Monday, September 25, 2006

Tracking the Pregnancy

By Brandi M. Seals

Being pregnant is a rare for most of us. Women typically have one or two pregnancies. With all the attention given to the upcoming birth, it can be easy to not even capture the pregnancy in photos, scrapbooks or other ways of documenting the experience. But more and more, women are taking the opportunity to photograph them to add to the timeline of their child.

A pregnant belly was something to hide or keep covered in the past. Maternity clothes were not as easy to find or as attractive. Maybe that is why pregnant women have long seemed to avoid the camera. I have seen hundreds of photos of my mom but none are of her pregnant with me or my sister. I know there are several people out there like me who have never seen a photo of their mom pregnant. We know the moms had to be pregnant at some point, but it is like it was kept hidden for some reason. It almost seems as if the pregnancy never occurred, the babies were merely dropped off.

Now it seems that pregnancy is being embraced. There is more maternity wear available then ever before. Women are not hiding; they are showing off the baby bump. In conjunction with that movement, more women are opting to get the belly photographed. Some go to professional photographers, others are merely looking to document the changes their bodies are going through each month.

For years women have been documenting the development of their children. They fill out baby books that detail when teeth were lost, when the child first learned to smile. Anything and everything you would want to know about a child’s development is logged into these books. Those that do not use baby books still typically keep track of their child through photographs. I know women that have their baby photographed every month during the 1st year of life. I know others that do not do any of this, but they do have a stockpile of photos of their child. Many plan to create photo albums or scrapbooks.

As a twist to this plan, why not start documenting the first month you know you are pregnant. Track the pregnancy. Did you have lots of morning sickness? Did you crave crazy foods? Your child will get a kick out of it when you are able to remember that you loved super spicy hot wings while pregnant with him, especially if you cannot stand them now.

Keep a journal. Detail anything you notice that changes during the pregnancy. Are you suddenly hot at night but cold during the day? Do you have a new affinity for peanut butter and celery? Whatever it is, note it.

When your child is older, you could pass along the journal or do something a bit more creative. Use it to make a scrapbook of the pregnancy and the early months after the birth. In it, include photos and notes. Try to line up the notes with the correct pregnancy photo. For example, if you were always feeling tired in the 6th month of pregnancy; note that on the same page as the photo of you being 6 months along. It is a great visual that your child will always appreciate.

The length of the scrapbook will depend largely on how many photos and memories you have. When making it, be sure to include a few pages on the arrival of the baby. I am sure you will have photos of that along with several memories.

Be sure to continue documenting your child's life. After a certain age, it seems as if kids fall of the documenting radar. Sure they still get their photo taken for school, but all other photos seem to stop or become far less frequent. Several of my friends and I have no pictures during a few years of our childhood. Sometime around age 10 the photos pretty much stop. There is one here and their but they do not become regular again until I turned 16.

Try not to cut out large chunks like this. Everyone enjoys looking back on themselves to see how they have changed or what they used to look like. So keep the camera out and do not be afraid to snap too many shots. In fact, there are often not enough.

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