The Postpartum Journal

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The Postpartum Journal

When I first started thinking of how to structure the journal I kept going back and forth on whether it should be something you write in daily, weekly or even monthly. Depending on where you look the postpartum period is defined as a different length of time. Some consider it six weeks, others forty days but I personally felt that it took me around a year to start to come out of the postpartum mist. I didn't feel like my old self or even a new me, but somewhere in between. I knew I wanted this journal to last much longer than what most people consider 'postpartum.'

Once I settled on making it a year long, I decided that writing daily would be too frequent while monthly was too far apart. Weekly made sense and seemed doable as a mother taking care of a young baby, often enough that you are regularly asking yourself how you are doing but not so frequent you can't find the time.

I immediately began to write down topics and thoughts. Every time something would cross my mind that was relevant to postpartum women and mothers I would add it to ongoing list that I kept. I went back through that list and chose 52 clear cut themes that I wanted to include. It felt like an impossible task, choosing. I could go on for days about the thoughts and feelings we process as mothers, especially in that first year after giving birth. Not only with our first births but all of them. Each birth brings new experiences and with that new feelings.

The first section of the journal is four blank pages for you to write out your birth story. One of the most important experiences you will have. This is a place for you to write out in detail, to look back on, and to help you process your experience. From there the weekly sections begin. Below are the 'themes' for each section in order as they appear in the journal.

1. Welcome to Motherhood
2. Postpartum Pain
3. The Early Weeks
4. Visitors
5. Creating Your Space
6. Rest
7. Feeding Your Baby
8. Early Emotions
9. Nourishment
10. Babywearing
11. Priorities
12. Intimacy
13. Childcare
14. Returning to Work
15. Accepting Help
16. Saying No
17. Your Postpartum Body
18. Clothing
19. Exercise
20. Your Period
21. Lonlieness
22. Community
23. Your 'Person'
24. Bonding With Your Baby
25. Bonding With Your Partner
26. Friendships
27. Family Relationships
28. Sleep
29. Self-Care
30. Guilt
31. Shame
32. Self-Doubt
33. Anger
34. Fear
35. Stress
36. Judgment
37. Expectations
38. Comparison
39. Anxiety
40. Mindfulness
41. Mood Disorders
42. Professional Help
43. Forgiveness
44. Acceptance
45. Flexibility
46. Laughter
47. Unwanted Advice
48. Your Partner
49. Family Rhythm
50. Your New 'Normal'
51. Maintaining Your Identity
52. One Year Postpartum

Each of these sections begins with a passage written by me on the topic for that particular section. My desire was to write something that would be encouraging to read for any mother, to make her feel supported as she absorbed the words on the page and began to reflect on her own thoughts of the week that passed.

I firmly believe that in the world of motherhood there needs to be more support for one another and less judgment. We are all doing our best with what we have, and all of our situations are unique and different. We must remember that. Regardless of the decisions we make about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, to use a pacifier or not, or to use a specific type of diaper, we are all trying our hardest to do right by our children. I hope through this journal and this community that you find yourself feeling less alone.

Together We Mother.