They Can Hear Us…

Both traditional and contemporary wisdom acknowledges that Children can ‘read’ adults. They can tell when you are happy and at peace, when you’re not being truthful, when you’re hiding something, when you’re pretending that all is well even when it isn’t – and even though they may not express it like another adult would, your children know what’s going on with you. After all they started to ‘hear and feel’ you right from when they were in the womb. There are many reports from expectant women about their unborn child being in tune with their feelings.

My friend Harriet shared that throughout her pregnancy, her baby would kick like a top ranking high earning European League footballer every time she was excited about something or was in high spirits; to the extent that she would rub her stomach where he was kicking and ask him to calm down – and he would!

Another friend, Wairimu, reports an intriguing incident. It was at six months of pregnancy when she was weighed down in low spirits owing to high stress at work. Wairimu was massaging her stomach and talking to her unborn daughter, explaining how she had had a pretty rough day and was feeling stressed out.Much to her surprise, she felt what seemed like a little fist push out right where her hand was and stay right therein an apparent gesture of support in the wake of that rough day. It was a miraculous moment for Wairimu. She explains having felt an emotionally intense connection with her daughter that has lasted since.

Further afield, research indicates that there’s a scientifically based rationale to support these reports of mother-baby dialogue. An excerpt from Science News asserts “Parents-to-be better watch their language. Babies can hear specific words in the womb and remember them in the days after birth” It goes on to say that results from a new study add to the understanding of how the early acoustical environment shapes the developing brain. They quote the study co-author Eino Partanen of the University of Helsinki as saying, “Earlier studies have found that fetuses can hear and learn certain sounds. Nursery rhymes, vowel sounds and mothers’ voices can all influence a developing baby. But this new study, published August 26 (2013) in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, shows that a fetus can detect and remember discrete words. The fetal learning capabilities are much more specific than we thought”.

Babies recognize the voices of their parents and people that have been around them and who’ve been speaking to them, when they finally emerge into this world. They gravitate towards familiar voices with whom they have established a bond long before birth. It is therefore important to cultivate the habit of speaking to and sharing your feelings and thoughts with your unborn child and to encourage other family members to do so too as part of welcoming the little one.

Babies are also known to respond to different types of music. They begin hearing by the 18th week of pregnancy and from days of old, women have sung all sorts of songs to their babies, reporting that their babies responded in different ways depending on the nature of the songs. Some expectant parents play classical music to their unborn babies as it is known to have a calming effect on them. I am convinced that my son’s sense of justice and his constant standing up for the rights of the downtrodden children in his school is as a result of the amount of Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, Morgan Heritage and Alpha Blondy I listened to when carrying him, with their messages of social justice and human rights. He’d keep still and seem to enjoy the music, occasionally kicking in tandem with the rhythm, towards the last days to birth.

So ladies, let us talk to our babies as we carry them. They love it and more importantly, They Can Hear Us while in there….

Carolyne Gathuru is an ardent and passionate communications specialist with over 15 years of professional experience, including quality service delivery to individuals and families. Among other past engagements, she has worked as Marketing and Customer Service Manager at The Nairobi Hospital, giving her a unique understanding of the health, care and communication needs of families. Carolyne sits on the board of The Institute of Customer Service in Kenya that sets customer service standards nationally.“I have been touched and inspired by people from all walks of life. I find people fascinating, says Carolyne. “I welcome you to my communications blog on Baby Love Network. Let’s talk.”

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