Keeping a journal during pregnancy has many benefits for a mother-to-be and her baby. A journal provides a record of this sacred time that can be treasured for life. Journaling gives you a safe place to express your feelings, set your intentions, express gratitude, and connect with your baby.
It’s never too late to get started. Whether newly pregnant or close to your due date, a journal can benefit a pregnant woman and is a practice that I recommend keeping up throughout your lifetime.
Here are my seven tips for keeping a pregnancy journal.
1. Get a Journal
Choose an attractive notebook or a specially designed pregnancy journal. If you are a visual person you can decorate your journal by drawing or cutting out baby related images. If you’ve had an ultrasound you may want to use the image of the scan on the cover.
2. Decide on a regular time for writing
Decide on a time that works best for you to journal and make it a habit to do your writing at that time every day. If you feel overwhelmed by writing every day, you might choose to write every second day, or once a week. Keep your journal nearby so you can write in it at any time that you feel inspired.
3. Write about your feelings
A journal provides you with a safe place to write about your feelings. You can start your journal by freely expressing what is on your mind. When you take the time to ‘debrief’ about the day’s events, things that you have had in your subconscious mind tend to come to the surface. This is great; it means that your conscious mind can deal with the challenges you are facing. You can make decisions and choices based on what you want, not on what your subconscious mind is in the habit of doing.
4. Record what’s happening in your body
Keeping a record of the changes that your body is going through during pregnancy can help you in many ways. If you have additional pregnancies you can refer to your journal to see what you felt last time around and what you did to alleviate some of your discomforts. It also reminds you that you’ve already survived at least some of the things you’re going through now so you will be reminded of your strength.
Keeping track of what’s happening in your body can give you perspective. We tend to use the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ when in truth, we are not ‘always’ or ‘never’ feeling a certain way. For example, you may feel like you are ‘always’ tired, but your journal may indicate that you feel a burst of energy every day after breakfast. Now that you know this, you can start to schedule things that require more energy during that time period.
5. Express your intentions
Have you taken the time to think about what you would like your pregnancy to be like, or have you just learned what pregnancy is supposed to be like? Chances are you have had many expectations of what pregnancy is like from watching TV, movies, and talking to other women. Our culture tends to focus on the negative aspects of pregnancy. When we expect pregnancy to be miserable, we are setting ourselves up to experience a miserable pregnancy.
Take some time to focus on how you would like to experience your pregnancy. One way to do this is to write positive affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that you write in the present tense, as if you are already experiencing what you would like to have in your life. Always focus on what you do want, not on what you don’t want. For example, if you’re feeling sick and miserable you could affirm “I choose to have a healthy, happy pregnancy.” You should not affirm “I don’t feel sick and miserable” because your subconscious will weed out the ‘don’t’ and will focus on the ‘sick and miserable’. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe your affirmations at first. With repetition and focus, affirmations can help you attain a positive mindset.
Some more examples of affirmations are:
“I am confident, strong, joyful, and at peace during my pregnancy”
“I enjoy being pregnant”
“I exercise in ways that are healthy for me and my baby”
“I have the love and support of my family and friends during this pregnancy”
6. Express your gratitude
Expressing gratitude each day will help focus your mind on the good things in your life. To start with, write down three things you are grateful for. You may be surprised at how many things you are able to list once you focus on the positives. You don’t need to find something significant to be grateful for. It could be as simple as “I am grateful that my favourite pair of maternity pants was clean today”. The more ‘little things’ you give thanks for, the more you will notice the good in your life.
7. Connect with your baby
Writing to your baby is a beautiful way to connect before your baby is born. You can share what you’ve written when your child is old enough to appreciate it. Some ideas for writing to your baby include:
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to keep a journal, so just get started! Taking the time to journal during pregnancy will get you into a good habit of taking time for yourself, which is something that you will value through your pregnancy and into motherhood.
I’ve had excessive anxiety throughout my lifetime so it was no surprise that when I became pregnant for the first time I became very anxious about birthing. I didn’t want to have an epidural and in researching the alternatives I found Hypnobirthing which helped relieve my anxiety around birthing. The course included audio birthing affirmations that I listened to time and again and when it was time to birth my baby I was so calm that the hospital staff thought I had an epidural when I had no pain medications whatsoever.
When I became pregnant with my second child I had recently come through a very difficult time in my life. I had overcome panic attacks and severe anxiety. I was finally feeling great. However, the pregnancy triggered a lot of ‘what if’ questions. I started to get very anxious about the possibility of miscarriage. I had no logical reason to worry about this, but anxiety isn’t usually logical.
I did not want to go back to having severe anxiety and panic attacks and thought affirmations could help. However, the affirmations for birthing didn’t have what I needed. Affirmations for overcoming general fears weren’t what I was after either. I just wanted audio affirmations for pregnancy. I couldn’t find any that were pregnancy specific so I decided to record my own. I also wrote down a few of my favourite affirmations such as “My baby is healthy and strong” and “My baby is developing according to nature’s perfect plan” and I put these along with a few others on a sticky note next to my toilet so I could see them and reinforce them every time I needed to use the toilet (being pregnant this was rather often!).
The affirmations for pregnancy that I developed were very helpful. Once I got over the anxiety that I would miscarry, I used the affirmations to help with my overall mood and energy. I decided to share my affirmations with other women who may be going through what I was going through. I professionally recorded Affirmations for Pregnancy and released them on my website and on iTunes. I sincerely hope that they are helping other women as they helped me.
If you’re new to the concept of affirmations, they are simply thoughts that you are affirming to yourself. They can be negative (as the obsessive thoughts of anxiety often are) or they can be positive. People often don’t realise that the thoughts they are affirming in their minds are very negative. Take some time to listen to your self-talk. If you identify many negative thoughts, take action to make your thinking work for you instead of against you. Some examples of affirmations that are good for pregnancy are:
I have a list of pregnancy affirmations that I share as a free gift when you sign up to the mailing list on my website www.affirmationsforpregnancy.com. You can print it out and put it somewhere you can see it often. You can also can write your own affirmations.
Some tips for writing your own affirmations include:
Affirmations are just one tool that can help with anxiety. You can find more help for prenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression at http://www.postpartum.net/Get-Help.aspx
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