude. Give thanks and enjoy the gestation period and the miracle that is growing inside you.
Nine months (which turn out to really be eight or even less once a pregnancy is confirmed) can and will go by quickly. As Erma Bombeck said,
“Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.” ~Erma Bombeck, “If I Had My Life to Live Over”
What other spiritual practices would you add to this list?
Sabrina Fletcher is mother to a home-birthed almost 2 year old daughter. She lives near Mexico City where she works as an educator. She teaches everything from English online (www.speak-english-live.com) and in-person to a group of eclectic junior high students, to courses for teachers on bringing the heart back into to the classroom, to workshops on Spirituality in Pregnancy.
*Photo by Kyra Bramble, editor of Doula Spot and Sabrina’s doula