I spent years (with the same woman who taught me so much starting when I was 9) learning how to control my breathing, calm my mind, let go of my Self, and truly meditate. This was as common and essential to me as eating and sleeping and breathing, perhaps moreso because when I had to go without the basic “comforts”, I could find peace and balance within meditation.
During my first labor and delivery, with my oldest daughter (when I was 17), who popped out at 8.5 lbs and 21”
long tall ;) I did not need any pain medication. I had all of the nurses tell me that I should have an epidural, because the first is always the most difficult. My own OB walked out on me (and didn’t come back) because I held my ground about not needing (or wanting) anything to “ease the pain” (she actually said it was “impossible” for a woman to get through this w/o medication, or at least an epidural) ... I told her I could do it just fine. According to everyone there, I did not say one single bad word, nor did I utter one single scream, nor did I freak out (with the exception of telling my Mom I was “done with this” during the Transition phase ::lol::).
Do not get me wrong, this was as difficult as any labor. It was 13 hours from the onset to the pushing, and these 13 hours were very painful. Only I had one huge thing to help me get through it: meditation. When the pain started to get bad, I began breathing deeply, and systematically “letting go” of each part of me (although you still retain full awareness of all of you, and your surroundings… it is more like a harmony that is found). In less than an hour I was “removed”, accepting each wave of pain, and letting it go, like waves in the ocean, touching the shore and then dissolving. I think if I had just stuck to Lamaze it would not have helped as much. My Mom told me it was like I was “somewhere else”, and all thanks to this deep state of meditation. I was feeling the pain, and I was welcoming it; after all it was a major part of this very natural (and amazing) moment: bringing life into the world.
I know one thing: by the time my other children arrived, I had fallen out of the habit of meditating every day, and each one of their labors and deliveries were not only excruciating, but there were complications as well. For a very brief time during the birth of my oldest son, I was able to achieve this level of acceptance and peace, and then it was shattered and gone entirely, and they almost lost both of us (a long and terrifying story that I would rather not go into right now).
I cannot explain why I stopped meditating, other than the busier I became, the less time I set aside for it. I do believe there is a link to my quality of life now… not just to my dreams but also my stress level and ability to handle what life throws at me. It was not until after I stopped meditating deeply (except very occasionally) that my other issues began (ED, addiction, etc.). I firmly believe this is all connected.
I still have moments where I sit, and go into what I call “light meditation” (“light” because it is often broken by my children yelling at eachother or playing with a loud toy. This state never used to be broken, whether because of cold, heat, pain, noise, whatever).
It is my hope to once again achieve this state, the one I knew and cherished so long ago.
The image I posted is called a Mandala, and this one was constructed from sand. I highly believe in the meditational and healing properties of using the Mandala (each of us has a different one) as a personal tool for focus. I encourage anyone studying meditation to look up information on Mandalas. =)