Prenatal bonding: how it is established

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Prenatal bonding

"I'm pregnant! And now what should I do? Who knows what my baby will be like! But will everything be okay? Who knows what a thrill when it moves! But will I be able to give birth? Who knows how beautiful it will be! But will I be a good mother? And then, will it be? love at first sight?...". Here are five steps to get the prenatal bonding between mother and baby.

In this article

  • The magic of pregnancy
  • Listen for the baby's cues
  • Feeling cared for 
  • The importance of birth preparation courses
  • Trust in the uniqueness of your pregnancy and birth 

The 'magic' of pregnancy

It can be said that there is a before and an after in a woman's life and the watershed line is represented by that dash on the pregnancy test that says 'yes'. Because from that moment on, the woman understands that nothing will be the same and everything will be discovered and built: in front of her there are nine months of 'coexistence in the dark', to imagine what that green bean that grows in her womb will be like day after day and what it will be like. the first meeting with him.

With our hands on our stomachs, we try to feel it, to perceive its presence, to detect the first semblance of movement as soon as possible. The magic of pregnancy: this is how it is defined in many articles we read. Effectively something magical happens within us: a life that grows, which gives us that delusion of omnipotence that perhaps on no other occasion we have ever experienced. 

Too bad that tiredness, those nausea or those digestive and sleep difficulties have very little magic. As well as all the exams that we have to do every month. Or the sense of weight that in recent times makes us feel really pregnant, in the etymological sense of the term (the Latin 'gravis' really means 'heavy')! In this whirlwind there are sensations, some positive, others less, how do you get in touch with the baby? To establish that bonding that everyone has told us is crucial to establishing a good relationship?

Read also: Babies: the importance of a secure attachment

Listen for the baby's cues

"First of all, let's dispel the false belief that there are 'methods' to create the bond with the child", the perinatal psychologist said. Alessandra Bortolotti, author of the book Then the mother returns (Mondadori, 2022), "because every mother, based on her experience, will find her own personal bond with her baby. It is true that during the nine months there are many signs that the baby it sends to the mother, such as hormonal changes, the change of sleep rhythms or that feeling of feeling 'different'.

Signals that the mother can perceive and perceive differently depending on whether the pregnancy was desired or not, whether she feels well or not, whether she continues to work or stops, that she feels an environment around her that makes her feel understood and protected or that feeds his insecurities. Because the secret to allowing the mom-to-be to center and focus on her baby is first and foremost here: allow her to live her pregnancy peacefully. Despite the physiologically disturbances he might have, despite some problems he might encounter ".

Feeling cared for

In fact, it could be said that what can hinder the establishment of a bond with the baby in the belly are the many doubts related to the baby's well-being: will he be okay? Will it be growing the right way? "The fetal movements, ultrasound scans and other tests scheduled during the nine months can give clear signals that the baby is 'there' and that everything is going well, but what can most help the expectant mother to connect with his son is support her in the changes that pregnancy imposesand "explains the psychologist.

"If the woman works all day and when she comes home she has to look after another child, prepare dinner or think about other tasks, she will have little space to dedicate to herself and to listening to the baby she carries in her womb. It is therefore important to encourage his moments of rest, understand what it needs, respect its needs ".

Read also: Bonding: how maternal love is born

The importance of birth preparation courses

It is also essential that the woman can have the opportunity to confront herself with those who can listen to and understand her, to express any fears and receive competent answers to her doubts. In this birth accompaniment courses play an important role, which give the opportunity on the one hand to exchange confidences and emotions with other women who live the same phase of life, on the other to ask questions and find reassurance.

"As long as you choose the right preparation course, which provides not only 'practical' information on what is happening in the body or on the positions of childbirth, but listens to the woman" continues Alessandra Bortolotti. "Because the future mother needs to perceive that there are those who take care of her with kindness, know how to accept her fears without judging and without taking anything for granted, can help her understand if certain fears are justified by objective elements and knows suggesting how to deal with them or who to contact, in any case transmitting trust and serenity. These are the elements that make the sense of attachment to one's child grow.

In some courses perinatal haptonomy techniques are also taught, that is, not only mothers but also fathers are taught to perceive with the touch of their hands the position in which the child is located and his movements: it is a wonderful practice, still not very widespread in Del Paese, but which facilitates the mental representation of the child and puts future parents in a position to really feel 'in touch' with their child. "  

Trust in the uniqueness of your pregnancy and birth

Often pregnant women are inundated with stories of other women's pregnancies and births, stories often enriched with details that only increase anxieties and fears.

"Instead, it is good to reassure the woman that her pregnancy and childbirth will be unique, they will not be comparable to the experience of any other", stresses the psychologist. "This does not mean creating idealized expectations, which lead to the illusion that everything will be perfect and wonderful, because at the first unforeseen event the future mother would have the conviction that she is 'wrong', with the guilt that would derive from it; instead, it is necessary to give true and correct information And instill the confidence that, despite the inevitable setbacks, her body will help her.

In pregnancy, but especially at the time of labor and delivery, when your body and your baby will begin the dance of birth and, through the signals that the baby will send, the mother will modulate her position in labor. A superpower which, if properly supported, emerges spontaneously and which also helps in post-partum and proximal care.

The real 'method' to develop bonding then is just this: to listen more to oneself and the signals that the child sends and at the same time to have someone who knows how to listen, who instead of filling the woman with unsolicited words and advice simply asks her how she is and how she can help her. That she respects her choices about her without blaming her, that she makes her feel protected and at the center of her attention. So that she can focus on her baby as best she can. "

Read also: Bonding mom and baby: 6 ways to promote it

  • bonding
  • parent-child bond
  • care and health of the newborn
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