MONUMENTAL is the word that in my humble opinion would best describe the moment when a woman finds out she will bring a life into this wold. Just the fact that you are carrying and growing life inside is extraordinary. Our bodies are such an amazing vessel if you think about it. We are made to GROW, BIRTH and NOURISH a human being. I personally think that with this kind of gift comes a huge responsibility. A responsibility to be the greatest mother from the start.
I used to tell my college professor that every parent should be required to take a child development class to understand children better. Why is that not a law actually? It baffles me.
At that time in my life I was not a mother yet, but I was required to take several child abuse classes in order to teach. I studied heart breaking cases that until this day have left a permanent scar in my heart and ignited my passion for early childhood education even more. I would literally come out of those classes in tears. Stories and images of babies and children who died in the hands of the their own parents and primary caregivers. People who were suppose to protect and love them. I even studied abuse cases where the victim survived horrific ordeals but were left permanently disabled and emotionally damaged. Lack of educational resources, support, and help all play a role when it comes to child neglect and abuse. I know I am only one person, but sometimes all it takes is ONE person trying to make a small difference.
So as mommies to be, what can we do to give our baby the best start even before they come out of our womb? Well, prenatal care is a must. Regular visits to an OBGYN or midwife. I also personally took prenatal vitamins 3 months before conceiving with both of my pregnancies. Then I continued to take the vitamins throughout each pregnancy even though they made me gag, but I sacrificed for the boys. Now a days, there are gummy ones available almost everywhere (you all are so lucky).
Let’s talk about these prenatal vitamins and why they are so important. Prenatal vitamins along with a healthy diet, can help prevent birth defects by helping us fill the nutritional gaps our bodies may be missing for baby. Folic acid, or folate is a vitamin B, and is crucial in the early stages of your baby’s brain and spinal cord development. Our bodies are also working harder. For example, we produce double amounts of blood to support the growth of the baby and placenta. So we need sufficient stores of iron in order to successfully achieve this.
Here are some resources that can help in understanding a baby’s early development while in the womb. I highly recommend and enjoyed these books:
What to Expect While Expecting
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads to be (this is a great one for dads because they too are just as important).
If you would prefer a smart phone app, I personal loved and used this one with Josh’s (my second born) pregnancy.
My Pregnancy Today | Baby Center
Now on to my favorite. EARLY LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT. I will never stop emphasizing about the importance of talking, singing, and reading to baby. This is actually the best way to kick start a baby’s language development even before entering this world. A baby’s most developed sense at birth is their auditory or hearing.
“The relationship between mother and child intensifies during the final three months, for fetal size and movements make the pregnant woman very aware of it. In turn, her sounds, smells (via amniotic fluid), and behavior become part of fetal consciousness. Communication can begin at the 28th week, as the fetus hears many sounds, including the mother’s heartbeat and voice. The fetus becomes accustomed to the rhythm and tone of the sound heard- music, conversation, or the mother’s voice reading a book out loud.” (The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence Seventh Edition)
My boys until this present day love for me to read “Goodnight Moon” to them. It is a classic favorite in our home. With both pregnancies I would read it to them. I made it a nightly routine with my husband. In my opinion this helps bond as a family early on and it establishes a routine so when baby is born it comes naturally to read to him/her.
So now let’s start a movement my mommy to be friends! Read, sing, talk endlessly to your unborn baby. Create life enriching routines long before baby arrives.