When a woman is pregnant, many people assume that they feel incredibly connected to the growing human inside of them. While this is true for some, it is not the case for all women. Based on the endless amount of articles online providing insight on how to bond with baby in utero, I’d venture to say a lot of women are looking for guidance in this department.
Most articles mention the same ways to connect: talk, sing, and read to baby — oh and don’t forget to rub that belly. These recommendations are great and I did all of them. Well, full disclosure, I tried reading but I felt really silly doing it so I didn’t try it again. Talking and singing were easy since I already do both all the time, much to my husband’s chagrin.
My favorite way to bond with my baby wasn’t found in the recommendations, but was taught to me by my mother – journaling. I started it just ten days after I found out I was pregnant. It has been the most rewarding and fun way for me to bond with him while I was pregnant and continues to be something I really enjoy now.
Growing up, my mom had told my sister and I about “our journals” that she started when she was pregnant with us. She gifted each of us our journals on our twenty first birthdays. I thought it was cool but didn’t feel compelled to read it at the time. I put in a drawer where it stayed…for eight years (Mom, if you’re reading this, sorry!).
Even though I didn’t read it for a long time, I knew it was special and always made sure to keep it in a safe place. One day I was feeling like I needed my mom (funny how that happens when you are becoming a mother yourself), and I pulled out the journal.
I was immediately captivated and reading it has been a very transformative experience. She started it the day she went to the doctor and they confirmed she was pregnant with me. I think many of us wonder how our moms were when they were pregnant with us and how they handled raising us. Her journal to me provides a glimpse into what she experienced.
It’s the strangest thing how we don’t remember the first half of our lives so the memories she has captured on these pages for me is priceless. One entry mentioned how at age eight I sang all the time and I even got in trouble in school for singing during class. Apparently I have been annoying everyone with my serenades my entire life!
As you might imagine, the frequency of her writing decreased over time as life got busier for her as she was working full time and raising two daughters. Some years were skipped and most years were summarized in one page. I didn’t mind the gaps as I am so grateful for everything she did write down.
When I started my journal to my baby, I think subconsciously I thought I was having a girl. I really enjoyed writing to the baby and letting him/her know what was happening and how he/she was developing. Once I found out it was a boy, I stopped writing as much. Part of me thought that a boy won’t want to read what his mom wrote to him when he was growing inside of her. I decided this was a silly thought and this journal isn’t solely for him. It is for both of us. I like to believe I will be raising a kind boy and that one day there will come a time when he will want to read what I have written to him.
Now I write to him monthly (at least) and let him know how beautifully he is progressing. I keep it positive just as my mom did but from time to time will lightly mention less than desirable things like how he isn’t too fond of napping. My mom wrote to me how my sister and I incessantly fought and how she would beg us to stop. She would remind us (although we probably took it as a threat) that one day we would be best friends. Of course, as mothers always are, she was right.
Journaling is a really beautiful way to take time to reflect on what is going on in your life. Everyone says the years fly by and much of them are forgotten. The first months and years of your baby’s life are filled with unforgettable moments and I have found it incredibly rewarding to capture them in my journal. I hope that you can find the same joy in it as well.