Pregnancy journals are nothing new. It’s been recommended for decades. It helps you mentally and emotionally to connect with your child-to-be. As a father who will not have a life growing inside them, this is very important in my opinion. Babycenter recommends journaling because:
- Take time to reflect. Journaling fosters self-reflection. For example, when you’re pregnant, physical changes and concerns demand a lot of attention. Writing gives you a chance to focus on how you’re feeling emotionally.
- Organize your thoughts. Journaling can help you work through an issue 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.
- Heal from a difficult event. Writing about a traumatic, stressful, or emotional event can help you process and recover from what happened. Try writing your deepest thoughts about the event for 15 to 20 minutes on three to five occasions. If you’re concerned about how you feel, talk to someone close to you, your doctor, or a mental health professional. (Postpartum Support International provides referrals to local resources, such as therapists and support groups.)
And although I encouraged my wife to journal, she is not much of a writer (So she says. I will say that I think she is a fantastic editor).
Needless to say, this left the writing to yours truly. The truth is, I wrote a baby journal during the pregnancy of my 16-year-old and my 17-year-old. So, writing one for this new baby was like jumping back into a comfortable seat.
As a father, we have a unique perspective and one that is very important (I feel) that our children have documented. We are not going through carrying the child, but we are going through the joy of watching it grow in the womb. We are watching the person we love take on changes in her body and evolve from the partner we have known, into the woman that will be the mother of our child. It is a magical (and somewhat harrowing) experience in its own right. And even if you’re not going through a pregnancy (maybe you’re going through an adoption, or foster parent situation, etc.).
I do not envy what my wife has to go through with the pregnancy and I mean it from the bottom of my heart, that I wish I could go through it instead for her sometimes. But, I cannot. The best I can do is make her comfortable, ensure she eats well, takes her vitamins, go to all of her appointments with her, attend all of the classes with her and massage her whenever she needs it. And when that little girl comes into the world, then I can take some of the burdens off of her.
At any rate, these are things that can be shared in the baby journal:
- What is your partner going through?
- What do you observe in the ultrasound photos?
- What are you personally looking forward to with the baby?
- What changes do you foresee occurring in your life?
Here is an example from my current baby journal back in August:
August 16, 2022
We went last week and saw you for the very first time. It was pure magic! It never ceases to amaze me, the first sight of one of my children. I am now more excited than ever to see you. We met the doctor that will deliver you; She was wonderful. She laid out everything for us, all the steps that we would go through up until we would meet you, and everything that your mom would need to get tested for. She also gave your mom the options that she would have for delivery. We really liked the hospital at Brigham and Women’s and feel like we are making a wonderful choice having you there.
During this first ultrasound, we were able to see your little arms, legs, head, and body. You kept trying to swim away from the ultrasound probe. It was pretty funny. You were quite active. We saw your heart beating, and you were covering your face with your arms. It’s hard to believe in only twelve weeks that, you have grown from two little cells into a little tiny person! We are both nervous and looking forward to seeing the results of all the tests. Your mom has started working out again, which I’m glad for. It makes her feel better (and I’m sure makes you happy in your little world).
We go again to see you on the 5th of October, but we’ll be going for another OB appointment in September. Here are our first photos of you:
As you can see, it isn’t crazy or earth-shattering. It’s just thoughts. And this is what the whole journal is.
The point is to have something that you can later give to your child and say “This is what we went through. Maybe it will help you when you have children?” or, maybe it will just be fun for them to hear what it was like as you looked forward to them coming into the world.