I’ve been playing den’s with my children this week – a lot. They love den’s, but don’t all children and even adults? I have to admit I’m a bit claustrophobic but I do love curling up in a den every now and again.
This week we had a new fluffy red blanket which we draped over the den – it gave off a warm red glow inside. Rory my son, refused to come out and curled up into the corner, comfortable and calm. I too felt very at peace sitting in there with the sounds outside muffled and tucked up, cosily next to him.
The symbolism may be obvious, but what is so interesting is that after years of being born that I still now get that sense of peace and security when I’m in that den. Certainly I have no recollection of being in the womb, but I have a sense of it.
Often you will hear of people talk about birth memories, memories of being in the womb, or of a birth imprint or body memory. As adults we very seldom have a cognitive memory of being in the womb, rather we may have a sense of what that may have been like through games such as building, hiding out in dens or even listening to the muffled beat of a heart.
The unborn child is just like the newborn in that it is permanently learning and coming to terms with everything new in its environment. Things learned in the womb remain influential later in life. So hiding in dens, listening to the sound of the mother’s heartbeat can have a calming effect even after birth.
On the other hand research looking into prenatal stress indicates that babies who that have suffered from stress in the womb have shown increased heart rates later in their lives. A study by Gerhard Rottmann (1974) suggested that the more conflict, ambivalence and rejection the mother demonstrated in her relationship with the unborn child, the more the child was affected after the birth.
In a study by Theodor Hau some of the things that were shown to be connected to the above were : less sleep, irritability, excessive screaming, apathy, underweight and gastrointestinal problems.
So what am I trying to say with this post? I suppose I want to get more to grips with this idea of body memory, of the feelings imprinted upon us in the womb and at birth and how that affects us as children and adults.
I have absolutely no doubt that the baby feels what the mother feels, and that’s not just while they are in the womb. My children are acutely sensitive, they know when I am upset or down even if I hide it really really well. Being mindful of this and being present enables a mother to spend time with her child and to be calm and at peace. Benefiting not just herself but her child as well.
During pregnancy by remaining calm and relaxed, you are giving your baby the benefit of all those feel good hormones which we know affect them positively in the longer term. Babies that are born to mothers we have worked with are extraordinarily calm. In the longer term we are beginning to see the toddlers with remarkable focus and patience.
Here are 4 simple things that you can do everyday during your pregnancy to slow yourself down, relax and focus on the baby – If you are too busy then prioritise – ask yourself what is important in your life.
Take 10 minutes out of the day to meditate or reflect on your baby.
Practice slow belly breathing while listening to music
Talk to and play with your baby
Listen to the Mindful Mamma relaxation cd or some other relaxing music