Why and How Expecting Parents Should Keep A Journal

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Pregnancy is a fleeting but wonderful time- you can almost feel the time slipping through your fingers while eagerly counting down the months, weeks, and days until you meet your little bundle of joy. Often, parents find that journaling through their pregnancy is a perfect way to encapsulate the wonderful (and not so wonderful moments)!

There are two main approaches: writing free form- which is jotting down whatever comes to mind, don’t filter, judge, or edit. Instead, be open to what happens spontaneously and to any insights you have. Or prompted writing- using a phrase or question to kick off and guide your writing process.

The real focus is how journaling can best impact your pregnancy journey for the better. Journaling helps with self-reflection and understanding.  When pregnant, your body and self go through a lot of changes almost all at once. Journaling can be a wonderful way to really work through and come to terms with the physical, mental, and emotional changes and what they mean for you and baby. Journaling also helps organize thoughts in a simple and cohesive way and work through issues in private. For example, exploring a problem on paper first can make it easier to talk about something difficult with your partner or another loved one. Journaling can also help you gain perspective on the upcoming change in your life. The days and months tend to blur together when you’re pregnant or a new parent. Journaling preserves how you felt during certain moments in time. Looking back at journal entries can provide perspective and insights as your life changes over time.

We have included some tips below to help you start your pregnancy journal today! It is never too far along in pregnancy to start capturing your memories!

  1. Use old-school materials

Capturing your feelings on paper with a pen engages your brain in a different way than writing with a computer or tapping out notes on your phone. Since you can’t easily edit your words, writing in ink also encourages you to express unfiltered thoughts. Most people find that writing in a journal also elicits more real emotional reactions than on a computer. Then again, whichever you prefer you should go ahead and use!

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Make it doable. Think about a time in the day when it’s easier to fit in five or 10 minutes of writing. If you can’t make that amount of time work every day that is totally fine as well. Journaling is not an activity meant to stress you out- it is meant to be an anxiety reducer along with a joy. Keep a relaxed approach to it!

  1. Be true to yourself

Don’t write beautiful prose or a sentimental poem if your aim is to journal your feelings and nitty gritty emotions. No one else will read your journal if you don’t want them to- go ahead and let it all out!

  1. Stick with it for a week

Like anything new, journaling may feel awkward at first and become easier over time with practice. Commit to trying it for a week before putting it down for good. In addition to being an anxiety reducing hobby, it will be fun for you to look back on it and recall all of the details from your pregnancy when baby is older!

  1. Don’t think!

One of the best tips someone gave me was “don’t think, just write for five minutes straight”. I set an alarm for five minutes and spilled all of my emotions, thoughts, fears, and anxieties onto the page as fast as I could. Afterward, I felt almost cleansed! It may help to set a five to ten minute alarm so you know how long you are writing for. Just let go and write! You will love to look back on this time in your life later on.

Shoshi S.
Shoshi is a graduate from Stern College for Women in New York City. Her areas of interest include policy, non-profit organizations, and administration. During winter 2018, she was a White House intern. Shoshi has also interned at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and at Save the Children in New York. As a millennial, Shoshi brings a young and fresh perspective to the worlds of pregnancy and lactation.

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