Our core understandings of babies and early human experience are in the midst of a fundamental paradigm shift.
In my article Consciousness at the Beginning of Life, published in this issue of IJHC, I explore this shift and what we are learning from the babys point of view about early human experiences that leads us beyond our modern eras biology-based lens into a vastly expanded consciousness-based multidimensional understanding. In this article I go further into what babies are teaching us and how these new understandings bring greater opportunities in fathering babies during pregnancy.
They also reveal their transcendent capacities of expanded awareness and knowing, and are aware of others intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions. They have the capacity and innate yearning to be in conscious relationship with us as they come into their human form. Being in relationship, not alone is their natural way of being and helps them feel safe.
As they come into human form, babies live in both worlds the world of spirit and our physical world. The more we hold, meet and care for babies as conscious, sensitive beings from the beginning of life, we help them thrive in the fuller alignment of their multidimensional wholeness. When we hold more of who they are, we support their fuller embodiment and establishment of their core life patterns from this greater Selfs wholeness.
Ive been working with babies, children, and families from this understanding for more than 25 years, and I have seen the beauty when parents drop into that deep, intuitive connection with their baby during pregnancy and live from that place of reverence, connection, and caring for their omni- wise, yet very sensitive and responsive baby consciousness. Even when things are not ideal during the pregnancy, when life happens or when the birth is not as you wished it could have been, when you have established this conscious relationship and bond with your baby in the womb, it sustains and buffers the baby by enabling children and their families to go through the human challenges together.
What Really Matters
What really matters to babies during their early life in the womb? What helps them flourish as they develop? What do they want their fathers to know? When I sit with what I have experienced with babies and learned from them, these precious wisdoms stand out:
Babies in the womb want their fathers to know that YOU MATTER: Fathering from the very beginning matters. You are their special person, their father, and they know you are their father from preconception forward.
They love you, they seek your love and connection with you, and want to be in a conscious living relationship with you from the very beginning of life. Babies love playing and just enjoying daily living together. They love when you talk with them and include them. Babies deeply appreciate your caring about and for them, your wanting them to feel safe, loved, and happy while they are growing inside their mother; and they deeply appreciate your protection, how you help to keep their environment harmonious, healthy, and as stress-free as possible.
They know all the acts of kindness, consideration, and support you give them and their mother.
And lastly, they dont care about you being a perfect father. Babies want you to be authentic, vulnerably real, and connected to who you really are.
In the womb, babies are imprinting and learning deeply through their experiences and relationships. These become the foundation of their core beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and ways of being the world. It really is an incredible plan! We come in and intensely experience, learn and imprint during womb life. By the time we are born, we have a well-developed subconscious with beliefs about ourselves, relationships, and the world, the infrastructure for our human selves.
They can provide a positive foundation of love, caring, and mutuality. Not only does fathering give this gift to your baby, but you are gifted into becoming more of who you truly are as a person and a father.
If these notions of the conscious and capable multidimensional baby are new to you, I suggest beginning with a conscious intention of welcoming, wanting, and intuitively developing your personal relationship with your baby in the womb. Communicate with them and have the intention to be sensitive to their communication with you. What do you want them to feel, to know, to experience? How do you want to convey that to them? Through conversations? Gestures? Actions?
The Birth of a Father
I want to share a fathers story here to bring these ideas together. I interviewed Jenny and Paul ten years after their son was born. This was the first time Paul had spoken of these things, even with his wife.
Paul: The whole pregnancy was a wonderful time for me. I very much felt a part of it. I think that can be difficult for men. They can feel very excluded, very fearful. Its all very strange and they are not able to share it or influence it or be genuinely a part of that. But I felt very connected, both to the growing baby and to Jenny. It was a wonderful time for us. It was a strengthening time for the relationship between the two of us. I loved it.
Jenny: We had spent a lot of time in our early relationship talking about creating the life we wanted and setting the boundaries for what okay for us, and what was not okay. A big part of that was about children, and what it would mean for us to have a child and to create for a child a childhood that we ourselves didnt have. That began from the moment of the pregnancy. We were going to give this child everything that we could. From the very, very start, he would know that he was loved, and he would never, ever doubt that. So that really influenced how we embraced the pregnancy. We treated it as magical. We just really cherished it. Saw every moment of it to be an opportunity to hold him in that way, the way we wish wed been held.
Paul: It was very much about relationship. It wasnt about painting the nursery and putting things on the walls. We didnt do any of that. We had no idea where he was going. It was about the support of him as an individual.
Jenny : We played a lot of music during that time Paul Simon, in particular. And after he was born, if he got overstimulated and upset, that music would calm him right down. We would sing it to him and he would immediately calm down. There were lots of little things that came in the time of the pregnancy that seemed to translate into his outer life.
Paul: Its true. I dont remember us talking about it in this way, but we very much thought of him as an individual, as someone we needed to care for. Just because we couldnt see him yet, that never entered into the thinking. I dont know where that came from.
Jenny : Yeah, it was just intuitive. When I was pregnant with our son, Paul spent quite a lot of time talking to my pregnant belly. Sometimes I was privy to the conversations and other times I would ask, What did you say? and he would say, Thats between me and the baby. They seemed to be…I dont know if you were consciously trying to establish a relationship or if you were just having fun?
Paul: No, it was a conscious thing. It was also, I specifically wanted to say things that you could not hear. Not that it was secret, but that it was personal. There was this separateness with this being inside you. There were things we were sharing about the pregnancy, but there were things that I wanted to be between me and him. We knew it was a boy from fairly early on. So, by the time I was talking to him, I knew he was a boy.
Wendy: What was that like for you? Any sense of it being a dialogue?
Paul: I felt for no particular reason that he would be able to hear it, to recognize it. He would be able to feel a sense of somebody else outside a sense of a voice. A caring, a warmth, a love that he would be able to feel. I dont really know why I felt that, but I felt that was likely. I did feel that he was listening. And that it was a genuine communication in that sense.
Jenny : We had a little Beanie Babies bear that we used to put on my stomach and I think we used to have dialogues with our son, kind of like if you are feeling happy, we would ask questions and watch what the bear would do. The bear would move like it was on a roller coaster ride. It was never random kicks. It was always this whole jelly kind of movement. So, in a way we felt entertained by him in response to our asking, How is it in there? Are you okay in there? We had a very strong bond from very early on. I think what Im really hearing from Paul is that I had a relationship with our son becausehe was growing inside of me, and Paul wanted, as best he could, to have a different yet similarly intimate parallel relationship with him as well.
Paul: Thats right. I couldnt wait. I think for both of us, he was very much alive and distinct, way before he was born. We consciously talked about how we didnt know who he was, and we would need to learn. We would need to meet him and let him tell us who he was. He was very real and distinct from the two of us all through the pregnancy.
Ultimately, he ended up being a C-section birth. I was pretty calm inside the operating room. That was kind of fun and exciting. We knew (surgery would begin) at 3 oclock and that by 3:15, we would have a child. So, I felt the excitement of that. It was quite light and jokey. When they actually made the incision and brought him out, he was quite quiet. There was a scoring system for how the baby was doing and he scored very low on that. They cleared out his airway. He was breathing. He just wasnt doing well. They wanted to take him up to the neonatal intensive care unit.
I could see what was going on and what they were discussing. I thought if I its very hard for me to talk about [ getting choked up ].
I thought, If I can hold him and talk to him, that he will be okay. Hell know he is safe and that its okay. Its a huge moment for him. He has gone from dark and cozy to suddenly being in this light environment and that he is just scared. If I talk with him, he will understand in some way that he is still safe.
|I asked if I could hold him. So, I just held him and told him I understood this must be a very shocking experience for him, and it was okay to be feeling that way. That he was safe. We would take care of him and that he was going to be fine and that we were really glad he had come, [ shaky voice ] and he immediately became calmer, more settled, and was okay. He didnt have to go to the NICU. We wrapped him up and took him with us.|
It is hard for me to talk about. It is hard for me to listen when my wife talks about it. Im not really sure why that is. I think it is because I knew. There was a moment where I could have not said anything because I thought the doctors and the specialists knew what was best, but in my heart, I knew that I knew. And for me, thats that is very powerful. Its very emotional. Its about so many different things. Its about my relationship with him. But its also about my relationship with myself and trusting that. Going through that, I made that very profound discovery.
Jenny : It was the birth of a father.
Paul: Yes, I guess it is very much that.
Jenny: And that you would be good at it.
Paul : [ Choked up ] Yeah, and that is very important to me.
Wendy: A very sacred moment.
Paul: Truly, perhaps in the most profound sense of that word. I think thats what goes back through the whole pregnancy for us. The honoring of what was going to happen, what we were preparing for, and our responsibilities in that.
Wendy: Absolutely. Im just holding that moment. Paul, you said it so beautifully. It is at the depth beyond words, and yet you said it so beautifully.
Paul : Its something that isnt about words. That goes back to pregnancy, too. It wasnt about the words, specifically. It was about connection.
Wendy: And who we are at a level beyond words.
Paul : And who we are at a level beyond words.
My heartfelt gratitude to Jenny and Paul for allowing me to share their story with you. The beauty of fathering during pregnancy and birth transformative for son, father, and their whole family.
This article was originally published in Pathways to Family Wellness, Issue 58, 2018.
Wendy Anne McCarty, PhD, RN, HNB-BC, DCEP, was the Founding Chair and Core Faculty, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and author of Welcoming Consciousness: Supporting Babies Wholeness from the Beginning of LifeAn Integrated Model of Early Development. She currently is a global consultant/educator for professionals and families to optimize human potential from the beginning of life and repair of earliest life experiences at any age.