Somewhere between emerging from the first trimester haze and seeing our babe during the 20 week ultrasound, I started having conversations with the tiny human growing in my uterus. It seemed like the most natural thing to do, and over the last few months has brought me a great deal of unexpected comfort and strength.
When a friend asked me in my second month of pregnancy if I felt connected to the baby and if I was talking to it, I said no and immediately felt like there was something wrong with me. Why wasn’t I connecting with the baby? How could I be so intuitive in all these areas in my life and feel no real connection to the fetus living and developing in my own body? I felt so much connection when the baby was in the spirit realm before conception and I began questioning if something was wrong, why didn’t I feel something, anything, about this baby?
I went through a few waves of shame before I remembered what I read in the Spirit Babies book and it brought me a tremendous amount of comfort. In the book Walter Makichen writes about the major transition that happens when the baby moves from the spirit realm into the physical one. He says that it’s normal for the level of communication to shift, especially in the early months of pregnancy because of how much work/energy is involved in the creation of human life. When I was able to recall that wisdom and let it fill my body and heart, I quickly dropped the shame of not feeling like I was in touch with the baby and settled into the present.
As I’ve shared, I was also very ill the first trimester so much of my subtle body awareness shifted during that time as well. I didn’t feel like I had as much access to my energetic body because my physical and emotional bodies were front and center. Easing into the second trimester, without a cue from anyone, I began saying hello to the baby in the mornings and sharing what we were going to do that day. I took a cue from the Spirit Babies book and didn’t bother the baby by bombarding it with questions, I simply shared what was on my mind and heart and let the baby know how much it was wanted and loved.
Each time I look down at my belly and speak directly to the little one growing inside, my brain completely reorganizes. It has been incredible to feel and witness this huge change happening within my body and mind. The more I communicate with our babe the stronger our connection feels and I am able to tap into a deep well of inner strength that I’ve never made contact with before. When I sit and breathe into the massive changes that are taking place each time I reach toward making connection with our baby, I orient myself in the direction of motherhood. I experience a full body sense of joining the millions of women who came before me. I become the archetypal Mother. It’s surreal on many levels and at the same time feels like exactly what is supposed to be happening.
“You don’t become a mother when your baby is born, you grow into becoming a mother during your pregnancy.” – Virginia Bobro
The more I talked to my bump the more curious I became about fetal development. I was full of questions like at what week does the baby start hearing sound? What are the benefits of playing music for the baby or reading to the bump at night (something Nic loves doing!)?
After loads of research I was in awe of just how much babies absorb in utero and how essential it is to be talking to them and/or reading to them each day, especially from the 6 month mark forward.
According to a study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, babies have the ability to recognize and remember sounds they’ve heard in the womb, even after birth, including music, noises, and voices. Because these findings support the notion that babies can learn and remember before they are born, it may be beneficial to talk to your baby or expose them to more sounds while you are pregnant. – Romper.com
“The mother has first dibs on influencing the child’s brain,” said Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. “The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the fetus locks onto them.”
Previously, researchers had shown that newborns are born ready to learn and begin to discriminate between language sounds within the first months of life, but there was no evidence that language learning had occurred in utero.
“This is the first study that shows fetuses learn prenatally about the particular speech sounds of a mother’s language,” said Christine Moon, lead author and a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. “This study moves the measurable result of experience with speech sounds from six months of age to before birth.” – Washington.edu
Talking, reading, and playing a variety of music can help stimulate baby’s senses and improve her brain development, according to Dr. Michael Roizen. “Exposure to different sounds and scenes is essentially what helps establish connections from one set of neurons—the nerve cells of the brain—to another. This is how we all learn.”
A study at the University of Oregon found when pregnant mothers were given a recording that included a made-up word to play near the end of pregnancy, the babies were able to recognize the word and its variations after they were born. They could discern this by neural signals emitted by the babies that showed they recognized the pitch and vowel changes in the fake word. The babies who heard the recording most frequently displayed the strongest response, suggesting that infant language learning begins in utero. – Greenchildmagazine.com
There are also several studies that show reading to the baby in utero will cause a drop in fetal heart rate, which in turn regulates them and brings a sense of calm. I’ve found that reading is an incredible way to strengthen the bond with this babe and Nic has expressed that as well. What’s nice about reading too, is that it’s something the other parent can participate in.
What I can tell you after months of daily communication with our babe is that I can feel them (we don’t know the sex yet, more on that later!) respond to my words and tone. Often times when I say hello and tell them about our day they move around. Two weeks ago at our appointment with our midwives Nic did a test with the Pinard horn (fetal stethoscope). He listened to the heartbeat of our baby and asked me to talk to them. When I started talking to them in a sweet, excited voice their heart rate went up significantly. This brought tears to our eyes as it was such a direct confirmation of what we already intuitively know and feel, this little one is in tune with us and very responsive to our communication.
Talking to this magic little being growing in my body over these last months has been such nourishing balm for my emotional and energetic bodies. Each time I slow down, tune in, and share with this little one what’s going on for the day, how much I love them, or read them a story, I strengthen our connection and feel myself becoming more and more of a Mother. Just like babies, Mothers are born. I had no idea how healing and life altering it would be to embody creation at its essence and be in communication with life force itself as it makes its way from the spiritual realm into this physical world.
Photos x @mariellevchua