The 10 untold benefits of keeping a pregnancy journal
Journaling is becoming more and more common. Therapists and mental health practitioners advocate for forming a daily journaling habit, as writing down your thoughts has the power to untangle them in your mind. Also, reading your thought process laid out in a blank page might be very helpful when dealing with personal struggles.
Journaling can be as simple as keeping the memories of a good day alive or to vent about a bad one. We often think of journals kept by teenagers, writing about their latest crush and their next sleepover, but what if I told you there are many untold benefits of the journaling practice when going through a pregnancy?
Being able to reflect on your thoughts and experiences throughout a magical, but tough time of your life is important. From helping you deal with your body changes, to being a useful tool picking a baby name, journaling your day to day has many important benefits, read on to find out what they are.
Outlet of emotions
As mentioned, journaling is notorious for its therapeutic benefits in letting out those bottled-up emotions. Pregnancy is no easy time, hormones and lifestyle changes may make your mood change quickly and unexpectedly. Most of the time we look for our partners to vent our frustrations to, but sometimes we may not be able to do that. If you don’t have a partner, or they’re not as emotionally available as you would like them to be, journaling can be a saving grace. Often times, tensions between couples arise during pregnancy due to a partner not understanding the frustrations and worries of the other. Venting your emotions and mood swings on the paper page before voicing them may be a very good way to maintain healthy communication boundaries, plus your journal doesn’t have a schedule so you can pick it up whenever you please!
Keeping a journal may not only be helpful in venting those feelings but also keeping track of them, potentially figuring out what your triggers are, and helping to better understand your own psyche. Becoming a new parent is challenging for obvious reasons, but sometimes the stark change in lifestyle can lead to more serious problems. Some women find that after giving birth they’re not experiencing those feelings of sheer joy and happiness they thought they would.
Emily Garcia, a psychology writer at Writinity and Research Papers UK tells us- “Post-partum can be a challenging time if you’re struggling to bond with your baby or are experiencing emotions you didn’t expect, so keeping a journal could help you deal with the difficulties of adapting and identifying potentially important information to spot possible symptoms of post-partum depression.”
Tracking your progress
Jotting down your pregnancy accomplishments throughout your first, second and third trimester can be a very rewarding activity, more so to look back on it! Sometimes, writing about the simplest achievements in your day, like getting over morning sickness or managing your cravings can be an incredibly therapeutic and wholesome way to go about your day and feel truly accomplished! Pregnancy can feel overwhelming at times, and no matter how much you vent to our friends and family, you may not find the relief you’re looking for. Journaling may provide you with that outlet as you’re free to write pages and pages and pages endlessly about your worries and concerns. Reading back on them a few days or weeks later may also help you to find solutions or even laugh about why you were so worried!
Let’s be honest, having a baby is probably the most stressful thing your body will ever do, baby brain is a completely real phenomenon! Being more forgetful or experiencing confusion can become quite a common thing for you as you go along your pregnancy.
Keeping a journal may be a good way to jot down reminders, ask yourself questions and straight up remind yourself of that dentist appointment you’ve already missed twice! In all seriousness, experiencing forgetfulness often can become quite draining and frustrating. It can go anywhere from misplacing your car keys or phone to forgetting why you came into a room or getting a mind blank in the middle of a sentence.
If these things keep happening, you may start to feel increasingly frustrated with yourself and it can lead to negative emotions that could affect your pregnancy long term. Journaling is a fantastic tool to keep a grip on your day to day and seek reminders when you need them, so you avoid those frustrating situations that may get you down in the long run!
Every pregnancy is different, and in the future, if you decided to have a second child it would be very handy to have a pregnancy guide for you written by you! You can reference what’s different about the second (or third) pregnancy, what’s similar, and compare how you’re feeling now to how you felt back then. Also, you may get handy clues on when certain symptoms may start and when they may finally go away, referencing your previous pregnancy. If you’re going through your second pregnancy and you didn’t keep a journal throughout your first, it may be a good preparation for a potential third child, but also a good reflecting experience on how it may have been beneficial to have a journal on your first one (or not, journaling isn’t necessarily for everyone), but knowing this will be useful to better equip yourself for the future!
A time capsule
We’ve all seen those wholesome Instagram time capsule videos, and we’ve all wished we’d done the same at some point in our teenage years. Well, keeping a pregnancy journal is a little bit like burying a time capsule. You can look back on it ten or twenty years later and look at what your hopes and dreams were for your child, what your fears were, how the pregnancy made you feel… all of it! It can also be very fun and endearing for your child to read when they’re older, it’s like looking at a photo album but better!
Speaking of bonding, pregnancy journaling can help you strengthen your bond with your child before they’re even born. Why is this? Becoming more aware of your feelings and being more in touch with yourself during your pregnancy usually leads to a strengthened bond, as you imagine what they’ll look like, what sort of things they’ll enjoy doing, will they be a quiet or a crabby baby? Journaling is truly your first step into full blown motherhood!
Sitting back with your children after they’ve grown up and reading through your pregnancy journal can be a huge boding experience for them, as they read about how they made their mother feel, how excited their parents were to welcome them into the world and look at what expectations became true and which ones turned out to be different. Being honest and upfront with your children about how you felt back then and feel now can cement a fantastic bond between you.
Picking a name
The struggles of picking a name are real! Does your partner like the same names as you? Will you be naming your baby after a relative or a friend? Have you considered any names before knowing your baby’s sex? Journaling about the process of picking a name can be very helpful in actually picking one. One day you may wake up and love the sound of a name, and the next morning read back on it and not love it so much. Journaling can sometimes be very helpful in clearing your mind and sifting through the endless options, to pick the perfect name for your baby!
Breaking the news
Telling your friends and family about your new pregnancy can be quite a stressful time, especially if you’re not too sure how to do it. Journaling the process of revealing your pregnancy to your loved ones can be a huge stress reliever, and it can help you keep track of who you’ve told and who’s still on the list. You can also use your journal as a handy tool to plan for reveal surprises, to write about your family and friend’s reactions and to reminisce in the future about the most exciting time in your life!
If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, it may be a good idea to start journaling about your pre-mum life whilst it’s still fresh in your memory. Having a child means your life will probably flip upside down. Painting a picture of what your life was like before the diapers and baby bottles can be a very good way to get back in touch with yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Jotting down the TV shows you never miss, your favourite club dance songs, your favourite activities, the latest gossip with your friends. All of this can help you remember you’re also a human being with needs, and it may encourage you to take a breather even if you don’t feel like you necessarily need one.
Once again, reading back on your pre-mum life and what expectations you had about your mum life can be an incredibly rewarding and at times, funny read, as you see what things turned out exactly how you expected them to, and which things ended up being completely different!
Your changing body
It’s no secret that pregnancy drastically changes your body from the inside out. Not only does your belly grow for obvious reasons, but other parts of your body may grow or shrink, you may get stretch marks, you may feel pain in areas you haven’t felt pain in before. Pregnancy weight gain despite being a completely normal part of the process can affect many women in a negative way, as they start to feel insecure about their body appearance. It’s important to remind yourself that you’re carrying a new life, and that your body is an incredibly resilient machine, functioning to keep two people alive. Journaling all of these changes and creating mantras and affirmations can help you deal with the insecurities that may arise on your changing body.
Even if you may feel insecure at times, you will also experience an immense sense of pride and joy at seeing the milestones of your pregnancy. Jotting down the accomplishments your body has ran your through can be very empowering.
Recording big moments like your first doctors visit for example how you felt when you heard the baby’s heartbeat can also be a fantastic way to remind yourself of the beauty of pregnancy.
“For future reference, having a record of your physical symptoms can also be an excellent way to manage your next pregnancy, or to spot any potential post-partum complications before they even happen!”
Overall, keeping a journal is beneficial for everyone, but it is especially recommended for pregnant women. The experience of a pregnancy is very varied from women to women. You may find some of your friends or family had incredibly easy pregnancies and they may not understand your frustrations if you’re struggling. On the contrary, you may be worried that if your pregnancy is too easy, you’re not getting “the full experience”. Journaling is the best way to manage all these expectations and emotions without facing questions or judgement.
Getting into the routine of writing may also help you create a feeling of routine as well as easing you into the potential side effects of a pregnancy, making them easier to navigate.
A pregnancy journal isn’t just a notebook for you to vent to, in difficult times it will be a fantastic tool for you to read back on and appreciate how a human life is formed, make you realise your resilience and power within your womanhood and remind you of why it is all worth it in the end! If you’re thinking of starting your own journal, it’s as easy as picking up a cute notebook in your nearest store, finding a pen and get to writing!
Mother of two children Ashley Hasey is a professional writer at Manchester Writing Service and Gum Essays who has been involved in many projects throughout the country. She enjoys traveling reading and attending business training courses.