Unborn baby’s are conscious, sentient, and vulnerable. They benefit greatly from gentle, loving connection provided regularly by their parents, especially their mother, from the very beginning of their life – long before birth. Become the parent you already are, before your child is born. Take the time to connect with your baby every day in the womb, both parents together, and especially mom regularly throughout your day. This kind of connecting communicates to your baby: “We know you are here”, “You are welcome”, “We know that you are having your own experience,” and “We know that you are affected by how we feel, and by your ‘environment’, and we are listening to you, including and protecting you.
You are a mother from conception onwards, sometimes earlier, and you are the soil in which your baby grows – you are her everything. Your partner can lovingly contribute by supporting you as s/he is part of your baby’s environment too. Everything you feel, your baby will be feeling too. This is why it is important for you to feel supported, relaxed and happy during pregnancy as much as possible. However, in the real world, there are stresses, traumatic and even shocking events, emotional upheavals, losses, etc that you don’t have control over. Having a secure attachment with your baby is important during these more difficult times because your attachment gives her a buffer against life, her connection with you protects her.
Creating a secure prenatal attachment with your baby also supports her optimal development in the womb, neurologically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Within the secure attachment connection that you have established you can help your baby to negotiate her ‘environment’ as she grows. You will be giving her the gift of knowing that she is not alone, and that she doesn’t have to take on jobs that are way too big for her. Yes, babies do that in the womb! We all form beliefs about life and people (often mistaken), and about what our role is within it all. We can, just like born children, think that something happening to our parent/s is about us, and that we have to do something about it, e.g. take care of our mother, or be good or quiet all the time.
There are three important things to tell your darling baby during a stressful/traumatic event, or even before if you know it is coming:
E.g. if mom was having some difficult feelings about herself, or about something that happened to her, or if she is working through some material in therapy whilst pregnant, she can connect with her baby and say “Mommy is processing some feelings right now, they are not about you, and you don’t have to do anything about them.” Or, if mom and dad are having a fight, they can take a moment to connect with baby and tell her, “We are having a fight and it is not about you, nor is it caused by you, we are needing to work some stuff out together, and you don’t have to do anything about it.” Even if you have a very painful emotional upset during pregnancy, keep the channels open to your baby, and you will find this kind of parenting, which I call differentiation parenting, will strengthen your secure attachment with her, and grow her resources and resilience. Differentiating your feelings from your baby, and other life events from your baby, help her to relax and not take on unnecessary issues when she is so little. This kind of parenting added to your regular connection to baby will help to offset any emotional upsets and disturbances during pregnancy. In addition, you are showing your baby, in actions and words, that she has parents who deal with their issues, care about her experience of them, and understand that she is affected, and involved. We all take on our parents issues as babies and children. Often it would have helped us immensely to have been told that, for example, when our parents split up, or something catastrophic appeared to be happening in our family, that it was not our fault, nor was it about or because of us. This is also very true for unborn babies, they can take a lot on. It’s not good for baby to take on such a heavy load especially at this important time when she is laying down her foundations for the rest of her life. With conscious early parenting you can have a huge positive influence on the quality of your child’s life, security, and health.
Mom is the closest person to her baby since she carries her inside of her own body and psyche; dad’s are extremely important too. Babies need their dad, and after birth will respond to dad’s voice in a way that there is no doubt she recognizes his voice. Dr. Frederick Wirth¹ discovered a simple method for testing a baby to see if they had been exposed to their dad’s voice in utero. He held the infant between himself and the dad and then they competed for the baby’s attention by calling her name. If the dad has been actively communicating with his baby during pregnancy, baby will turn toward him, looking for the source of the sound (see www.fatherstobe.org). Dad’s role during the pregnancy is to support and protect mother and baby, and to connect with his baby in the womb; this will create a wonderful holding space for the whole family.
Prenatal attachment positively affects birthing outcomes, because it fosters empowered and connected families. Mothers who have this connection with their baby KNOW how their baby is doing, they are the expert, not the doctor or nurse. They can tune in in a moment and know how their baby is doing. When you can do this you can make clear decisions for yourself and baby, and feel totally confident as a mom.
Prenatal attachment is really about not waiting! Why wait until your precious baby is born in order to create attachment with her, when you can enjoy the fun now and she can reap so many benefits. I taught my son and daughter-in-love how to bond with my granddaughter when she was in the womb. Since I live a long way away from them, I had a really fun time making a tape for them to play to her when she was in the womb. I put songs on it that I thought she would like, spoke to her, told her stories, and read to her. I also made up a story about my granddaughters journey into life from Source to be with us, and when her 10 year old sister listened to it on the tape she was moved to tears.
My daughter-in-love had not attached with her first child prenatally, and having done so with her second she said that she felt completely different about her when she was born. “I loved her before I ever saw her, and after birth simply felt like a continuation of the relationship already established, except that I was very excited to see what she looked like.” With her first child she had not felt this connection until after birth, because she had not thought of her daughter as a person until she was born. This was her third birth, her first was a stillbirth, and the second was traumatic with a retained placenta and other complications. Her third birth, with the prenatal attachment, was very serene, no drama or trauma, in fact very healing, and they left the hospital almost immediately afterwards!
Our babies have had so much life by the time they are born, and they need us to be there for them during their gestation, being their buffer against life, and welcoming and loving them as they grow. Secure prenatal attachment, just like secure attachment after birth, grows resilient, calm, healthy kids who are empathic, loving and resourced.
I have had so many experiences myself, and witnessed others, in both regressions and somatic work which have left me in no doubt as to the profound impact that our prenatal experiences, and environment, have upon us. Here is some more research/scientifically oriented information: the brain, nervous system and sensory apparatus all begin developing in the 1st month. “By the end of the 2nd month the one inch long fetus is astonishingly well equipped with a beating heart, a circulatory system, a digestive tract, graceful arms and legs, facial features, ears, fingers, toes, and-the crucial center of all fetal nutrition and breathing – a pulsing umbilicus.”
“By the end of the 1st trimester (the first 3 months), the nervous system and sensory apparatus is so well developed that the fetus responds to the stroking of its palm by a light hair by grasping, of its lips by sucking and of its eyelids by squinting. Doctors who perform amniocentesis at this stage can sometimes see the fetus jump and show an increased heart rate if the needle should touch it.” De-Mause² They will also startle and move away from the incoming needle.
We are conscious as prenates and our consciousness is not dependent on whether our nervous system has developed, as the medical profession has long thought. Consciousness does not require a body, or physical eyes to see, to know what is going on. A good example of this kind of consciousness is the many people now documented as having had near death experiences in which they ‘died’, left their body on the operating table, and then came back to life and re-entered their body. Whilst out of body they ‘saw’ and were aware of everything that was happening both in the operating theater, and to their own body. They accurately recounted these details on their return from death, including what was said, and by whom. They were able to see without their eyes open; this is the part of us, our energy body or our consciousness, that we all have right from the beginning. A physically blind person can also see during a near death experience!
We are energy first, and then at conception we join with matter as we begin to grow our body. Embodiment is a long process, and as conscious early parents we can support full embodiment of our children by placing our child’s consciousness at the center of how we parent them during this crucial time of life. Our ability to be fully present in life is directly related to how embodied we are, trauma and stress do not support full embodiment. Having said that, I want you to know that I work with baby’s in the womb and I advocate for doing this if you know that something difficult or traumatic has happened to your unborn baby that needs support and healing. It makes good sense to do this healing asap because a trauma can affect the remainder of your baby’s time in the womb, and make it harder for her to get born too. You can also get help immediately after birth, or during childhood. It’s never too late, I work with a lot of adults too, resolving and integrating early trauma, it’s profound work.
In working with my own early imprints I have gone back as far as my pre-conception journey, before I came into my body (this is the journey leaving Source from to come here to a new life/family). Our pre-body experiences imprint in our physical body, an area of imprinting that fascinates me. As energy fuses with matter at conception our energy body experiences imprint upon our physiology. Once we are in a body we store all of our experiences there, memories are held in every part of us, including our energy body.
MORE WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR BABY:
There are many ways you can connect and build attachment with your baby in the womb. Patting your stomach; singing, telling or reading stories; telling baby what you are doing or where you are going in your daily life; prayer, meditation, tuning in and hanging out; watching your dreams for messages from her; being creative – writing, art, and dancing. Baby may respond by moving and kicking, and you can come to know what your baby’s different kinds of kicks and movements mean, e.g. are they angry kicks, or excited kicks? “Babies pick up on the emotional charge carried by spoken language as well as unspoken attitudes and affects … the baby senses that she is loved and that makes her feel good.” Verny³, Thomas. In his book Nurturing The Unborn Child, Verny uses a whole variety of methods for communicating with baby, some of which are journaling, dream work, visualization, tactile stimulation and many more. This book is a good resource for pre-conceptive or pregnant parents, as it’s never to late to start building prenatal attachment.
One of the wonderful activities you can enjoy with your baby is listening to music together. Studies have shown that they love classical music, particularly Baroque. Again De-Mause tells us there was “..one experiment in which Debussy was played to four fetuses in utero during times when the mother and fetus were tranquil, with the result that after birth these four infants (and not others) responded to Debussy played in the nursery as a tranquilizer or pacifier – only one of may experiments in the literature which clearly demonstrates prenatal memory and in utero learning.”
1. Wirth, Frederick, M.D., Prenatal Parenting, published Harper Collins 2001
2. DeMause, Lloyd, Foundations of Psychohistory, published Creative Roots Inc 1982
3. Verny, Thomas, M.D. & Weintraub, Pamela, Nurturing The Unborn Child: A Nine-Month Program for Soothing, Stimulating, and Communicating with Your Baby, published Olmstead Press, Chicago 2000
© Karen Melton 2016
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