Chatting through the womb
As a bloke, you don’t suffer the experiences of PMT, menstruation, casual sexism and childbirth that most women do. From an objective perspective this may be a good thing, but one undoubted downside – at least in terms of clocking up a list of totally amazing life experiences – is that we never get to feel what it is to carry and nurture new life within our own bodies.
It is also a bit of a drawback that for nine months we are, in some ways, somewhat removed from the life we have co-created, all the time while our partner’s body is largely given over to the process of pregnancy and all the bonding inherent in the miracle that is the creation of new life.
But, do not despair, you are not going to be a total stranger to your child. As well as inheriting your genes, your child can get to know your voice, and its timbre, pitch and cadences, just by hearing you go about the business of your day. Even better though, you can talk directly to your child, thereby beginning a profoundly beautiful conversation that will last the duration of your life.
The benefits of a good chat with your unborn child
There are so many benefits to this: not only does it help reduce any feelings of jealousy or redundancy you might be experiencing through the pregnancy, research also indicates that from around week 18 of the pregnancy, babies in the womb can hear much of what is going on around them.
This, clearly, is a wonderful opportunity for fathers/partners to develop bonds with both their babies and the mum-to-be. We include the mum-to-be because although you might be speaking to your baby, you are having to do it through the screen of her ever-growing belly. This is something that requires physical closeness and emotional intimacy. It can also be a useful first step in redefining a relationship that once was just about the two of you but is now about the two of you and an additional, precious life. This can help set the tone for the years and decades to come.
In fact, scientists are becoming increasingly convinced that such prenatal chats play a role in stimulating babies, perhaps even aiding the development of brain function and synaptic connections. In fact, it may even benefit motor skills and influence positive APGAR scores (An APGAR score is taken postnatally and records Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration.)
But then this shouldn’t come as a massive surprise. Babies, even those in the womb, are humans after all, and we all benefit from being spoken and listened to. What you wish to say is entirely up to you, of course, but we suggest that you could try any of the following if you feel a little nervous about making contact with baby:
- Introduce yourself by telling your story and that of your wider family
- Tell your baby about the day you’ve had
- Tell your baby the story of its genesis – how you and your partner met
- Simply describe the room or place you’re in
- Recite a poem you know by heart
- Read a story, poem or nursery rhyme
- Sing a song – if you play a musical instrument, you can do this too
Remember, babies respond best to a musical, singsong tone, so if you want to communicate most effectively, you should aim for this, and from around week 23 of the pregnancy you might even be rewarded with an excited flutter of feet.
And it is not only you who can talk to baby. Family members can too. This is especially useful if you already have young children and would like to give them a way to forge an early bond with baby.