Let’s take a moment to appreciate the ordinary little miracle that is happening right now. You’re pregnant. Countless women (and females of all mammal species) have been in this condition for eons. Today 4.3 babies are born on earth every second!
But no one else is carrying your baby.
And no one’s experience with this amazing process is quite like yours. So indulge yourself for a minute and really feel the wonder of it. Breathe a sigh of gratitude. You’ve been caught up in the excitement and the worries, the preparations and shopping, the fascinating new shapes your body is taking and all the strange (sometimes overwhelming) new sensations you’re feeling. Meanwhile, this little being is riding along inside you, enjoying the bounces and the taste of your breakfast . . . and (by the third trimester) eavesdropping on everything you say!
Yes, you are already communicating with your baby. He knows the rhythms of your body and your sleep cycles, your movements and stillness, and, most important, the sound of your voice. Compelling research shows that their mother’s voice plays a crucial role in babies’ growth and development in the womb. Long before you hold your baby in your arms, you begin nurturing him through the power of your unique voice.
Deepak Chopra writes about this connection in his beautiful book, Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth:
The process is one that is called neuro-associative conditioning. Your nervous system anchors your emotional well-being to the vibration of the sound. . . . The rhythm and pitch of human voices are clearly perceptible in the womb. . . . An unborn child becomes familiar with his mother’s voice long before he emerges from the womb.
This early connection, which expectant and new parents sense intuitively, is now being proven by science. Research shows that babies in the third trimester can hear, recognize, and even remember sounds—especially their mother’s voice—and this stimulation plays a vital role in their development.
Studies also show that reading to babies in utero is particularly powerful. Newborns have been found to respond to rhythmic, rhyming stories that were read to them regularly in the last weeks before birth. When your newborn baby cries, you can read him a poem or story you’ve practiced repeatedly during pregnancy and he will be stilled by the familiar beat and the beauty of the voice he has been listening to for months.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have one more way of comforting your new baby when he gets fussy? If you start talking, singing, and reading to your baby in the womb, you’ll see his face light up when he hears you in person! Until then, you can know that he is already loving, and learning from, the sweet sound of his mother’s voice.
“If we aim to create a nonviolent world,” says Deepak in his book, “we must begin with love and nourishment in the womb.” In other words, if you foster calm and peace in your baby’s environment even before he’s born by communicating with him consciously, the effects can last through his childhood, perhaps carrying that deep-seated feeling of well-being throughout his life and sharing it with the world.
Imagine a world where all babies experienced this “magical beginning”! It could become a reality, starting with you. Now, that opportunity is a lot to be thankful for.
We at The Reading Womb are so grateful to all of our readers, and to everyone who has supported Belly Books, the first board books specially created to read to the baby in the womb.