While it doesn’t always feel like it in the moment, there is a chance you’ll one day like to look back on your postpartum journey and reminisce on the memories. It’s important to document it all – the good, the hard, and the exhausting.
One mom shares her story
It all started at that 3:30 am feed with my second daughter. She’d been up for two hours, not fussy, just restless, and I was done.
I was scrolling Twitter and Instagram, trying to find some funny or relatable post. Maybe there’d be a mom out there sharing an IG story at 3 am to say that she was in the same boat.
But alas, I came up short.
At that moment, and the many months following, I discovered the lack of shared postpartum stories.
Sure, there was the postpartum-diaper-hospital-bathroom-cellphone-selfie and the words about strength and exhaustion. Maybe there was a post of a mom’s stretch-marked belly.
And though these images were much appreciated, I still didn’t feel seen in them. Not fully. Not like I really needed it at that time.
The reality was, I felt really alone. I wanted to see how other mothers were coping with toddlers and sleep deprivation, and breastfeeding challenges.
And even more than that, I wanted someone to see me, not just me immediately after giving birth, not just my belly.
Me. Doing the daily grind with two little kids. Brushing toddler hair while I breastfed my baby. Loading everyone into the car to attempt storytime for the 3rd time that week.
I wanted someone to see the dark circles under my eyes, the spit up on my shirt, and say, “Wow, you’re working so hard; your babies are so lucky to have you.”
Capturing your postpartum journey
As a photographer and visual storyteller, it was important to me to feel like I could see myself as the center of my story. But I didn’t know how.
As I moved through postpartum and came out of the fog around the time my baby turned a year old, I started talking to other moms about the idea of feeling seen in postpartum.
In the end, it seemed to boil down to two things:
- Moms wanted to tell their postpartum story but didn’t know how
- Moms wanted to see other moms telling their stories but didn’t know where to find them
Maybe you’re a new mama, and you feel this way too. Maybe you’re preparing for postpartum, and you want to know how to feel seen, but you’re not sure what to do.
Well, you’re in luck because here is my game plan for you: document your postpartum story in pictures and words to feel seen. And then, work to recognize yourself at the center of your story.
1. Take a photo a day for a week
Take one photo a week for 6 weeks. Whatever feels doable for you, even if that means you only do it once, but you take a few.
Taking a series of photos may feel daunting, but it will help you see your own progression through postpartum and better tell your postpartum story.
2. Use the self-timer on your phone
Don’t settle for a selfie. Your phone set with the self-timer works just fine for taking these photos, and they can be of anything.
What are you struggling through? What are you celebrating?
Maybe you took a shower, snap a shot of yourself in your towel. Making breakfast? Set the self-timer with your phone on a shelf inside the cabinet. Whatever you’re doing, try to capture the whole scene.
3. Write daily or weekly thoughts and feelings
My favorite prompt for this is, “What does motherhood feel like for you right now?”
Answering this question isn’t the time to hold back.
Make it as raw as possible because these honest thoughts and feelings are the truth of your postpartum story.
This can be done in the notes app on your phone, written in an email to yourself, or in a thoughtfully designed postpartum journal.
Writing your thoughts will be helpful for when you combine your quotes with your photos, which leads me to…
4. Combine quotes and photos to tell your story
There are so many ways you can capture and share your story.
Social media is a great tool for this, but printing a photo book with your quotes through Shutterfly or another photo book printing company can be a great way to save what you’ve documented to look back on later.
No matter how you decide to combine your quotes and photos, the most important part is that you do it to look back at it (and maybe for other people to see it, too).
Final thoughts on documenting your journey
There is power in your postpartum story and your daily life and your thoughts and feelings about it matter.
When we document our story in photos and words, we can feel seen as the center of our story. And when we share it, we can help others feel less alone.