Journaling throughout your pregnancy is a great way to keep a record of your experience, which then becomes a treasured keepsake for you and your child years into the future.
If you subscribe to the BuJo (Bullet Journal) way of life, journaling during pregnancy offers a whole lot more than memory keeping. If you're familiar with Bullet Journal, you're probably well on your way to incorporating your new life as an expectant parent into the open-ended layouts and customized tracking hallmarks of this method. If you're new to or have never heard of a Bullet Journal, this post provides inspiration and ideas to transform your daily journal/planner into a record and tool for guidance, mindfulness, and memories during your pregnancy.
The Bullet Journal isn't so much a "what" as it is a "how." Intended originally as a personal method for organization, focus, and record keeping by creator Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal is a way to track, organize, plan, record, and create ideas, events, thoughts, tasks, milestones, intentions, and more using a customizable blueprint of symbols and structures in a blank journal (grid/dot pages work best, but any journal will work). Clear as mud? The website offers more in-depth explanation and a helpful short video.
How you use your Bullet Journal in pregnancy depends on what kinds of information you want to capture. At the most basic, organizational level, you can use your Bullet Journal to record and plan for:
- Prenatal appointments
- Pregnancy, birth, and baby prep to-dos
- Childbirth classes scheduling
- Doula meetings
- Baby shower
- Massage and chiropractor appointments
- Exercise classes or scheduled workout times
Count down (or up) the weeks of your pregnancy with a visual tracker that shows you how many weeks have passed and how many you have left to go. Be sure to provide space all the way up to 42 weeks! Your pregnancy timeline tracker can be created on one page as an overview using boxes, circles, or just numbers that you fill in or cross out as you go.
Week by Week Pregnancy Tracking
If you want to keep more in depth weekly pregnancy notes, memories, and information, create a week-by-week full or half page spread for each week of your pregnancy. What you include on each week is entirely up to you! Consider jotting down memories, feelings, inspirational words or mantras, belly pics (instant cameras that print mini photos are great for this), prenatal appointment notes, weird dreams, new symptoms or ones that went away, cravings, milestones (like first kicks and hiccups), gratitude notes, and any other tidbits you want to include. You'll be especially thankful for these notes and record keeping if you have future pregnancies -- it's both fun and helpful to be able to compare.
Did you drink enough water today? Did you remember to meditate? How often did you eat veggies this week? What about your prenatal vitamin? Exercise? The seemingly endless recommendations for day-to-day health during pregnancy can feel overwhelming. One of the more dynamic features suggested as part of the Bullet Journal flow is a habit tracker. You can set it up weekly or monthly, and the layout can be a simple spreadsheet style grid or a more intricate and eye-catching color-coded circular tracker. Google "habit tracker" and click on images for layout ideas.
Does this scenario sound familiar: In between prenatal appointments, tons of thoughts and questions pop up that you want to discuss with your care provider. Come appointment time, your care provider says, "What questions do you have for me?" You tell her: nothing. Because exactly nothing comes to mind. Until you get home.
Avoid this all-too-common problem by jotting down questions and thoughts about your pregnancy and birth in the same spot every time something pops into your head. Include a checkbox and/or space for an answer if it makes sense to you. Bring your journal to your appointments, and voila! Questions remembered and answered.
Baby Names Page
For some people, choosing a baby's name can be a long process. Dedicate a page or two to the inevitable brainstorming that happens around naming. Include comments about your preferences and your partner's, as well as name meanings and family significance. Don't forget middle names!
Reserve a spot in your journal for recording baby gifts. Include the giver's name, the item, date received, if it needs to be returned or exchanged, and if you sent a thank-you note.
Keeping track of what you have and what you need for baby can be chaotic. Do your research and make a two-page spread of your needed items. Divide it into must-haves and nice-to-haves, if you like. Then, mark off when you have the item you need. Truthfully, babies need much less than stores would have you believe, and you will quickly get it all sorted out once baby arrives, but it does help to get organized in advance, even if it's purely for the sense of calm that feeling organized can give you.
Prenatal Appointment Tracking/Records
If you're a numbers kind of person, or if you need to keep close tabs on a medical condition, it may help to keep a log of the information you receive at each prenatal appointment, including weight, blood pressure, fundal measurement, etc. Be sure to record the date, the provider (and nurse, if applicable) you saw, and a space for additional notes.
Your Bullet Journal is also a great place to record kick counts in the third trimester. Record them in a list style or calendar format.
BuJo for Baby
Your Bullet Journal journey doesn't have to end with pregnancy! Use it for recording and tracking all things baby, parenting, breastfeeding, postpartum care, and beyond! Use Google search for ideas and inspiration, or whatever your brain can conjure up -- the possibilities for recording, tracking, and memorializing with this kind of open-ended organic journaling are endless!