Happy and scared. Exhausted and motivated. Excited and anxious. Tired, exhilarated, fearful and hopeful.
Happy and scared. Exhausted and motivated. Excited and anxious. Tired, exhilarated, fearful and hopeful. These are just a few of the words that a new mom may feel in the first weeks after her baby is born.
It doesn’t always get much more consistent in the months following that. Honestly, some moms might even tell you that you continue to feel that wide range emotions for many years after your baby is born. Recording those emotions can make a big difference to sorting them out and making sense of them. That’s where journaling came in for me. Keeping a journal as a new mom helped me to better organize my scattered, exhausted thoughts each day.
Journaling will improve your mental health in many ways, especially as a new mom. I’ll go into three ways below.
3 Benefits of journaling for new moms
1. Getting some mommy down time
As I mentioned above, keeping a journal helped me to organize my thoughts. That’s because I was forced to slow down and think about what I was writing, even if it was only a couple of sentences a day. It was my mommy down time. My me time. Using my journal prompts, I took a little chunk out of each hectic day to answer a single question. My mom time out gave me the chance to breathe and focus on one action rather than worry about five baby-related things.
2. A chance to plan for the future
The “me time” you get from journaling also gives you chance to map out your future as a family. It’s easy to lose sight of yourself as a new mom. You can quickly lose sight of what your hopes and dreams were before you had your baby. That’s why questions like, “What was your biggest dream for your future before you got pregnant?” are included in my Journal Prompts for Moms. Journaling can take you back to pre-mommy you. That’s not to say that she was a better you. It’s just good to go back to her occasionally to remind yourself of those goals that you’d still like to achieve!
3. Being thankful
One of the biggest benefits of journal writing for me as a new mom was that it increased my gratitude. Actually, it reminded me of all the things in my life that I had to be thankful for! Your mommy journal can also become a bit of a baby journal because a lot of what you write could end up being baby related. Whether it’s directly about yourself or about all the newborn cuddles you’re enjoying, you’ll suddenly find that there’s a whole lot more to be grateful for.
How to Journal in a fun way
Whether you’re keeping a mommy journal to deal with anxiety, depression or simple improvement, you’ve got to make sure it’s something you’re looking forward to doing each day. Your “me time” is special. Make it fun! Here are three ways to ensure that you’re looking forward to your daily writing.
1. Include keepsakes and/or photographs
These will help you to mark little milestones that occur in either your life or your baby’s, or both! “Mom brain” is a real thing. You going to forget not just how you felt in some of these early months but also some of the most special moments. It helps to be able to document them by gluing photos and other little keepsakes into the pages of your journal. Add a note to explain what they are and how they make you feel at the time.
2. Use journal prompts
You’re going to pick up your journal to write sometimes and you’re going to be unsure of what’s on your mind. It sounds crazy but it’s true. Early mommy days are a haze. A fog of sleep deprivation. Having a bunch of journal prompts to choose from will give you starting point from which to go all out (if you’ve got enough time and energy to do so!). Find the list of 63 Daily Journal prompts for Moms that I used for my baby’s first year here (FREE & downloadable). I went through all 63 prompts and started all over again. Keeping a mommy journal for anxiety is very helpful as well.
3. Use & create some shorthand
It doesn’t have to be the usual acronyms like “KMT” and “LOL”. You can create your own. Your journal is space to do what you want with. Just make sure to use the backpage of your journal to break down the meanings of your shorthand. This way, when you flip through the journal in ten years, you’ll have a clue what your daily writing about!
Did/do you keep a journal in your baby’s early months/years? What difference did/does journaling make to you as a mom?