Birth is a mystery – mainly because we rarely get to be a part of it. Throughout history, women shared birth by supporting each other through it. Young girls were exposed to birth – it was just another part of life. They knew what to expect and had seen how to cope. When their own labor started, they had at least some notion of what to do. Today, though, we rarely get to see birth. When we do, it’s a sanitized Hollywood version or a caricature of reality with grossly stereotyped actors and actions.
Storytelling has traditionally been the way that knowledge is passed on. And modern researchers suggest it’s because stories help our brains make sense of abstract thoughts and events. Stories help our brain make connections between reality and thought. Stories make us human.
Sharing your own birth story is a way you can help other women prepare for the births of their babies. Your experience will not only aid others in knowing the unknown, but will help you, as well. When you write about your birth experience, you preserve those special memories, you help your children understand where their own story started, and you may even be able to heal yourself if your birth was less than you expected.
Writing your tale doesn’t need to be complicated. You can choose to write longhand in a special journal, or type it all out at a keyboard. You might even use a voice recorder or dictation software if writing isn’t for you.
Start with the physical facts. Jot down everything you can remember. Ask your partner or any other support people who were present if they can remember details you may have forgotten.
Don’t judge your experience. Add emotions – consider how you felt at different times from the first contraction to the weeks following the birth. There’s no right or wrong – only what you know to be true.
Go back after a few days and edit. Add more details as they come to you. This is the opportunity to take your memories and smooth them out into a cohesive story.
Finally, share your story. You might decide to save it for your child’s eyes only. You might share it with family and friends. Or you might share it with a much wider audience by choosing an online resource publishing women’s birth stories.
Every woman has a story to tell – and her story is important to the preservation of women’s ways of knowing. The value of this knowledge connects one generation to the next through the tales we tell our daughters, nieces, friends, family, women we might not even know.
Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.