The Benefits of a Pregnancy Journal
Preparing for motherhood is often an emotional roller coaster, but expressing your feelings
can ease stress—and in turn, boost your physical resilience and immunity, says psychologist Diane Sanford, Ph.D., co-author of Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide. Documenting this time helps you bond with your baby, allows you to capture fleeting observations about pregnancy and makes for a happier, healthier journey. Once your child is older, sharing these memories can reinforce the special bond you share.
The first step: Decide how you’ll do it. You can use a book to jot down memories and store
mementos (such as your ultrasound printout), or upload everything to a blog, instead. If
staring at a blank page (or screen) is daunting, try sharing the responsibility with your
partner, recording video interviews of each other once a month.
Not sure what to write or talk about? Read on for smart suggestions about which aspects of pregnancy to highlight.
Remember breaking the news.
Describe the scene when you found out you were pregnant. Was it something you were
anticipating, or more of a surprise? How did you tell your partner? Don’t forget to include the best reactions you received from your friends and family when you first shared the exciting news.
Chronicle your changing bodies.
Chart your baby’s development as well as your own. Record big moments during doctor’s
visits, such as how you felt when you first heard your little one’s heartbeat. Discuss your
physical experiences, too—from the odd foods you craved (peanut butter and pickles,
anyone?) to your weirdest symptoms (like drooling all the time!).
Explain how you picked a name.
Discuss how you chose a name for your baby. Was your little one named after a relative or a friend? What were you considering before you found out your child’s gender? Did you and your partner immediately agree on a name or did one of you have to lobby long and hard for the winner?
Express your emotions.
With pregnancy comes a seesaw of moods. Write about the highs—the wonder you felt at
experiencing those first baby kicks—but share the lows, too. Expressing negative emotions can take the edge off them, and may even enable you to laugh at them later (like the time you snapped at your partner for bringing home the wrong ice cream).
Describe your pre-baby life.
Paint a portrait of your life (and your partner’s) before kids—it’s easy to forget once you’re
elbow-deep in dirty burp cloths. List TV shows you never miss, favorite songs and the
activities that keep you busy. Talk about your friends and what you like most about your
career. Detail how you decided that now was the right time to have a baby. As you find
yourself making predictions about what your baby might be like, write them down (they’ll be fun to look back on as your little one’s personality reveals itself).
Write about round-two firsts, too.
If you’ve been through pregnancy before, your second one won’t be any less special. Focus on what makes carrying this baby unique. Perhaps your first child didn’t kick much, but number two is practically turning somersaults in your stomach. Or maybe it took months to start showing with your first, but this time you were sporting a bump within weeks. Also, describe how you told your firstborn the big sibling news.
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