Week 30: Preparation through Practice

Welcome, Mama!

You are finally & firmly rooted in the third trimester as you enter Week 30. Not only is baby filling your belly but all the thoughts & worries about “preparation” & “planning” might feel like they’re taking over all the space in your head too.

I look back at my own journal from this time & I had a to-do list with as many bullet points as weeks I was pregnant. The list was LONG. Every item felt like something I “needed” to do.

I can see, now with hindsight, how silly & distracting many of those items were. Over these next few weeks, I’ll take you through some of my own, old agenda items to see if we can shift the energy of them, so you feel your final weeks of preparation are guided by a deep, inner knowing rather than what you heard from other “experts” that you “should” be doing.

You need not accept the cultural narrative of a consumer-based, “expert”-loving society that externalizes everything you “need” for successful pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

Because here’s the truth: YOU are the expert.

You see, pregnancy is the Great Mother’s gorgeous built-in prep plan. Within your own experience, you will find every answer, all the strength, all the stamina, all the courage you need to do this.

And you can write your own damn script.

Speaking of scripts, first up on my now-debunked pregnancy prep “to do list” —

  • Write my birth plan (3 different versions, no less!).

The writing of my birth plan was actually a fun, creative project - I used a big pack of multi-colored pencils & beautiful paper. But what I wrote down was just… a rehash of other people’s plans. ideas someone else had given me or things I’d read in books. The process was helpful, but the real preparation came from something much different.

Around Week 30, I was given by my Khalsa Way teacher Gurmukh the invitation to do commit to a 40-day Kundalini-based meditation practice called the Kirtan Kriya. Everyday for 40 days & beyond, till the day I gave birth - and heck, even in birth I chanted this mantra all throughout my labor.

How can a meditation practice prepare you for what’s to come? Well, you will see for yourself very soon. But my shorthand version is that it will help you discover within yourself the deepest reserves of devotion, presence, perseverance, intuition, and strength.

The Kirtan Kriya, specifically, is said to be the highest meditation any woman can practice. It can break any habit & help you through any transition or major life change. The Kirtan Kriya can help heal negative sexual memories & trauma. The practice stimulates & balances the pineal & pituitary glands. And if all that isn’t enough, it’s said to give a woman internal radiance & brilliance so she appears as though she’s lit from within!

The mantra for the Kirtan Kriya is the Panj Shabad — the primary sounds of the circle of life:

Saa — infinity, cosmos, beginning, birth
Taa — life, existence
Naa — death, totality, transition
Maa — rebirth, renewal

Here’s how to practice.

Sit in Easy Pose on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Steady yourself & sit tall in your seat, the crown of the head intending toward the ceiling, with the chin slightly tucked so the back of the neck stays long.

Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing upward.

While chanting the sounds Saa Taa Naa Maa, you touch your thumb to your index finger (saying Saa), thumb to middle finger (saying Taa), thumb to the ring finger (saying Naa) and thumb to the pinky finger (saying Maa).

For an 11-minute practice, here is the sequence:

Chant out loud for 2 minutes

Chant in a whisper for 2 minutes

Chant in silence for 3 minutes

Chant in a whisper for 2 more minutes

Chant out loud for 2 more minutes

You can practice using music, or you can do it on your own.

If you want to practice Kirtan Kriya to music — which is great way to get started & steady yourself in your practice — here’s my favorite music to use.

I explain how to practice in this video & highly recommend practicing along to a recording as you begin (it’s beautiful & will help ground you in the practice as you begin).

Start today, commit to yourself & your baby. Let this practice help pave the way forward for you & connect you to all the women who’ve practiced it before you!

xo Catherine

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