Journaling in Pregnancy

Start with a Dedication
-- Write a letter to your baby. Tell her about yourself and describe your aspirations for her. Some mothers compose a prayer or a poem.

-- Draw a picture. Even though you may not be a great artist, you could depict your new shape, your house, your family or your pet. Make up a coat of arms, or draw a picture of a special place.

-- Place some photos of family or friends in your journal. Write a few words or several pages about family members who have died. Tell your baby how they influenced your life.

Describe Your First Reactions
-- Where were you when you first suspected you might be pregnant?
-- What was your first thought as the test turned positive?
-- Who did you tell first?
-- How did you tell your partner '- and what was his reaction?
-- What did your other kids say when they heard the news?
-- How did the news affect your relationship with your mother? Your best friend?

Write about Your Pregnancy Rituals
-- What habits did you develop during your pregnancy?
-- What kind of exercise routine did you follow?
-- Did you adopt a new, healthy diet?
-- What books did you read?
-- Write about the pregnancy myths that you love (or hate!).

Relive Your Emotions
-- Write how you felt ... as you felt your baby move;
-- When you heard the fetal heart tones for the first time;
-- During an ultrasound;
-- When labor began.

Track your medical visits
-- What tests have you had? What were the results (e.g., blood type and Rh, genetic testing)?
-- Record the height of your growing uterus, your weight, hemoglobin and baby's heart rate. These stats can be fun, and they may also provide valuable information in a subsequent pregnancy.
-- Write about any complications you've had. If you started out with an idealized image of pregnancy, writing is a great way to cope with unexpected twists and turns. Describe any coping skills that might have been particularly useful.

At some point, you may decide to give your journal to your child, or read portions of it to her. (Don't be surprised if she's not enthralled with your maternal musings!) You might want to share your journal with your partner, family members or friends '- or you might want to keep it confidential. It's your decision. Happy journaling!

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