I’m not sure what made me do it, but as soon as I saw the positive pregnancy test I went to the store to buy a journal. It wasn’t anything fancy. Just a basic journal with lined pages and a colorful cover. That day I made my first entry. It was written not to myself or to a general “Diary” by instead to my son. Of course I didn’t know he would be a boy yet. But I knew I wanted a special keepsake just for him.
What to Write
The short answer: write what you want. There is no right or wrong way to journal to your child. My first entry focused on my feelings and how excited I was to meet my little one. I continued throughout the pregnancy documenting how I felt and what I did. I recorded all of my prenatal visits and any information I learned in those appointments.
After my son was born, I switched gears and focused on documenting him. I included measurements, clothing sizes and milestones. There is also a lot of sappy “I love you” messages throughout the journal.
I wrote quite frequently when I was pregnant and when my son was younger. Now that he’s 8, I still write in the journal but not as often. No matter how often you write, the key thing is that you’re documenting memories. You think you’ll remember all those little details but you don’t.
Sharing the Journal
So far, I haven’t shared the journals with my kids. I envision them being graduation, wedding or first baby gifts. I feel like the kids will appreciate the journals that much more if they get them as adults.
You might decide to share the journal as your child gets old enough to understand. You might share it as you go, or wait until you’re finished to hand over the written work. Share the journal as you see fit, whether it is only with your child or with the whole family.
I love the idea of my handwritten journal to pass on to my kids, but I do worry that something might happen to the journals someday. It also takes longer to write out your memories by hand. If you prefer to type your memories, consider a private blog with access only with a password. Another option is to set up a new email address. Type the journal entries as email messages using that email account. Send the messages back to that account so they stay in the account.
Not pregnant? Don’t have a baby anymore? Don’t worry. Even if your child is older, you can still start documenting memories right now. Grab a journal and start writing.