Since the beginning, as in 3 weeks in, when I hadn’t even confirmed my slight suspicions, everything changed with my morning routine. Throughout actually, whether it be early morning, late morning, evening, instead of calm an serene, I was fidgety, I couldn’t sit cross-legged for more than 5 minutes and I either had nausea, immense hunger or severe fatigue.
I mention in a video I did on my first trimester, that the wonders of the body telling me I needed to rest on my left side which I did, forced me to surrender to sleeping through my whole routine – yoga, Simran (meditation) and Nitnem (poetic prayers) at my meditation space.
This post is coming from a female Sikh perspective, as you will notice from the language used, though may be useful to any pregnant lady going through the same thing.
You see, ordinarily 4 months ago, I loved getting out of bed to my yoga/meditation practice. That’s the whole reason I do what do because it gives me so much enjoyment, peace, and inner strength throughout my day. I’ve always been a morning person, reveling in the quiet, feeling like the only one awake while others sleep through the sunrise, I’m up seeing its beauty.
Sikhi aside, I’m a huge encourager of people doing yoga stretches to wake up their bodies after being horizontal for the night and to sit and breathe. Long deep breathing and listening to your breath is the most wonderful way to start the day as it is naturally calming, slows you down and you get quiet and personal with yourself. Questions may arise and answers may come, your working out your intuition too. As your day gets busy, you may not even notice your breath throughout it, thankfully the time in the morning was well spent doing nothing but breathing – what a present to yourself!
There’s also a little amount of expectancy and shame that can be brought forward from either your own thoughts or people around you. Your a Sikh, Muslim, Christian why aren’t you reading your prayers? And when something goes wrong, guess what people’s first blame is on?
Well, thankfully I know myself enough to listen to my body and intuition on what is right for me right at that moment. No one else can tell you that. I’m going to get real honest on what worked and what didn’t in full knowledge that there will be other Amrithari Sikhs or orthodox religious people that will tell me I should have pressed on anyway. Waheguru.
My husband was one of those and I’m thankful now for his encouragement throughout and accountability. He listened though didn’t fully get that if I could have done an hour and a half combination of movement, meditation, and prayers I would have, I did what I could and followed the most important rule:
Forgive yourself often.
I told him and I had no idea how I would know this being only 2 months in at the time – After 120 days (when the soul enters the body of a fetus), at 4 months I will be able to do at least the Japji again and add more from there. I followed a physical feeling that Gurbani in its beauty is also power and it was as if it was too powerful for such a small being and was completely knocking me out after a few words. There is some evidence to support this as yogically when you say mantras you are touching your tongue to 84 meridian points on the roof of your mouth that stimulates the hypothalamus and makes the pineal gland radiate. That’s some inner workout!!
Also, I came into Sikhi as a happy singleton and here’s a great example of why that’s relevant here – I do what I do for enjoyment, peace, and happier life, not because a man tells me too nor out of expectation. If it doesn’t feel right I will work on why what I can do and go from there before you know it I’m back in the Sikhi swing of things.
So here’s what I did, after many days and weeks of experimenting on what I could & couldn’t do:
I did pregnancy yoga sets on youtube anywhere between 10-35 minutes, I sat at my meditation floor chair (a cushion to elevate your hips will also work well) and did between 11-22 minutes of Simran meditation, the longer is my most favorite time and I tried for that though my focus was often dispersed 10 different ways or thinking about food. I didn’t always sit cross-legged either, I moved around till I found the right position, usually my legs out, it helps if you can prop your back up against a wall too.
Like I said before, long deep breathing and/or chanting is my minimum, it’s a saving grace as without it I often feel a little all over the place or my mind is scattered. It really grounds and uplifts me all the same time, so I would say to anyone, start with that as your absolute minimum. One yoga posture that’s really fantastic to open up your back and move your spine is standing cat cow you can do in 3 minutes.
I watched Sikhi stories at breakfast, Basics of Sikhi videos and Nanak Naam in my day so I could make the time spiritually productive.
Finally, after 3 months I could read Gurbani again, as predicted the morning of 16 weeks I read Japji again felt wonderful. Another time I and husband did all 5 Bani together along to a fast recording because that morning I was so determined to do it! I found a supportive article that helped Sikhnet on pregnancy and ready Bani.
I’m experimenting every day as my body clock can go out of sync through napping (they are the most wonderful naps) and other times I’m a morning person again. Recently I read Bani in bed while drinking bottles of water to rehydrate and times when I have to get up to the loo at 4.30am then usually go back to sleep only to meet with vivid nightmares, I realise I could have spent that time another way.
We’re all just pregnant works in progress, congratulations!