Even if you're a reluctant journal keeper, being pregnant offers an opportunity for reflection and creativity that you might not want to miss. Recording your thoughts, feelings and symptoms can heighten your awareness of how magical and challenging it is to grow a human being. As intense as pregnancy is, the tough moments and embarrassing details will fade when the baby arrives, unless you've recorded them. Tracking your experience also can help you feel more in control during this major life transition.
To begin, choose a writing method that you enjoy. Some women select a spiral notebook or a bound journal. Others record their thoughts on a computer. More ambitious writers may wish to create an online pregnancy journal or blog. If you're technologically savvy, you can keep a video journal of your commentaries along with your growing belly.
- Take Your Time. Try to find a quiet time and peaceful space for reflection. Spend a few moments collecting your thoughts and feelings before beginning. Here are prompts to get you started:
- The blue line. How did you find out you were pregnant? How did you feel initially? Whom did you tell first? How did people react to the news?
- Expectations versus reality. Write about what you thought you'd be feeling, physically and emotionally, at each stage of pregnancy, and what your reality is.
- Explore meaning. Giving birth to the next generation causes us to reflect on our own accomplishments and aspirations. How do you interpret the meaning of your life? What goals remain unfulfilled? How can you plan to pursue them?
- Dream on. Pregnancy is a time when many women have vivid dreams. Describe your memorable dreams and offer your thoughts about their significance.
- By the numbers. If you love numbers and lists, pregnancy provides lots of data. Chart which foods make you nauseous, record your baby's growth and keep track of the first thump of your baby's kick. Lists of possible baby names provide endless fodder for discussion.
- Connect with your baby. Focus on your little one, imagining the love that travels through your umbilical cord. Write about how this connection feels, including your hopes and anxieties.
- Visualize labor. Describe how you'd like your labor to progress in the best-case scenario. Also describe how you might feel about an emergency C-section, and include some ways you could imagine making a C-section meaningful.
- Focus on spirituality. For some women, being pregnant evokes a sense of being connected to a more powerful life source. How has pregnancy changed your concept of time and life transitions?
- Interview others. Pregnancy unites you with a community of women who have given birth since time began. Ask friends and family for details about their pregnancy and birth experiences, keeping in mind that every situation is unique. What would they suggest to make the experience better?
- Make a scrapbook. Your journal can also be a scrapbook for ultrasound pictures, photos from the pregnancy, a receipt from an urgent pizza delivery and anything else that tells your story.
Pregnancy may be one of the most wonderful and unique journeys you'll ever go on. Taking the time to create a journal will provide a lasting memento you'll treasure for years to come.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.