I thought I had an idea of how I would feel when I became pregnant. Aside from the expected morning sickness, I thought I would feel amazing all of the time and instantly know how to bond with baby during pregnancy. Boy, was I wrong. Of course, I should have known better since I’ve read plenty of research studies and testimonials of women who didn’t experience a sudden connection to their baby pre and postpartum, I just didn’t think I would be one of them.
I wasn’t completely disconnected. I was always in a “it’s whatever” kind of mood. It was almost like I was running on auto pilot. Knowing that I wasn’t in full control of my experience anyway, I paid little to no attention to the way that I felt. It wasn’t until I was 12 weeks along and couldn’t recall events and feelings regarding my pregnancy that I realized I was lacking connection. It was around that time that I started to get more emotional, I started to look at newborn clothing and accessories and wanted to create memories of my pregnancy for myself and my baby. Not wanting to miss out or dull my first pregnancy experience, I knew I had to find my way back to myself again. I decided to take a deep dive inward to create the beautiful experience I wanted and a stronger connection with my growing baby.
So, I put together a list of what helped me create a beautiful connection with my baby while pregnant. I hope these tips positively influence your pregnancy and make it everything you want it to be.
After a while, pregnancy started to feel like something that was happening to my body rather than something I was experiencing with my body. This feeling contributed to the disconnect I felt with my growing baby. Meditation gave me an opportunity to zero in on the thoughts I didn’t pay much attention to, which helped me realize the negativity and fear that was hiding underneath my indifferent attitude.
Without the deep analysis meditation allowed, I am not sure I would have developed a connection to my body and my baby pre and post-natal. The simple quieting of my mind forced me to pay attention to the subtle movements of and in my body. Of course, we all feel the hiccups, the kicks and the punches; with meditation, I was able to feel the light flutters, the rolls and the delicate jabs. I started to look forward to her movements throughout my day and also to holding and feeling her outside of the womb.
2. Prenatal Yoga
I first became familiar with pre-natal yoga before I was a mama, while in graduate school. It was my very first time experiencing room full of intense feminine energy and vulnerability all at once, and it was life changing. It was something I knew I would do when I decided to have a child.
Prenatal yoga was made for mamas. Every modification caters to our bodies and our needs. The studio I belonged to was amazing. We would start class with community and vocalizing our intentions and would end with a meditation. This practice showed me how to bond with baby while pregnant by combining both yoga and meditation. My favorite part was the wet lavender towel we’d get over our eyes during shavasana. I don’t think I would have been able to handle my second and third trimester as effortlessly as I did without prenatal yoga. Although finding the energy to continue classes became difficult closer to my due date, practicing was so therapeutic. It became necessary to ease my pregnancy discomforts.
When choosing a yoga studio, it is important to shop around and find out which one works for you. The instructors and participants are going to become like another support system, similar to your family and/or birthing team. It is important that you go in with good intentions as well because a group full of pregnant woman is delicate, yet intense. Let go and dedicate that time to uplifting the other mamas. Allow them to uplift you. That way, you get the most out of your experience.
In addition to using meditation to access feelings I was not aware of; I used journaling to organize and break down the feelings I was aware of. Writing made me address the feelings that were in the way of me experiencing and being present in my pregnancy.
Journaling showed me how to me bond with baby during pregnancy, by getting me back to the core of myself. It forced me to acknowledge and accept everything in and around me. I was able to compartmentalize and make room for everything (my feelings, anxiety, my body etc).
I didn’t take many pictures of myself in early pregnancy, and I regret it, big time! The few photos I did take, including my initial ultrasound pictures, helped create a deeper connection to my pregnancy and my baby. I often found myself looking at the first pictures of myself while pregnant in disbelief. I’d always say to myself, “wow there really is a life inside of me”.
There are some women who document their entire pregnancy journey and create somewhat of a visual journal. Creating memories can make an event special. I found that when I took pictures with the intent to create memories, I held those photos and everything connected to that memory closer to my heart.
5. Write letters to baby
You may be asking, “Isn’t writing letters kind of the same thing as journaling?”. No, it isn’t. With journaling, you are assessing your own thoughts and feelings. With writing letters, you are creating a relationship between you and your baby. Some of the things I would write about include:
- Things that were happening in my life at the time (accomplishments, failures etc).
- Ways in which I was changing.
- My wants and desires.
- Memorable moments with my husband/family and I.
Writing letters to my baby while pregnant showed me how to bond with baby during pregnancy by anticipating her arrival and the relationship we would be able to build with one another. In writing letters, I also got to know myself a little better.
6. Talking To baby
As silly as this may sound, talking to my baby helped me recognize her as a person. Aside from me wanting my baby to recognize my voice, I wanted to create a relationship with her. At the time, my husband and I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. I know talking to her helped me connect and develop unconditional love. Talking to baby while pregnant can also include activities such as reading or singing singing.
Not having an instant connection to your pregnancy and/or your baby is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens differently for each mama, if it even happens at all. These are the actions I took to deepen my connection to myself, my pregnancy journey and show my how to bond with baby during pregnancy. I’d love to hear what other mamas are doing and if you have tried any of these techniques. Let me know in the comments below!