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Spirituality in Pregnancy

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Spirituality in Pregnancy
Henna Tatto on Pregnant Belly
Photo © iStockPhoto
Pregnancy can be a time of profound spiritual shifting as you prepare to bring new life into the world and to become a mother, whether for the first time or to another child. If you’re part of a religious community that supports your spiritual experience whether with prayers, counseling, stories, ceremonies, or other traditions, that’s wonderful. If you’re not part of a supportive religious community, you may be looking for resources to guide you in the spiritual aspects of your journey. In this essay I’ll describe three spiritual practices that many mamas enjoy, each paired with a book suggestion to get you started if you need more help. The three ideas are journaling, oracles, and ceremony.

The simplest of these three practices is journaling. If you love to write, journaling might soothe your mama soul, help you to see patterns in your experience that you might not otherwise see, and give you a record of this precious time. I call this the simplest because all you really need to start is a pen and a scrap of paper, or even a new file on whatever device you’re using to read this now. Write down how you’re feeling, what your hopes are for your baby, or anything else that comes to mind. Don’t worry about creating a polished piece of writing – this is for your eyes only, unless you choose to share.

If the blank page intimidates you, Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide and Journal for Expectant Moms may provide the inspiration you need. It’s filled with gorgeous, full color photographs of diverse pregnant mamas. This is a weekly journal that goes from conception through week forty, offering wisdom and writing prompts at every stage. Each week features a theme, such as Joyfulness or Meditation. Author Anni Daulter is also working to train Sacred Pregnancy instructors, so if you like the book you may be able to take a course that offers the same philosophy of pregnancy.

Consulting an oracle probably takes a bit more effort than journaling, but can be very rewarding. Oracles needn’t be anything terribly arcane. Do your dreams seem especially vivid or potent now? Maybe they have wisdom to offer you. Meditate on them in your morning shower, write them down in your journal, or discuss them with a close friend.

The Mother’s Wisdom Deck is also a beautiful oracle option, one that could make a great gift at a Mother Blessing. These cards are organized in four suits, representing images of natural forces, animals, historical mamas, and goddesses. Draw a card each morning to set the tone for your day or follow the instructions in the accompanying guidebook for a more complex spread of cards.

Thirdly, you may wish to build from the inward reflection of journaling and oracle reading toward a more externalized action of ceremony, which involves more of your senses. Those practices can help you to see the places where ceremony will support your journey, whether you’re grieving, celebrating, welcoming, or simply marking a meaningful transition. A ceremony might be as simple as lighting a candle and saying a prayer for the wellbeing of yourself and your baby, or it could be as complex as a Mother Blessing for which you plan well in advance and invite many guests.

In Birthrites: Rituals and Celebrations for the Child-bearing Years, Jackie Singer shares many ideas for creating your own ceremonies. The introductory chapters offer guidance on why and how to craft rituals of your own. Most chapters offer ideas for creating rituals that address the specific experiences of pregnancy, from preconception through postpartum naming ceremonies, and also covering experiences of pregnancy loss.

So if you’re not part of a spiritual or religious community that celebrates your pregnancy with you, but you still feel the thirst for honoring the deeper meanings of this life experience, there’s lots that you can do. How will you acknowledge the sacred aspects of welcoming baby?

Note: I received free review copies of all three books mentioned here, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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