by Jennifer Shakeel
One of the most exciting times in a woman’s life is becoming a mom. You might be inclined to document your pregnancy, especially if this is your first. This can lead many women to question what is the best way to do this. The answer really is going to depend on you. If you are the artsy type you might enjoy putting together a scrapbook. If you don’t have the time or desire to create something that elaborate, then journaling and writing your thoughts in a diary may be more your style. Or you may decide to do both!
Keep in mind that your pregnancy journal/scrapbook is different then the baby book. This is going to be all about you. Depending on when in your pregnancy you are starting this project will really depend on how detailed your book will be. For example if you are starting this as soon as you found out you were pregnant you can include a picture of yourself before the belly started, maybe even a copy of the pregnancy test or test results. Myself, I prefer to journal, but I am going to give you six quick tips on how to create your perfect pregnancy memento.
First Tip: Start Sooner Rather then Later.
All of us like to believe that we will never forget anything about our pregnancy, especially if it is the first one. However, take it from me you are more likely to remember big moments and forget all the small important ones. For example you will probably remember the first day of your last period, and you will probably remember how you found out you were pregnant, but the date will be a little hazy. If you want to remember everything about that day then write it down as soon as possible. You will be surprised what even a couple of months will do to your memory.
Second Tip: Take Pictures
Whether you are scrapbooking or journaling, pictures will help trigger memories and they will help say what you just can’t find the words for. For example the day you buy your first baby item, my husband and I cried even for our third one, sometimes putting that into words takes away from the moment. A picture with a quick caption though says it all without ruining it.
Third Tip: Be Honest
I myself laugh at this tip, but really it’s a good one. You have to remember that you are really creating this book for you and maybe one day when your child is completely grown and getting ready to have their first child you will give this book to them, so be honest. Morning sickness… is no fun. Gaining weight… no fun either. There will be days when you question why in the world you decided to do this, and trust me you will get a quick reminder but it is all worth documenting. You will laugh when you look back and read it and your child will appreciate that all the doubts and questions and feelings they are having you had.
Fourth Tip: Include All the Info
Write down the first symptoms you experienced and when. What you did to get rid of them. Measure yourself to keep track of how you are growing. The first time you felt baby move. Keep track of doctor visits and what you learned or heard or saw at those visits.
Fifth Tip: Put the Ultrasound Pictures In
Depending on your situation you could end up with more then one ultrasound, for my third pregnancy I have had 7. Take those pics and document babies growth inside you. It is fun to look back at those once baby is out. The first page in both of my children’s photo album is dedicated to their ultrasound picture, just as it will be with the third one.
Sixth Tip: Capture the Baby Shower
One of the biggest deals of a pregnancy is the Baby Shower. Make sure that you keep a copy of the invite, the guest lists, games played, food, gifts, how you felt during the baby shower. Sometimes when you are pregnant those hormones kick in and you will find that silly things make you very emotional. Write about it, include it in your scrapbook or journal.
This is your pregnancy, it is important that you keep track of it however you want. It doesn’t matter if it is a scrapbook, a diary, or a journal the purpose is just to help you remember what it was like. You will find that there are going to be tough days as a new mom, when you really will wonder why you did this, when you are frustrated, when you are down… it may take a couple years and when you start thinking about whether or not you will have another baby. In all of these situations being able to get out that journal or scrapbook and remember how beautiful being pregnant was.
I guess it was Erma Bombeck that said it best when you found out that she was dying from cancer. She made a list of what she would do if she had the chance to live her life over what she would change. One of those things in life that she would like to live over and change the way she lived through it, it was being pregnant.
This is what she had to say, “Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!