Hearing your voice as well as its mother’s is part of the bonding process. Your unborn child hears its mother’s voice every time she says anything while it is developing inside her, but it is also important that your child hears your voice as often as possible as well. Your baby also needs to feel your touch as you caress her through her mother’s tummy. The amazing journey of fatherhood begins now.
It takes two to make a baby and it definitely takes two to bring one up. The easy part is making it, the hardest and also the most rewarding part, is bringing it up. Getting to the end of the road, if there ever really is an end of the road, is an incredible achievement and a truly satisfying and wonderful experience.
So when it’s time for your baby to be born, you should do your utmost to be present at the birth if at all possible. The three most moving and profound moments of my life were the births of my own children and I am sure it will be the same for you. I can remember each one as if they occurred, as if it was just yesterday. I know very occasionally circumstances can be out of your control and therefore it isn’t possible, but with good planning, you can try to minimise the chance of you missing it.
If you can do this, you will feel you are an integral part of the arrival of your child into this world and that you aren’t a peripheral figure to everything that is going on. Try to hold your baby before the umbilical cord is cut. She will see your face before she sees her mothers. Of course it is not a competition to see who is loved the most, but it is important that the bonding between you and your child is cemented the moment she comes into this world.
It will be the natural progression of the bond which you started developing with her before she was born and it will be one of the foundations of the relationship you will develop with her throughout her entire life.
One of the most intimate and moving moments of your life will be the arrival of your baby into this world. The sheer magic and awe at being present at the dawning of this new miracle of human life will stay with you for the rest of your life. It will be the most meaningful and emotionally charged event you have ever experienced and yet it will seem to go by ‘in the blink of an eye’.
Before the birth you may have lots of qualms about seeing blood, or seeing your partner in pain and being there in such a highly charged emotional situation, so you may be hesitant initially. The significance of the occasion once your partner goes into labour will make you forget about all those concerns. The more you realise that this is something so life changing and so profound, the more you will want to be there. It will be even more meaningful for you, as you will have been communicating with your baby and touching him through his mother’s tummy for the last six months.
Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you, as a father to be, do everything to make sure that you are there at the birth of your child and witness his arrival into this world.
Hold him as soon as he is born and you will see and feel immediately the intimate and unique bond between you. When you first look into his eyes as his father and reflect that this little being is part of you, it will start immediately. You will never ever forget that moment. It will remain as vivid in your mind for many years into the future, as the day he was born.
The bonding process with your child begins before he is born, it shouldn’t wait till he actually arrives in this world. Despite your partner experiencing your child developing and growing inside her, you can also lead a full part during these months before the birth.
As soon as you can start to see ‘the bump’ getting bigger, you can start interacting with your baby. He will be able to hear your voice, and feel you touching him through the walls of your partner’s tummy, for a few months before he is born. Your partner will also love you doing this, as at times she may feel she is doing it all alone. Even if this is not the case.
When your partner is lying down on the sofa, or the bed, take the opportunity while she is relaxed, to stroke your baby, and talk to him. You can put your ear next to him, and listen to any gurgles in your partner’s tummy. They may not actually be your baby, but it will feel good for your partner anyway. You can gently prod him and feel him move, and feel certain parts of his body. You can even guess with your partner what part of his body you are touching.
It will be a very satisfying and intimate time together for the two of you which you will both enjoy. You will also be starting to get used to the idea that there will be three of you shortly, not just the two of you. So take the opportunity to be involved right from the very start, you will be amazed.