Welcome back to Part 2 of Low-Maintenance Memory Keeping. If you missed Part 1, you can find it *here*.
Pregnancy is such a magical time. Sure, the backaches and sciatica can be… well, a pain. But still. You’ve got a life growing inside you, ladies. A fresh, vulnerable, brand-new, made-from-scratch life that wasn’t there this time last year… Something like that doesn’t happen every day!
Despite how much I enjoy writing, I’ve never been much of a journal keeper. I think it’s because writing is meant to be read, hopefully by somebody other than myself. So when pregnant, I journal to my child. As a Christian who believes that life starts at conception, this is how I show how I’ve loved them from the very first moment I knew they existed.
When shopping for my first pregnancy journal, I wanted something extremely straight-forward and easy to maintain. Ideally, I wanted to keep the same book for all of my children. I learned from both my mother and mother-in-law’s examples that the firstborn child tends to have a super detailed and dutifully-filled-out baby book, whereas the lastborn (of eight, in my mother-in-law’s case) is lucky to have a baby book at all. If he/she does, the pictures are likely to be un-taped and loose inside with a hurried ‘1st birthday’ label written over top instead of any detailed journaling.
I settled upon the Belly Book by Amy Krouse.
It’s divided into trimester sections, which I thought was kind of fun.
I liked the one-page-per-week layout. It has a spot for belly or ultrasound pictures at the top of each page, but they’re optional. I also appreciated the short, one-line writing prompts instead of the write-your-novel-here blank pages typical of pregnancy journals. I spent about 5 minutes a week on these books, something I can totally see myself maintaining for all my future kids. No excuses there, right?
I also took once-a-month belly pictures (9 total) and cheated by only taking them on Sunday mornings when my hair and makeup was done.
For me, keeping a pregnancy journal changed from just a for-fun, memory-keeping hobby to a life-altering comfort after I miscarried our second child. The nine weeks I was pregnant with him are all there and kept on my shelf alongside the rest of my childrens’.
I tore out the 2nd and 3rd trimester pages shortly after because they made me too sad to see empty, but I still look back at those first recorded months with fondness. Inside is proof that I was a mother again, if only for a few months. Also inside is my one-and-only ultrasound picture where I saw his little heart beating on the screen. Tiny, little, cute little life…
Anyhow, not sharing that to put a dampener on your morning. Instead, it’s to encourage you to treasure (and document!) everything you can, starting from as early on as you can, even if you’re too morning sick to think straight. Tomorrow is never promised, but we can always reflect on and marvel at today’s blessings.
I’ll meet little Aaron (or is it Erin?) again someday, but until then I’ve got these little munchkins to keep my hands busy and my heart full.