Journalling through Motherhood:a Personal Exploration of the Therapeutic and Empowering Potential of Journalling

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Barber, Tanya
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Western culture continues to present motherhood as a positive, happy, and thankful time for women and their families; ignoring the feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety and shock women may experience in their transition into motherhood, and upon the realisation that the realities of mothering do not always meet our societal and cultural ideals. Based on my autoethnographic research, my thesis will present the therapeutic and empowering potential of using journalling as an added coping mechanism to the diverse stresses and traumas women may experience in the highly gendered role of mothering. Previous studies on journalling have demonstrated that disclosure through personal writing may produce longterm improvements in mood and an overall sense of well-being, as well as allow individuals to create a coherent explanation of their situation, restore self-efficacy, and find meaning to their particular situation. While these studies have examined a broad range of stressful events such as terminal illness, divorce, or job loss, little research has been conducted on applying methods of journalling or expressive writing to the often difficult, ambiguous and stressful transitions of motherhood. My research will therefore illustrate that journalling has the potential to provide women with a space to voice and process their experiences, opinions and feelings of mothering, as well as challenge societal and cultural ideals regarding the institution of motherhood.
Motherhood , Motherhood - Psychological aspects , Diaries , Self-knowledge (theory)