Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Talking to the Unborn baby

Coming from India, where there are roots of ‘Garbhasanskar’- learning in the womb concept, I was very intrigued by the whole concept and when I learnt about my pregnancy, I was more than enthusiastic to try it out! I first thought it would be easy to talk to my own baby, so what if she was still not present in front of me, I would still talk! But turned out such that I felt little embarrassed to sit to myself and talk aloud with my baby…so I decided I would try something else!
I was completing my research about teaching adults to talk in Russian, while I was pregnant, so taking a leaf from all those theories, I simply started reading aloud, my own thesis work and references to myself or my unborn child! This seemed to work! I was really not expecting any response at all but just some reading aloud nostalgia from school times…

Also I began to talk in my mind about my future plans, desires and general aspirations from the child and myself after she was born. I began to narrate current events and happenings to my baby too! Later when she was born, I used to read aloud the newspaper reports while nursing her. People around me gave me quizzical looks but to me it did not matter, as long as I was bonding with my baby with thoughts and words!
To check the validity of the mythological claim that children absorb and learn complex things while in the womb, I began playing Hindustani classical music to my unborn baby. It was particularly soothing in the last trimester, when I would get all worked up, nervous at times for no apparent reason. I also attended a live concert featuring Ustaad Zakir Hussian that was the first time I felt my baby move! It was a double delight indeed!
Later each day after practicing yoga, chanting the Gayatri Mantra nearly 21 times a day, and other shlokas, I would listen to tabla recordings of Ustaad Zakir Hussain for about half an hour or so. It used to soothe my nerves and make me feel really perked up on days when my hormones went racing! That inner calm which I experienced was not mine alone is what I merely sensed but cannot ever prove!
As the trimesters moved on, I felt a thin, fragile bond being created between me and my unborn child, it was a very subtle feeling, yet very definite! Each new raga we explored together, each new classical concert we attended, I realized this was indeed special, as I personally have no particular inclination towards classical music, frankly it could put me off to sleep at times. But during pregnancy, it soothed me and comforted me by literally carving out notes on my silence.
Finally when my daughter was born, and she cried the very first time, I replayed the same tabla recording which I had been repeatedly listening before delivery. Miracle or not, she stopped crying, as if to realize she was in familiar surroundings, though the whole birthing experience might have been way more taxing for her, the music enveloped her and reassured her, that she is amongst familiar people, her own!
Being a colicky child, she was prone to long spells of crying, and though not all times, I could prevent her crying most of the times, by playing her comfort music-tabla! It worked wonders! I still call Ustaad Zakir as her favorite baby sitter! It still works well, when she is throwing a tantrum! Totally diffuses her temper and there she sits, all attentive, unblinking staring at the laptop screen or listening to the music while travelling in the car! Thanks to that CD we have been taking her on road trips across India and now USA!
Am not sure, she will follow some starry footsteps and become a table player but what I know for sure now is that the sounds indeed permeate the womb walls and reach those yet to be formed ears!
Ideally I would suggest new mothers to start this process around month 4 or 6 and continue till the end leading up to delivery and beyond! It works well! You can try your own favorite music or something totally opposite of your own choice. Talk or better still read out some of your favorite books, and they need not be children’s books, read out novels you like or feel inspired reading!

More on this, talking to your child after she is born! That’s for the next post! Keep reading! (Pun intended) J


  1. Very well written....same worked with me...I used to listen to "Harivarasanam" by Unnikrishnan....and believe you me ..Aadhya loves it....It still works...I play it , and Aadhya stops crying. :)