Creating a birth journal is personal and meaningful. More than a photo album, a birth journal will prepare you for and document one of the most important and personal events of your life. Here is how to make your own special journal.
1. Make it personal. Choose a 3-ring binder with paper of your choice, a scrap book, photo album, or simply a notebook – whatever reflects your personality and feels comfortable to you.
2. Before your baby’s birth, write your dreams and aspirations in the birth journal. Also include specific plans for the upcoming birth – when you are in labor, it is not easy to think straight and remember all those details that make up your ideal birth plan. Be specific, such as:
-Where you want the birth to take place. If it is a homebirth, note rooms or areas of the house. If you are going to the hospital, note at what point during the labor you plan to go there. Some women like to go to the hospital at the first contraction; others prefer to wait until labor has progressed.
-What medical interventions you do or do not want. Make sure others know this, too, so they can speak for you when you are busy in labor.
-Whom you want present at the birth.
-How you want your newborn to be treated. Be specific once again – do you want to hold the baby immediately? Are you comfortable with the hospital giving immunizations shortly after birth? Do you want the baby to be given artificial nipples such as pacifiers or bottles?
3. Ask your midwife, doula, hospital nurse, spouse, or whomever is close by you during labor and birth to write down how things progress. Then put this piece of writing into your birth journal.
4. If there are pictures, put those in your birth journal, too.
5. Write your own impression and description of the labor and birth experience.
6. When you write your impressions, include your thoughts and dreams about your baby’s future.