Preserving Memories in a Pregnancy Journal|13, October 2013
Fast forward twenty some years from now and there may be a young woman flipping through pages you wrote, looking for glimpses of herself in your experiences. Keeping a pregnancy journal is a gift; to yourself, to your family, and to your child now and in the future.
Imagine how lovely it would be to have your own mother's words to describe what she experienced while carrying you? You can preserve these fleeting and special moments for your own children.
The Pregnancy Album
You can purchase a ready-made pregnancy journal or memory book. There are plenty available and the advantages include not needing to come up with your own ideas or decorations. The downside would be that you would spend money you might not have in your budget and you would be handcuffed to the vision of the person who fashioned that journal.
If you chose to make your own consider only albums that are archival quality. You don't want to go to all the trouble of saving memories and moments only to have them disappear and degrade over the years because you used the wrong materials.
Consider either a simple bound journal or a scrapbook format. The advantages of a scrapbook would be if you wanted to include photos or other materials. You may want to purchase acid-free stickers to embellish pages for a whimsical touch or keep it classic and opt for your words to stand alone.
Organizing Your Journal
To keep a pregnancy journal you need to consider how you want it be laid out. You can go with a chronological format, beginning with the pregnancy test forward. Or maybe you'd like to develop different sections and go more by theme? You could skip back and forth by keeping regular diary entries, dated but leave pages between to add special thoughts or include the test results on a page, later add a congratulations card from your dearest auntie and so on.
Things to Include that are Not Text-Based
Here are some items you may want to collect and keep with or in your mom-to-be journal.
- The actual pregnancy test. (Unless too icky for your taste!)
- The first official documents from your doctor confirming your pregnancy.
- A copy of your pregnancy announcement.
- Emails and cards you receive in recognition of your upcoming baby.
- The ultrasound photos. ( You may need to copy them onto photo paper)
- The lists you made of possible baby names.
- Pictures of the nursery as you complete it.
- Brochures from your baby items like the crib, stroller and such.
- Clippings from newspapers that show the important events occurring while you are pregnant.
- The newspaper from the day of the baby's birth.
- Little first footprints and handprints.
- Copy of the birth certificate.
- The items you can grab from the hospital, like the baby name from the isolette, the calendar page for the day from the hospital room and the bracelets for mommy and baby from the hospital.
Writing to Include in the Mom-to-Be Journal
You should write your thoughts, fears, and activities. Keep track of the information from all your doctor appointments. Record your appointments, tests and results, weight, blood pressure, and anything else.
Make a special entry after big appointments such as when you hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time, or when you have sonograms.
Include details of how you share the news with baby's father, and then your family and friends. Tell everyone's unique reactions. Did Grandpa to be cry or look like he was going to pass out? Did Aunt Kate squeal in characteristic fashion? Get it all down for yourself and for baby.
Write a letter to baby to begin each trimester, and get Daddy to do the same. Write it directly to the baby, discussing all the things you are wondering like will you have your dad's big eyes or grandma's dainty fingers? Let baby know all the things you were imagining doing together someday.
Keep track of how you feel, both emotionally and physically as the days pass. Include funny and embarrassing moments as well. These may be baby's favorite ones someday! Did you crave oranges with chocolate sauce? Write it down. Did you cry every time you watched Christmas movies that year? Get it in the journal. Specifics are the jewels of the journal, so tell the details. Don't worry about it being perfect; it can't be and shouldn't be. It should be individual and written from love. That's all the matters!Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.
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