When this CD came across my desk at 9 months into my pregnancy, I have to say I was pretty excited to give it a listen, especially as I have been gearing up these past few weeks towards my son’s imminent birth. One of a range of meditation and Relaxation CDs from Paradise Music , Michelle Roberton-Jones’ ‘Guided Meditations for Pregnancy and Birth’ are inspired by her own daily meditative practises during her pregnancies.
The relaxation album consists of five tracks of comfortable lengths (around 10 minutes each, aside from the last track, which is closer to half an hour), making it a good CD for beginners to meditation who also find themselves short on time or concentration. Each track has a period of relaxation music following the guided meditation, allowing one to explore the mental state they find themselves in at the end of the guidance and hold it for a while.
1) ‘The Breath’ helps focus the listener onto their breathing, which is really an essential exercise for any meditation. More than this, with the growing awareness of the benefits of a natural birth without interventions, breathing becomes so much more important with a pregnancy CD. For those who are new to relaxation techniques and breathing exercises, this track is a good ‘taster’, and its ten minute duration makes it practical to set aside practise time for each day.
2) ‘Dedicated Time for Two’ has some great imagery for drawing you within yourself to picture your baby and bond with him or her. During this time of placing my hands on my stomach and following the meditation, I definitely felt I experienced a more focused closeness with my baby than I have done before without the technique. I felt this was a really strong track.
3) ‘Baby’s Song’ is a little bit more of an adventurous journey – encouraging you to listen to your baby and the personal ‘song’ he or she sings. I was as not sure about this particular track; maybe it would be better for someone who has more of a vivid imagination or has more experience with meditation.
4) In ‘Release’ the focus is on helping the mother-to-be deal with the discomforts of pregnancy and encourages – through thoughtful questions – the listener to focus on the pain and in doing so, be able to release it. This technique is particularly useful as in the process of resisting pain, we can tend to give it more attention than it needs. Michelle’s questioning, and calming guidance towards focusing the listener to the pain enables it to be quickly identified, acknowledged and dealt with. This track, along with the initial breath meditation would both be really useful labour preparation exercises.
5) The last track: ‘A Perfect Night’ is directed towards guiding the mother-to-be into a restful sleep and allows a good length period of music after the initial guided meditation to continue the relaxed vibe into slumber.
Michelle’s calming voice and the music that accompanies it quickly creates an all-enveloping, nurturing environment for the mother-to-be and her baby. In the CD insert, Michelle has also taken care to explain a little about each exercise, which helps with understanding them, and is a neat ‘human’ touch that connects the listener with the person giving the guidance. I would definitely recommend this CD to other pregnant women as part of a daily relaxation and labour preparation routine, with the breathing exercise having the added bonus of being useful even after the birth.
Kate Russell is a singer/songwriter and busker from Vancouver, up until recently performing under the stage name Jadis Gloom (www.myspace.com/jadisgloom). Currently she is taking some time out from her solo music projects to write, listen to other styles of music and gain inspiration from other artists and their own creative journeys. Believing that to look into someone’s art is also to look inside their soul, she enjoys the intimate opportunities for understanding others in new ways that being a music critic provides.