Every pregnancy and every pregnant woman is unique. There is no such thing as ‘normal' when it comes to emotions during pregnancy. While some women may feel an instant connection to their unborn child from the moment they pee on the stick, for others it can take until the birth (or even after the birth) for that connection to truly take hold.
It may not be something that many pregnant women discuss openly, but in fact a lot of women do struggle to bond with their babies during pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, those first rushes from inside your uterus can be hard to identify as your baby's movements. If you have experienced loss before, you may find it hard to think positively about the pregnancy, and may subconsciously be delaying bonding as a form of self protection. Or, perhaps, you are simply bonding with your baby in your own time.
Pregnancy can be a daunting time, and you may feel so overwhelmed with the pregnancy and impending motherhood that you feel simply unable to bond with your baby just yet. As you grow closer to your due date, you may feel worried that you do not yet feel that connection with your baby.
Bonding With Your Unborn Baby Here are some things you can try to help you bond with your bump:
Baby Bonding Tip #1: Use Your Voice
When your baby is born, she will recognize your voice and turn towards you whenever she hears it. She will remember your voice because she has spent months listening to you give presentations at work, natter to your mum on the phone, and belt out tunes like, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T!” in the shower. Spend some time each day talking to your baby, telling her about the things you will do together, and how you are feeling that day. You may find that your baby responds to the sound of your voice, and begins kicking and nudging you as you talk. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your bump, trying singing instead.
Baby Bonding Tip #2: Nudge Back
For now, your baby's only method of communication is bumps, kicks and nudges. You have probably noticed that your baby becomes particularly active when you sit down to rest. Play with your baby by responding to her movements, gently poke back when she nudges you, and see what she does. You can also rub your belly in the area you feel movements.
Baby Bonding Tip #3: Go To Yoga
Prenatal yoga classes give you a chance to escape the humdrum of daily life, and focus on your pregnancy for a while. The yoga teacher will talk you through each pose, explaining how it is beneficial during pregnancy. You will also be given time to relax and focus on your developing baby. This is a great way to guarantee yourself time to focus, which can be difficult to find when you are tying up loose ends at work, packing a hospital bag and preparing the house for a new baby. Yoga has been proven to be beneficial for depression and anxiety during pregnancy.
Baby Bonding Tip #4: Make A Keepsake
Invest some time in making a gift or keepsake for your developing baby. You could knit or crochet a blanket to wrap her in after the birth, make a quilt for her new nursery, or make a framed picture to hang on her wall. If you are a beginner, choose an easy project to begin with. You may even like to make a pregnant belly cast (closer to your due date) to remember your beautifully round belly forever. You can paint and decorate it afterwards, or have a belly cast artist decorate it for you. You might choose to have baby’s footprints on the cast, the whole family’s handprints, or any other themes you might think of.
Baby Bonding Tip #5: Take Bump Photos
Not only will your own photos make a lovely keepsake once the pregnancy is over, but will also help you to focus on your growing baby during pregnancy. Set a time each week to take a photograph of yourself sideways on. As you compare the bump photos from each week, you will be able to see how much your baby is changing and growing during the pregnancy. This visual reminder may help to make the pregnancy seem more real, and will give you time to reflect upon the changes occurring. Booking a professional pregnancy photo shoot towards the end of your pregnancy can make you feel special too, where yourself and your partner (or yourself alone) can have some gorgeous moments captured by a professional, that you will no doubt treasure forever.
Baby Bonding Tip #6: Slow Down
Yes, there is a lot to do before the baby arrives, but you don't need to do it all today. You need more rest during pregnancy, so try to slow down and take it easy for a while. Set aside time each day to simply sit and focus on your pregnancy – not a time to write more to do lists or pick out baby furniture – but just a time to sit and think about your developing baby. You could combine this with a walk or relaxing bath if this helps you to fit it into your schedule. Delegate where you can, and don’t feel bad getting help around the home, its very common these days! Accepting offers of help can really take a load off, and remember, people wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to help. Baby Bonding Tip #9: Write It Down Consider keeping a pregnancy journal to help you focus on the pregnancy. Don't worry about writing a rose-tinted view of pregnancy, just be honest. Talk about how you feel physically, and any worries and concerns you might be feeling. This may help to identify what is causing any anxiety, and help you take steps to overcome it.
Baby Bonding Tip #7. Focus On Your Good Points
One reason some women fail to bond with their bumps, is that they are too busy worrying that they will be terrible mothers. Some women suffer from anxiety-filled dreams, or worry that they will repeat the mistakes of past generations. Stop worrying. Push the negativity aside, and instead focus on all of the things that will make you a wonderful mother. Write them down and stick them on the fridge… okay, on your bedroom door is fine if you wish. Think about the type of mother you want to be, and how you will go about that. Increased positivity may help you to better look forward to motherhood. Some mothers find that they gain more confidence by reading good books to help give them more knowledge and tools.