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Journaling as a public service

I walked across the stage to collect my high school diploma a year early and three months pregnant with a sense of pride I had not felt in forever.


Trauma that occurred before had dimmed my light and shattered my self-worth. But in that moment, I was proud. See, I was the first person in my family to graduate high school. I should have been the first to attend college, but life had other plans...


After my first son was born, postpartum depression set in. It crawled into every crevice of my being and took root. For the first few weeks of his life, I didn’t get out of bed except to use the restroom. My partner lovingly washed me in the shower as the shell I had become stood there, mortified but unable to escape the void I had entered.


My mother sat with me in the waiting room as I stared into space, unable to snap myself back into existence. Her hand on mine startled me and brought me back to reality. The nurse had called my name. I mustered my strength and trudged to the room where I would be seen by the doctor, my worried mom trailing behind.


“How are you feeling today, Samantha?” The physician asked.


“Fine,” I muttered, trying to appear normal.


“I think she has postpartum depression,” my mom chimed in.


If looks could kill, my mom would have evaporated into nothingness in the exam room. I was so angry at her betrayal; it was the first time in weeks I had felt any emotion. I seethed as she continued to tell the physician how I wouldn’t leave my room, barely ate, and would do nothing for my son.


The physician continued their routine checkup and asked me if everything she said was true. I nodded shamefully… the second emotion I had felt in weeks.


Then the questions came. “Do you feel like harming yourself? Do you feel like harming your baby?”


My responses were a resounding “No!”


“Well, unfortunately, we don’t have any space available in our postpartum program at the moment. But if you start feeling like you will harm yourself or your baby, call us.”


Shock. The third emotion in weeks. How could a physician acknowledge that I was most certainly going through postpartum depression yet provide no help? At that moment, I decided I had to do the work myself with the support of my family.


To process my emotions… I started journaling.

My pen effortlessly glided across the paper as emotions poured onto the often tear-stained pages. Anger and shame from past trauma shoved into some poorly constructed box I hid inside. Fear and insecurity about being a mom before being an adult. Joy and appreciation for the support I was receiving.


The privacy of the book that held my secrets became a hideout. A place to go and leave all my thoughts between its covers. Words that I wasn’t ready to share with others, but I could no longer keep inside.


My journal became my friend. My shoulder to cry on and the first thing I wanted to do when I experienced something incredible and worth preserving.


On the rough days, I simply looked through my journal, searching for the happy handwriting and the heart or flower doodles that dotted that day’s page. Reading my memories reminded me that no matter how bad things could get, I still had days filled with light.


I eventually stopped journaling. Stopped sharing the inner workings of my brain. I tried a few times to start again, but it never stuck.


Until now.


Now, instead of scrawling my inner thoughts to be consumed by myself alone, I share my thoughts on LinkedIn. I share my stories. My experiences. My dreams.


If journaling could help me get through some desperately dark times, my journaling on social media could help others get through them too.


Want to hear more about Sam’s writing journey? Follow her on LinkedIn.


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2件のコメント


Nathan X Hill
Nathan X Hill
2023年3月24日

LOVE the image of the journal. Such a great story.

いいね!

Nadine Heir
Nadine Heir
2023年3月24日

Just an unbelievable story Sam. You're a gem for sharing it with us!

いいね!
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