I was given my first diary when I was about 11 years old by my mother. I took to it immediately. Since then, I have written in a diary or a journal almost every single day of my life. The benefits have been unbelievable. I have the ability to think through a complete thought process, talk things out in my head, and I don’t have to bottle up emotions because they all go in my journal.
Utilizing this tool throughout the process I went through as a mother and as a birthmother has enabled me to process emotions that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to process. My journal is a safe place for me, and it was especially crucial that I had a safe place when I felt like I was going through the adoption all by myself.
I highly recommend expressive writing to anyone, especially someone who has been through a traumatic event. If you have never written in a journal before, start by asking yourself a series of questions to prompt a thought process, and then write down everything that comes to mind.
Some questions you can ask yourself are:
- How do I see myself?
- What did I do today and how do I feel about it?
- What emotions did I experience today and why do I think that I experienced them?
- What was the best part of my day and why?
- What was the worst part of my day and why?
- What are my goals? What objectives do I need to set in order to reach those goals?
It’s very typical in therapy for a therapist to ask you, “And how does that make you feel?” So, if they are doing it to help us, why can’t we do it to help ourselves?
Another tip I have for journaling is to read meditation books, whether religious or not, and write about what you think about the meditation that you just read. Some questions you can ask yourself about a meditation or positive affirmation are:
- How does that make me feel?
- What does it make me think of?
- How can I apply it to my day?
- What have I applied what I read to recently?
I could go on and on, but for those who are new, the above suggestions are a great start.
So what have the benefits been for me in the long-run from journaling? Here are some of the ways my creative expression has paid off:
- I can go back and read what I wrote when I was in pain and realize how truly far that I have come. I felt like my soul was ripped out of my body, and I know this because not only do I remember the feeling, but I also have it documented. I no longer feel like I can’t bear the pain. I have done so much work on my healing through using creative expression that now I just miss him from time to time. I get lonely, just like everybody does and I’ll think of him.
- I turned my diary into a book from when I had him and was going through the adoption process. The book is in the process of being published. My goal in sharing my journal and diary is to help other birth moms to heal, just as is the hope in writing in this blog.
- I now have the opportunity to put my thoughts out in the public view. Writing has become second nature to me, and I can use this skill to reach out to others and help them in their healing process.
For those who have been active in keeping a journal, I’m sure that you have received great benefits from it, just as I have.
I would love to hear about others’ experiences in journaling, as I have never heard of a bad experience in creative expression. If writing in a journal isn’t your thing, find another creative outlet to express yourself. We have to work through the feelings if we want them resolved, so let’s put pen to paper and start processing!
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.