Nine months of pregnancy seems an eternity when you get that little pink positive on the test stick. In this day and age, we no longer have to wait until we start having symptoms of pregnancy, which can start as late as 8 or 10 weeks for some. Instead, we have pregnancy tests that will determine a positive just days after conception. This can make the pregnancy journey seem even longer! While you are growing, suffering morning sickness and anxiously awaiting the new addition to the family, here are a few ways to memorialize your pregnancy; both for yourself and to pass along to the child in the future.
If you don't already, now is a great time to take up journaling. A hardback journal to write would give you the option of writing any time, while eating breakfast, in bed, or a waiting room. Picking out the book could be special in itself, as you will be picking something that touches you. If your penmanship is not something you particularly want to share, journaling online offers a wide variety of options. Generally called "blogging", a weblog has been a popular method of writing thoughts, opinions and sharing knowledge with others. There are many blog communities, each offering different perks. Some provide private post options, so your posts are viewable to those you allow. Some allow categories, giving you the option of writing about things other than just your pregnancy. Others still are aimed just at moms or pregnant moms. Take a look around and find one that has a good feel for you.
Pregnant Belly, Say Cheese
Take monthly pregnant belly pictures. Start at the beginning, or as soon as you are able. There may not be much of a baby belly at 8 weeks along, but when you have a whole pregnancy worth of belly shots, you'll have fun looking at where you started and where you ended! Some tips for taking monthly belly pictures: Be consistent. Stand the same way, by the same wall or door (or similar). Wear similar clothing (like a pair of sweatpants that you can wear almost throughout). Show bare belly, or wear a shirt - or do one of each every time. The more consistent you are, the more obvious the pregnancy changes when looking back.
You've got the digital camera taking your pregnant belly pictures, but a professional photographer will make some beautiful pictures for your baby belly book. Consider including siblings, if any, your partner, and take pregnancy pictures that aren't so "traditional". Strip down and wrap up in a white robe, or gauze - with a dark background, this is beautiful. Siblings touching or kissing baby belly makes for a touching moment. And your partner's hands on your belly, speak love. Of course, studio pictures are best towards the end of pregnancy, but don't wait too long either!
Some studios specialize in pregnancy and newborn pictures - check your phone book or ask around.
Belly Cast It
Belly Cast, or Belly Mask, has become a popular method of preserving pregnant bellies. Belly Cast kits are inexpensive and easy to find, particularly online. They are easy to do, but don't try to do a belly cast yourself! You will need another set of hand and sometimes an extra set is helpful. No baby belly inhibitions? Make a party of it! Invite your girlfriends over for some messy fun. In the end, you have a plaster cast of your belly to decorate, hang on the wall or sit on a shelf.
Women are becoming more willing to bare their pregnant bellies. Decorating your baby belly is a fun way to show it off. Wear it around the house, or out in public. Make a party of it, or do it yourself. But don't forget to take pictures!
Semi-permanent belly decoration - Henna is a type of skin dye that will essentially "stain" the skin, a nonpermanent tattoo. Women have been using henna for years and years. Henna kits are widely available. A simple design or something elaborate - it's all up to you! Do be careful in the sun with a henna baby belly. Your skin may tan and when the henna wears off in a week or more, you may end up with a reversed belly tattoo. Paint it and wash it - Skin-safe paints are a great just for fun project to do with siblings. Get into some comfy clothes, get a glass of water, juice or your pregnancy tea and sit back. Let the kids paint. Don't forget to Take Pictures!
Whew! The pregnancy is over, or close to it. Grab your favorite maternity top, your sewing machine, and some good stuffing. Sew that shirt into a pillow; square, round, or just sew up all the openings and leave it full size! This is a great memento to pass along to the baby. Do it for each pregnancy and each child will have their very own "moms favorite maternity shirt pillow".
Regardless of how much you do to memorialize your pregnancy, enjoy as much of it as you can. Those nine months, though they seem long while you are counting the days, when looking back, it's just a snippet in time.