‘For the child, the mother is the soil that accepts and nurtures him, but the father is the sun that makes him bloom.’
– The Ear and Life, Alfred Tomatis
We, mammals, are social beings, and thrive on relationship.
We all begin life inside the body of a mother. From the very start of life, we are in relationship with another.
This feeling of being held is so basic to being human. We all need to feel held if we are to enjoy life with the passion it deserves, and contribute to its beauty with the fullness we are capable of. If we don’t feel its presence, our whole lives become reoriented towards finding this experience of ‘being held’.
Your baby, who is a human being from the start, first experiences being held even while they are growing inside your body.
They bask in the sunlight of being embraced by parents who love them even as they are being created.
Don’t imagine that this love does not reach them: it does!
Babies are sensitive to many things, and often long before we think they are. And I sometimes wonder if the most important of these is this feeling of ‘being held’. Which is to experience the essential beauty of human relationship.
So, mummy-and-daddy-to-be, talk to your baby. Sing to your baby. Sing your favourite songs, sing made-up songs, just sing. Sing exactly as you would in the shower. They love the sound of your voice. And the songs you sing will be so special to them. They will remember these songs, I promise you.
When they are born, and in the first weeks and months, you will be so happy that you had sung to them. Because you will see how they respond to it. If they are ever distressed you can sing these songs and it has an amazing calming effect on them. Its almost like they get a message that “although so much has changed, some things are still the same”. And that helps them as they are making this transition to a beautiful but new and unfamiliar world.
Tell them how much you are looking forward to seeing them. Tell them about the beautiful things you came across in the world outside – the smell of the wet road, the contagious laughter of a colleague at work. It is never too early to do this. Possibly one of the best preparations for having a baby is to take time to pause and marvel at the many miracles that surround us. Because that is the world your baby is coming into.
Soon, your baby will start communicating with you in their own form of Morse code: kick-kick-pause-kick-kick-pause. Try tapping back and see how they respond!
All this will feel silly at first. But that’s okay – no one is watching!
Out of these little moments, come two great gifts. One, a habit of respectful communication with our babies. And two, the experience our babies have of the dignity of being treated as the human beings they are.
Will these two gifts help nurture a beautiful relationship between you and your little one as they grow?