Meditating and Motherhood by Anna Gannon of Expectful
1. Expectful is a meditation app that was created to help mothers relax and de-stress as they go through motherhood. How exactly does this app work and connect with mothers around the world?
Expectful’s app and web-app provides fertility, pregnancy and new motherhood guided meditations that help to support women throughout their entire reproductive journey.
How our meditations connect with mothers all over the world is by speaking specifically to the common ups and downs that may come up within each stage of the journey - helping women to feel heard, supported and understood.
For example, in our fertility library we have a “Trusting Your Body” meditation that helps women connect with their bodies and find comfort in knowing that their body is doing it’s best to work with them in getting pregnant.
The same goes for our trimester specific pregnancy meditation libraries - in the first trimester for example, we have an “Embracing Uncertainty” meditation to help women adjust to all the changes and uncertainty that can come with the early stages of pregnancy.
Each meditation has been custom tailored to help a woman through all stages of motherhood.
2. What led you to such a platform as Expectful and how did it help you during your pregnancy?
I was introduced to Expectful when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, Annabell. I was going through a difficult career transition in my life and a good friend, who also helps to write Expectful meditations, reached out to tell me about Expectful’s beta (Expectful was in beta at the time) and recommended I try them out.
Although I was hesitant about meditation, I felt an internal drive to do my best to take care of my emotional well-being for both my baby and myself. So I committed to trying out their meditations for 30-days and made a goal to do it once every day.
I honestly couldn’t believe how quickly their meditations not only transformed my pregnancy but my life; they allowed me to connect with my baby in a way I didn’t even know was possible, they improved my relationship with my husband by helping me to approach him with more compassion and ease, they helped me sleep better, gave me more energy during the day and ultimately turned what I thought was going to be the most difficult trimester in my pregnancy - into the most beautiful and relaxing one.
3. Do you think that your mothering experience, including pregnancy and breastfeeding, would be different without having meditated with app?
Absolutely. Breastfeeding was really challenging for my baby and me. We had latch issues, milk production problems, etc. It felt like an hourly struggle and I felt how taxing it was on both my body and my mind.
Expectful’s meditations helped me to re-center myself as a new breastfeeding mother and really let me find compassion for myself and my baby at a time when we both needed it more than ever.
4. What role does meditation play in a healthy parenting lifestyle?
It helps you be more emotionally aware of yourself, which helps you be not only more emotionally available to your children, but also more empathic to what they are experiencing in any given moment. It also helps you live in the moment and be more present with your children, which is something we all need to be doing more of as parents today.
5. Can you please expand on the two nursing meditations that Expectful offers?
We have two nursing meditations on the platform that women can use to ease their minds.
One is “Patience” which is a big one when it comes to breastfeeding. This meditation helps women to focus on being in the present moment, guiding them to release thoughts about how well or not well breastfeeding is going. It gives them space to find calm in their perhaps overwhelmed mind and hard at work body.
Our second nursing meditation is “Letting Go,” which can be used for women who are breastfeeding or at a point where they would like to stop breastfeeding. For the woman who is breastfeeding, this meditation helps them to let go of anything that isn’t serving them, whether that’s thoughts about not being good enough, or any thoughts that arise when we are met with a challenge. For a woman who is stopping breastfeeding, this meditation helps them to feel confident and comfortable in doing what is best for them and their babies as they transition away from breastfeeding.
6. Why is it important to be in tune with your body emotionally, mentally, and physically to improve fertility and pregnancy?
We all know that our minds and bodies are connected. Meaning that the thoughts we have and the emotions those thoughts create has an impact on our bodies.
When it comes to fertility, we often think so much about the body - fueling it with healthy foods, exercising - but we sometimes forget that our minds need that same nourishment. When you support your mind, you support you body by helping to relieve tension, reduce stress and help balance hormones, which plays a big role in fertility.
In pregnancy, it’s important to understand there is a mind, body and baby connection. How you eat, what you feel, how you move, what you think - this all sends signals to your growing baby. The interesting thing in pregnancy is that these signals can sometimes determine how your baby develops in the womb - turning some genes on and others off - something that all the new advancements in epigenetics is just beginning to scratch the surface of.
7. How has meditation expanded into your daily life and routine?
Meditation is woven into the fabric of who I am and what I do. I meditate 20 minutes every morning and the reasoning behind why I practice everyday has morphed over time. What started as something to connect with my baby turned into something I did to have more energy to get through the day as a new mom. Now, I meditate because it reminds me everyday to be thankful for life and to truly live each moment. It expanded my daily life by waking me up to the fact that life is short and meant to be cherished as much as possible. To stumble across this realization as a new parent feels like winning the lottery because it helps me appreciate my daughter every moment.
Make sure to check out Expectful and their meditations to guide you through your motherhood journey!
Anna Gannon is a mom, the Community and Editorial Lead at Expectful, a Writer and a Yoga & Meditation Teacher. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Yoga Today and The Expectful Blog. Anna is passionate about the importance of the mind, body, and sometimes baby connection. Her mission is to improve women's emotional health during their fertility, pregnancy and new motherhood experience by sharing open and honest stories, educating them on the benefits of meditation and movement and most importantly, letting them know they are never alone.