Journaling Prompts for New Mothers: Tips for capturing the magic of motherhood in your scrapbook
by Susie Cortright
If there's one story my kids love to hear again and again, it's the story of their birth. But they are interested in more than the birth statistics. They want to know how I felt. They want to know how much their new presence in the world meant to me.
The most meaningful baby albums, scrapbooks, and journals go beyond the details of birth weight and time-of-day to capture the true emotion behind the birth.
Here are some questions to help you remember the details - whether it was yesterday or years ago.
When responding to each of these journaling prompts, don't do so directly on the pages of your scrapbook. Write the answers in a journal or even a piece of scrap paper first, and make sure to keep your pen moving across the page.
Try not to think too hard about what you are writing. Just try to just keep that pen moving - and don't cross out anything. You'll edit your journaling later and choose which details to include on your scrapbook pages. The most powerful words and emotions often aren't the first to flow from your mind.
If you get stuck, write "I remember" and then write the first thing that comes to mind.
Sit with these questions and journal your way to poignant memories and the most sentimental of scrapbooks.
What do you remember about your surroundings at the time of the birth? What was the temperature like? The lighting? Detail the sights and sounds. What small, specific details can you recall that really bring the memories home? For me, it was the cherry Popsicle the nurse wanted me to eat and my husband's coffee, the smell of which made me so nauseous that my nurse made him take it a trashcan clear down the hallway. What was it for you?
What about the process of childbirth did you find surprising? (I know, the answer is "everything!" but try to find some specifics). You'll notice that the more specific the memories you recall, the more poignant they will be to those who shared the experience with you.
Describe the feeling when your baby was first placed in your arms. Think about the experience in terms of a snapshot. Imagine someone had taken a photo, just then. Describe the photo. What one or two details most stick in your mind about the experience?
Who were your first visitors?
What was your first meal after childbirth?
What was it like to feed your baby for the first time? Make a mental snapshot of those first feedings.
What are your memories of your spouse or partner? What feelings washed over you when you were together with the baby for the first time?
Were there any feelings of fear? If so, why?
What advice would you now have for mothers-to-be?
Reflect on how you told distant family members about the baby's birth.
Recall how you felt upon seeing the other members of your family. In what special way did they each bond with the baby?
What was the first song you sang to your baby?
Tell the story of bringing the baby home from the hospital. What was the first thing you remember doing?
Do you remember when you were first all alone with your new baby, in your home? Describe how you felt.
What values do you most wish to pass on to your new baby?
What dreams do you have for him or her?
In what way are you proud of yourself - as a new mother?
How did the instance of becoming a mother change you? How did your worldview change upon becoming a mother?
How did your relationship with your own mother change? Was there a shift in perspective?
Using the above questions as a guide, try to open up and go beyond the surface of the moment. Writing about the birth experience will help you tap the true bliss of your baby's birth. For many of us, this is the most life-changing moment that we will undergo. Make it last for generations.
Susie Cortright is the founder of Momscape.com, where you can find free baby shower ideas as well as free scrapbooking ideas. Visit her site today and get a subscription to her Scrapbooking Ideas newsletter for free: http://www.momscape.com/subscribe.htm