Courtesy photo

Attachment between a caregiver and child is stronger the earlier this special bonding process begins.

Are you pregnant or know someone pregnant during this time? Are you a Black, Indigenous, Latin or a person of color who is a parent or pregnant? Allow for those questions to sit with you for a moment especially if you aren't pregnant or Black, Indigenous or person of color.

More than ever we as people are calling upon the support from many programs, websites, people and community members. We are emotional, a lot is going on and we as adults are the main teachers for our children. We are setting an example for them 24/7, 365 days a year.

Our children are the ones who recognize the changes in our emotions, routines, views and perceptions of others without having much of a choice to differentiate between what is right and wrong. As a caregiver, you set the tone for these young children and how they view themselves and how they view the world.

Our children see us on our knees in prayer, they see our words lifted by the thick smoke of copal, sage, frankincense or sacred tobacco. They hear these chants and smell the shift of optimism and hope in the air, or calm as they see the colors change on the essential oil diffuser. Our children are being affected immensely, especially babies in utero that are the future children of Black and Indigenous descent.

If you are pregnant or supporting someone pregnant during this time, there are ways to ground and promote attachment, which is the bonding process that is developed by nurturing a baby, child or individual with closeness and communication. Thousands of hours have been spent in researching and creating valuable content on attachment theory and how we may support children through unprecedented circumstances, and this begins in pregnancy.

Parents as Teachers, a curriculum that is used nationwide, says this about attachment: "It is not fully understood what makes a parent and a child come to love one another. It is certain, however, that attachment between the two of them is stronger the earlier this special bonding process begins."

Below are some tips on how you may be able to establish secure attachment culturally in pregnancy and that can be carried on throughout the young lives of your children, grandchildren and future generations to come. Keep in mind that attachment starts as soon as you start communicating with your baby.

Gratitude. Allow yourself as a caregiver to express gratitude by verbalizing, singing, praying, drawing or thinking to yourself and the child you are carrying or supporting. If you are a spiritual person or an individual tied to cultural standards, this may look different for you. It is important to recognize that you are a strong person - having a baby in this time may seem scary, but as you express gratitude for yourself and baby, you are creating a form of immense power that you may use as a tool later on in labor and delivery.

As pregnancy progresses, use time outdoors or inside to relax and think of your baby. That's right, just think about them.

Use your imagination, or use a recent ultrasound image of your baby - imagine the color of their hair, or eyes, their name. At this time you may sing or play music to your belly, have a conversation with your baby or include them in the conversation between you and another. As you expose your unborn child to the sounds of your mother tongue or other common dialects, you are simultaneously supporting their language development.

Physical touch to the belly can be just as beneficial in promoting secure attachment, such as stroking the belly, caressing, rubbing or hugging. Although this is useful, it is not recommended for everyone as physical touch may not be comfortable for some people, and that is completely OK.

An alternative might be to smudge the belly and/or comfortably wrap the belly with a shawl or scarf.

Every pregnancy is unique and as a home visitor for Tiwa Babies, we provide support for whatever you want to know about getting pregnant, being pregnant or caring for your new baby. We also provide support for all families in Taos County with a child 0-5 years old.

Visit us at Tiwababies.org to find out more about our prenatal and home visiting services.

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