Why This Mom Started Journaling—And Why You Should, Too


February 28, 2019

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In the middle of our first night home with our newborn daughter, after a 3-day hospital stay post emergency C-section, I found myself standing in the doorway of her nursery, holding her against my chest, sobbing uncontrollably, overwhelmed, so in love … and peeing.

“I’m peeing and I can’t stop!” I sobbed to my husband, as he deliriously joined me in the hallway of our quaint apartment.

“Go to the bathroom!” he promptly encouraged, while still stunned.

“It’s too late!” I exclaimed. “But, I think the hospital pad caught it all.”

This was my grand march into motherhood. Raw, real, and completely unpredictable. It was nothing to laugh about at the time, but now we chuckle over the beginning of my motherhood narrative.

After weeks of multiple middle of the night wakings and feedings, our nights were still full, but a little less eventful than our first one. However, we were now deep into sleep deprivation. I would pace around our tiny living room to the glow of the kitchen nightlight, in an effort to sway her back to sleep post-feed. As I did, I would often catch glimpses of two wide awake eyes staring back at me.

But at the same time that I was desperately praying for sleep to come, I would find myself taking deep mental notes of these sweet, fleeting moments together.

I thought about how there are so many times like this … times when I’m so filled with joy on this motherhood journey and yet so exhausted too. Part of me wished that I’d been writing down these moments down more but I never felt like there was a “minute” to do so…was I going to wish I’d made the time to do that more?

Then I remembered a piece of advice someone had shared with me years ago: giving yourself habitual time and space to process life and all of its events and stresses, slowly, instead of speeding through them, can keep the stress from emerging in an unhealthy way.

I’ve taken these words to heart and found that journaling is a secure place to do just that.

The physical act of writing is a way to process the emotions we experience throughout motherhood. Talking to a trusted individual can be an effective method of self-care too, but writing forces us to slow down and savor the words as they are penned onto paper. It’s a physical act of letting go, processing, and preserving.

This isn’t just my experience, but something that has been studied by psychologists. Psychologist Dr. James Pennebaker, for example, reports that journaling has been associated with a decrease in depression and anxiety, as well as an increase in positive mood. I think that is something that all moms could benefit from!

There is so much that happens in both the mundane and the extraordinary moments of motherhood. Journaling helps me recognize the growth, refinement, and celebration there is around it.

If you opened my journal, you’d see a letter I scribbled to to my daughter in tears as we were going through another hard sleep trial. You’d see the sweet “this happened today!” moments I share with my husband before bed, along with silly things my daughter does, questions I’m pondering about development, and whatever is challenging me that day.

When it’s out of my mind and preserved on paper, my mama brain has more room to see clearly, feel deeply and more wholly embrace tomorrow’s experience.

So during another night, when I was up feeding my baby at 3AM, I felt inspired to start creating journals specifically for mothers, Called Mama Paper Co. I realized that there are truly so many things that I don’t want to forget in motherhood, and I was (and am!) sure that I’m not the only one!

I wanted to encourage moms raising little ones and to help them record those moments, so one journal specifically, the Pause Mama Journal, helps moms do this easily. I wanted to help moms go all the places—the challenging moments and the joyful ones, too—and leave blank spots for writing anything else that’s on their mind too.

When it’s out of my mind and preserved on paper, my mama brain has more room to see clearly, feel deeply and more wholly embrace tomorrow’s experience.

Whether you’re a journaler or not, I’ve found that committing at least a few minutes a day to jot down a quick memory, frustration, or confession, is a gift to yourself. It clears your mind AND preserves your raw moments in motherhood.

So I encourage you to pick up a pen, mama, and give it a shot. The laughs of those remarkable toddler moments (that you just cannot make up!) are worth remembering—and they just keep getting better. Whatever season you are in, the hindsight is gold.

Comments +

  1. Katie Altergott says:

    You’re a beautiful soul, Claire! I love your words SO much!!


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