It was probably a strange answer that most people received early on in my pregnancy when they asked if I was excited about a baby.
I am a very honest person. Not one to say, “Yes! We couldn’t be happier!”, right away with a half-ish smile. In the beginning my answer would be something like, “umm I’m freaking out a little.” Or, “not excited yet, I don’t really feel anything.” It took me longer than most (I felt) to be able to FEEL and be AWARE of what was really happening with my body and with this new little guy we’d be bringing into this world! I feel like I went through 8 stages of awareness, before truly believing this was all real:
8 stages of pregnancy awareness
1. Whaaaaat no way.
2. Super excited
4. Super scared
5. Okay not scared, just nervous
6. Wow, we should start planning because this is actually happening
7. I am now aware of my baby and I’ve started thinking of the future
8. I can’t wait for him to get here!
But for the most part, I was so disconnected and didn’t start the real connection process until just recently. I have compiled a list of things I do to make this whole thing feel really REAL. This will also help you not only feel more connected, but prepare you for the crazy BIRTHING of your baby. I think. I’ve never done it, but I assume it would help.
—- I hate that I have to start this way… but I don’t want anyone to get mad at me. I am not a doctor. I am not a specialist or expert. I am only a pregnant woman who did a little bit of self investigation. And this is what I found:
10 ways to connect with your bump
1 // Invest in a Stethoscope – I couldn’t hear my baby’s heart beating until around 28 weeks. It took a little bit of time. Don’t do this too early, you may freak yourself out if you are unable to hear it. But I will spend some time each night just listening. Listening to his little movements and his heart beating for what seems a million times a minute! He is REAL! He is so real.
2 // Buy Baby Books – One of my favorite things to do it buy baby books. I think I just love picturing me reading to him, having him point to things and me saying, “Yes, blue! You are so smart for pointing at something!” I like thinking, “will this be his favorite book? Is he going to like this one?” In a small way it just helps to imagine what you two will do together.
3 // Do a Craft for your Baby – I am in the process of making a mobile for Ezra’s room. Will this ever be finished? I dunno. But the more important thing is that while I am doing the craft, I am thinking about him… and planning for him… and trying to make his room a lovely and peaceful place!
4 // Sing or Talk to your Baby – Although I don’t have much to say, and honestly feel pretty awkward talking to my massive bump, I do it anyway. Yes, this is to connect with your baby… but doing this with your partner can really strengthen your relationship, and can be pretty hilarious. When I start telling Ezra about the recent weather we’ve been having, or Bear’s latest adventure climbing under the fence, Clay usually follows with, “she’s usually much funnier. She isn’t usually this boring, you’ll see.” I’m not so good at the baby bump talk, but I try. And that’s all that matters.
5 // Name Your Baby Early – I know this isn’t always possible. A lot of people want to SEE what their baby looks like before choosing a name. I mean, it really is one of the hardest things ever ever ever to give someone the name they will be using for the REST OF THEIR LIFE! Oh jeez that’s a lot of pressure. But if you can, I think this is HUGE in connecting with the little girl or guy. Ours is Ezra. That’s just who he is! He is already Ezra to us and is so much a part of our lives!
6 // Buy Your Baby Their First Snuggle Toy – One of the very first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was go out and buy him the softest cuddly teddy bear I could find. This was my first attempt to make things real. I am buying things for whatever is happening, so that means it’s real right? I guess. I just picture Ezra carrying this bear around everywhere we go. And if he doesn’t like it, I will try and make him. Because it’s the cutest thing ever. I guess if anything, it makes for a cute picture when he’s born.
7 // Rub Your Baby’s Rump – Around um… 30 weeks?? your baby’s positioning is quite apparent. If you still aren’t sure, just ask your doctor or midwife! They will be able to tell you what’s what. This is his foot, this is his bum! Ezra’s bum always seems to be in the same spot. I was told that when he is moving around like crazy, if you rub his bum, or back, that will calm him… and even later down the road after he is born. I just thought that was the coolest thing! So now I am rubbing that rump any chance I get!
8 // Hypnobirthing Technique – By practicing hypnobirthing techniques, I am able to put my mind at ease and in a peaceful place. I am picturing how this birth is going to go, and what it is going to feel like to have this little guy laying on my chest immediately after. Picture a healthy baby, a seamless delivery, and a “pleasant” labor. (Or as pleasant as it can be.) If each phase of labor and delivery is thought out beforehand, you may just have a shot at what you have pictured in your mind. It is all so magical to me. (Let’s reiterate. I am speaking from inexperience.)
9 // Be aware – Be aware of your baby’s movement. One of my favorite things was feeling his hiccups for the first time. They are so subtle at first so you really have to be paying attention, but you may start to notice them more as you recognize what they are! React to his or her movement by rubbing your bump or talking to him. Again, you may feel silly. But it becomes less silly the bigger you get. Or more silly? I don’t know. Just don’t talk to him in public. haha
10 // Play music for your baby – This could be your favorite record, something that is meaningful to you, or if you play an instrument, play for your baby! Personally, I play the piano for Ezra… with him in mind, knowing he can hear it. I am hoping he will come out knowing each measure of Clair de Lune. I don’t expect him to play it, only hum it. My expectations aren’t that high.
Baby, you’ll be here in no time! I hope you like me, because I sure do love you already.
photo by Erin Fonnesbeck Photography