Frustration, depression, rage, and pockets of joy: A diary of one woman’s first 30 days of motherhood

We asked a first-time mom to record her thoughts, feelings and actions during the early days of her newborn’s life

This article is part of the Lily Lines newsletter. You can sign up here to get it delivered twice a week to your inbox.  Illustrations by Ross May.


After months of pregnancy and hours of labor, what does the first 30 days of motherhood look like? Beyond diapers and sleep deprivation, the answer hinges on the individual parent (and newborn). We asked first-time mom Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, a Boston-area artist who paints, creates quilts and collages, and works with mixed media, to record her daily thoughts, feelings and actions during the first month of her son’s life (he was born in late 2019). Below, you’ll find Balzer’s motherhood diary.


What nobody talks about is the loneliness of early motherhood. This journal was a lifesaver. It allowed me to express and process my frustration, depression and rage. I jotted daily notes in my phone, often while breast-feeding or pumping.

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