Happy Mother's Day!
In honor of the holiday, I thought I would share a project from the days before my daughter Katy was born.
I was teaching 7th grade Language Arts when I got pregnant with Katy, and the school year ended when I was four months along. I had lots of free time before my November due date rolled around to prepare, craft, and "nest"; it was heavenly! One of my more involved projects was this Pregnancy ABC book.
I kept a running list of pregnancy-related words for each letter of the alphabet, and ended up creating a two-page spread for each letter. Spreads were not created all at once; I might journal a bit in the fifth month, and then revisit that spread a couple of months later. I used a big stash of stickers, stencils, and rub-ons throughout.
An example of my journaling for "A":
"Forget morning sickness or nausea. Forget midnight cravings or crazy food aversions. Forget flatulence or fatigue. The most challenging aspect of pregnancy for me has been scheduling ob appointments! Dr. Beshara is booked months ahead in one office, while his calendar is closed at the other!"
My journaling for "B":
"A blooming belly in the front and back aches behind! Even as the seventh month draws to a close, I'm surprised by what I see in the mirror or catch sight of in a window reflection. I often describe myself as a butterball--Michael says, 'Yes, but you're my butterball.' He also told me the other night, 'You make a good baby container!' It doesn't bother me to see this big belly; in fact, it brings me a lot of pleasure. But it's still very strange to see how much my body is capable of changing."
Some of my "G" journaling:
"It's a girl, unless the doctor got it wrong--he said he was 90% sure!--and then my poor baby boy will have a mother with a pregnancy book full of traditional baby girl themes and colors. Oh well!" But thank goodness, he was right!
My "J" journaling:
"When a woman is blissfully unaware, she enters the pregnancy journey assuming that it is the most natural process in the world, and that it should be a basically untroubled stretch from conception to delivery. Our journey has been more complicated than that, as we breathlessly await the arrival of our first child after three pregnancies. I would consider this third pregnancy to have been 'easy', complicated only by our own worries and concerns based on our past experiences. There is no way to resist 'getting your hopes up' where a new baby is concerned, yet how do you protect yourself from potential heartache. The answer, of course, is that you can't--you can only continue to hope and pray and love each opportunity for life that fills you. That's the nature of the journey!"
Some "T" journaling:
"T is for ten months. Excuse me, but didn't we learn in health class that a human pregnancy lasts nine months?! But I'm supposed to remain pregnant for forty weeks, and a month averages four weeks, so doesn't that make...ten months?! And that's really the tip of the iceberg of things 'they' don't tell you about pregnancy when you're young. I have to believe that a clear understanding of 24-hour labors, episiotomies, and 'delivering the placenta' would do wonders for our teen pregnancy stats!"
My "Y" journaling:
"Y is for yoga. I started taking a weekly prenatal yoga class on Wednesday mornings starting at 27 weeks. I go to the YogaLife Institute in Wayne. Classes are tiny--in the largest there were three of us!--so Randi, the instructor, can give us personalized attention both in terms of areas we want to work on and attention to our form. I don't push myself too hard, considering I'm new to yoga in this current state I'm in, but I do challenge myself, and every week I leave feeling great. I feel stretched and relaxed. Here's hoping I can use these reserves during labor!"
This ABC book is a such a great keepsake of my pregnancy. I've got the dates and progress of all of my ultrasounds, a chart of my weight gain, a record of all the tests I went through, zany pregnancy products I discovered in the magazines I was reading, information on the symptoms I was and was not experiencing.
I enjoyed having the time to fully experience every aspect of my pregnancy, and really think about and reflect on them as I put the book together. I sure wouldn't have that luxury during my pregnancy with my second daughter, as my first daughter was only six months old when that pregnancy got underway!
There's no way your brain retains all the details of your pregnancy (as everyone who has been pregnant knows that your brain turns into a sieve!), so this book is a very fun memory-jogger of a truly blessed time of life!