Ways to Love Your Unborn Baby(ies)

While Samuel was with us, we wanted to make the most of every day we had with him. It's not always easy to share your life with a person you can't hold in your arms, but we found the following things helpful as we bonded with our precious boy.

Please note: Obviously, there are a lot of emotions when carrying a baby that won't live past pregnancy/birth. You love them endlessly but you are also afraid because your time is short. Be kind to yourself. Do what feels right to you and don't push it. There were plenty of times I would sob during/after trying to do things with him, because I just wanted to keep him so badly. I know it's hard. Just take it one day at a time and do what is best for you and your baby. <3
  

~Reading: Take the time to read to your baby every day. They love to hear mama and daddy's voices. We read to Samuel all the time. Daddy, specifically, would read him a book of nighttime prayers every night before bedtime. We had one book in particular we read so often that we memorized it. We would recite it in the car, or at other times when the book was not accessible. Then, after he was born and the doctors were working with him, we recited it to him again. I know it helped him relax and know we were close.

~Singing: My husband would never want to do it publicly, but he sang lullabies to Samuel a few times each week. Singing helps to calm the baby and it will give you a special memory to last forever. (I even made up a few special songs, just for him. Now that he's gone, I can sing them to myself when I'm really missing him and it helps me feel him with me.)

~Teaching: We told Samuel about so many things in life. Tell your baby about your wedding/dating, and how you met. Tell them about what makes their mama or daddy so special to you. Tell them about anything you would have told them later in life. Share fun memories with them. Tell funny stories from your life. Tell them about cars/animals/sports/toys/weather/seasons/holidays/etc. Sometime it's interesting to try to describe these things. We had lots of laughs trying to describe things like animals to Samuel.

~Describing: This goes along with Teaching. I would tell Samuel all about our day as it unfolded. "Samuel, mama is washing dishes. Dishes are the things we use to eat. Washing means I'm getting them clean again so they are ready when it's time for our next meal". And so on...

~Loving words: Take every moment you can to tell your baby(ies) just how special they are to you. I love you! I love you! I love you! It can't be over-said. One thing that helps me now that he's gone, (as much as anything can help) is the knowledge that Samuel was loved more in the few months we had with him, than some babies are loved at all. We made sure he knew our love.

~Massaging/caressing/love taps: As long as it won't hurt them or aggravate any problems, you can rub your hands along your tummy and gently caress your baby. It's the closest thing you may have to holding them and snuggling, so use this "tummy time" to connect with your little one(s). My husband found that he could give a light "love tap" and then get a kick back from Samuel. This was one of their favorite games. You can also give lots of tummy kisses to mama.

~Sharing Experiences: Clearly, Samuel went with us wherever we went. But we also purposely created experiences to share with him (things we were hoping to share with him as he grew). We went to an apple orchard and told him all about autumn and leaves and pumpkins and apples. (Part of this was eating apples and cinnamon ice cream - they eat what you eat!) We went to a baseball game and he learned all about sports (and why the MN Twins are the best : ) We went to an aquarium and told him all about fish (not an easy thing to describe, let me tell you) and turtles and oceans. For Christmas, we went to a water park hotel and spent a long time on the Lazy River. It was relaxing for mama as well as a fun time to bond with our baby boy. There are so many things you can do together as a family. Imagine things you would have wanted to share with them as they grew and do what you can (be sure they are things that are safe for mama and baby).

~Nighttime rituals: Every night, after daddy read Bed-Time Prayers (one of our favorites, here), Samuel and I would go into his room. I would turn on a CD of soft, instrumental lullabies and dim the lights. Then, after lots of "I love you" and "goodnight, my love" from me, I would snuggle my tummy up in a blankie and rock him to sleep in the rocking chair. (He may not have actually gone to sleep, but it was a special time for us).

~Introducing: Let siblings, grandparents and other family members talk to your little one. They can be the ones to read a story. They can share their own life stories/experiences with baby. If you're comfortable, you can also allow friends to do the same. Always do what feels comfortable to you. It's perfectly ok for your baby to just know mama and daddy.

(Please see this page for more ideas). 

Overall, just try to keep in mind, this is probably (I'm so very sorry) the only time you'll have, so make the most of it. I wish deeply this was not so, and I hope with all my heart that your baby will be the one to live despite a poor diagnosis, but you don't want to live with regrets. So hope for the best, but also do everything you can while you have the time. I'm so sorry you have to <3

Question: What are some things you do to show love to your baby?

4 comments:

Naomi said...

I can't believe no one commented on this page post before!

Wow, simply wow! I did sing for Lily and explained to her that she would soon see Jesus and that He loved her so much...I did tell her my love for her. I had no amniotic fluid and now that I think about it, I almost touched my baby girl while she was alive by rubbing my belly, each time I did, it felt like she did feel me and I felt her... I wish I had read this before,I wish I had done more... We learned about her fatal condition at 21w, she passed at 24w and 3d. She was my 6th child. My #4 would kiss my belly and say I love you, we had told her she would feel her love...
Thank you for sharing this... <3

Stacey Maddox said...

Thanks for posting this! We are taking Denali to as many places as possible and taking lots of pictures at each place. We sing to her and I rock her to sleep. We also enjoy playing our favorite music by placing an iPod on my belly. She's supposed to be deaf, but she definitively responds by kicking and moving!

DonnaLinn said...

We read to Aidan every night from a children's book of Bible stories. It gave us an opportunity to talk to him about our faith after we would read the story. Also, I play guitar, so I always enjoyed playing because the guitar would rest against my belly. That way he could hear it AND feel it.

Katrina said...

Thank you for these ideas. I am 19 weeks pregnant with our sweet baby boy, Aaron. We learned three weeks ago that he has Trisomy 13. I will carry him as long as I am able to, and hopefully we will meet him if he is born. He is our 10th baby, and our last, and I want to enjoy my pregnancy and my short time with him. These ideas are great. Thank you.

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