Hello, Son. Are You There?

I keep reading it’s good for a dad to talk to his unborn baby. The baby should hear my voice and get accustomed to its sound so there’s no shock after birth like, “Who the hell are you and why are you holding me go awaaaaaaaaaaaaay!” I’ve been trying to do it as much as possible, but I’ve been struggling. Namely, I have no idea what to say to the little guy.

Obviously, I love my son, but it's always been hard for me to say that out loud. It could be due in part to the way I was raised, the stoic Japanese family that never expressed affection directly. It's even harder when I have to express my feelings to my wife's belly. Typically, the most I can muster is noises and raspberries; excited utterances bursting with joy and anticipation.

My difficulty in speaking to my wife’s belly could be related to my fear of talking on the phone. I’m super shy and hate the phone because I can’t see the other person’s facial cues, which I rely on to let me know how a conversation is going. Talking into my wife’s belly is a lot like talking into a phone. I know the baby hears me, but what’s he thinking? Is he happy about my presence? Sad? Indifferent? Does he even understand? I’ll say, “Do you like daddy? Kick twice for yes and once for no,” but I get no response. I forget he doesn’t understand English yet.

I’ve sort of given up trying to have conversations with the baby and have started to communicate in a different way — through touch. I rub my wife’s belly a lot and think doing so lets me feel my son’s presence. I’m not just talking about kicks, but an unseen energy radiating outward from the womb that says, “Hey, dad!” My only hope is the energy flows both ways. That my son can feel the love and affection radiating from my hand that says, “Daddy loves you, little guy, and he can’t wait for you to get here.”