Babies in Your Family History
By now, you've probably heard lots of family stories about what life was like when you were a baby. But what about when your parents were young — or when their parents were little ones? Are there any family traditions you may be expected to carry on, such as using Grandma's christening gown, or an antique bassinette?
When you share the news about your baby's impending arrival, don't be surprised if your relatives start offering you lots of items long considered to be part of your family's history. Sometimes they'll offer to lend you actual pieces of furniture such as an antique crib or high chair, while other times it could be clothing or perhaps a baby ring that once belonged to your great-grandmother.
Just be sure that any of these family heirlooms is actually safe to use with baby today. In cases where safety cannot be guaranteed, you can still find a way to include such items, even if it's only for decorative purposes.
Keeping Family Stories Alive
Of all traditions to pass from generation to generation, the most powerful are stories. Over the next nine months, many of your closest relatives — and perhaps some you never knew you had — may tell you fascinating details about your baby's heritage, and about the small things that, over many generations in your family, have come to mean so much more. That's a family treasure definitely worth passing on to a new generation.
You may decide to capture these stories in print form by writing them down, or in audio form by creating mp3 files or podcasts, or simply by pasting photos with captions in a scrapbook. Whatever you do, remember that it's your responsibility to keep the stories moving forward into the future — in whatever way best suits you!
When considering which family traditions you most want to honor or keep, don't forget to include some from both sides of your family. If your family is a culturally or religiously blended one, it's important to blend the traditions as well — so try to take at least one from each.
A Place for Family Photos
It's easier than ever to preserve heirloom family portraits for future generations (like the one growing inside you at this moment!). You can even use easy online tools like SnapFish to share photos in a slideshow format — narrated by you! You can even add photos you've taken of other family heirlooms, places of interest, and historic timelines that will add color, interest, and a larger perspective of your family's place in the world over time.
Still, if you prefer a lower-tech option, you can take old photos to a photography studio for restoration. However you decide to preserve the images of your ancestors, remember that these are the faces you'll be looking after baby arrives — you'll want to find as many family resemblances as possible then!