I’ve made a habit of talking to my wife’s pregnant belly every night before bed and every morning before I leave for work. And while my words are of no particular importance, they are far and away the two most important conversations of my day. And as much as I want to be familiar to him, my daily monologues help make him familiar to me.
It is rarely more than a verbal stream of consciousness. I ramble on about my day or bonding experiences I’m looking forward to with him; things like kung fu, fast cars and matters of general suaveness.
I talk about nothing particularly sweet or endearing (like I said, kung fu, fast cars, etc.), but my hope is that he will develop an in-utero affinity for my voice. Dr. Thomas R. Verny, author of The Secret Life of the Unborn Child: How You Can Prepare Your Baby for a Happy, Healthy Life ($10.88 from Amazon), has done studies which demonstrate that newborns can distinguish and are calmed by the voice of their father if he spoke to them during the pregnancy. That is something I want, I want to have a connection with my child.
And as much as I want to be familiar to him, my daily monologues help make him familiar to me.
At times I wish that I could have as intimate a bond with our little unborn nugget as my wife does. When she wakes up, goes to sleep, fixes a snack, picks up the phone, the baby is with her. They are inextricably linked to each other. Speaking to him is my attempt to form an early bond because I lack that physical immediacy with the child. I began speaking to him out of ignorance, with no knowledge of Verny’s studies or proof that he even had functioning ears. I may have begun too early, but it was just something I wanted to do.
Does it make a difference? I think so. Could I be wrong? Quite possibly, it happens often. We may only know for sure if he starts side-kicking people from a speeding Ferrari, but I’ll take that chance.