With all this time at home, I can’t think of a better time than now to journal or share your birth story! I’ve delivered a couple mamas over the past few months and they had the greatest stories to pass on to their babe when they were older. I encouraged them all to jot down their birth story in a personal journal or a baby journal. For my own babes, I journaled my story in a personal journal, but then I also shared on the blog too (here and here)! More importantly, there is certainly a birth and postpartum amnesia that sets in when it comes to recalling some details of the labor, birth or postpartum period.
Additionally, there is a tidal wave of women rushing to community midwives right now for their pregnancy and birth care. Some of these women were preparing for a natural birth and some of them weren’t. Some of the women are pregnant with their first child and some of them are pregnant with their fifth child. Some of these women went to childbirth classes, read every pregnancy and birth book published, and have been practicing meditation daily. Some of them don’t know their own community resources.
For all of these reasons, women must share their birth stories! There are moments in every woman’s birth where another woman is simultaneously proud, encouraging, crying and smiling for her fellow sister. It is through each moment of birth that we share with another woman that we empower her in her birth. Pregnancy and birth are very different for every.single.woman. But it’s through each difference that we make each other stronger!
Okay, how to write your birth story…
- Make time to write your story. It will probably take you an hour or so. Find a quiet moment of the day to really reflect, grab a cup of tea and your journal and pen.
- Before you put pen to paper, reflect on your birth from start to finish. See where your mind naturally takes you..is the start an office visit? a bag of water breaking? contractions? It’s different for everyone. Note that as your story’s start.
- Let your mind wander all the way to the end. The end is also different for each woman. Some women have very dramatic, event filled postpartum stories. Some are picture perfect. You’ll know where you end is.
- Now start writing. Let the details overflow (that’s where all the good stuff is!). For example, I remember getting in the tub with my second babe, and although I was low risk and intermittent auscultation was appropriate for monitoring, the physician had ordered otherwise. In the throws of labor, I kindly (not so kindly) told the nurse that type of monitoring was “not evidence-based.” Or, with my daughter’s labor, I remember asking my husband to pray for us in our driveway before we drove to the hospital. Those a little moments but they are my favorite. Your birth is the same.
- The people. Remember that nurse that was out of this world? And she brought you two warm blankets instead of one because you were shaking so badly? Or that the hospital orange juice never tasted so good and you would’ve sworn they squeezed the oranges themselves at the nurses station? These are the best parts too. (Hopefully not the worst). Write down who you remember and why! Even if you can’t remember names, you know who they were.
- Lessons. What was the best part of your birth? What would you have changed? Why would you have changed it? If you had different types of providers for deliveries (physicians, midwives, students…), who did you like and why? What lessons would you pass onto your own son or daughter? Or to a niece or nephew? What would you change in a future pregnancy or birth? These questions are endless but you’ll know which ones you want to answer!
- Put your story in a safe place. Put your story in a baby box or a baby book. Make a Shutterfly album or a scrapbook! Where ever you put it, make sure you store a digital copy somewhere as a backup.
- Revisit your birth story. Pregnancy and birth are amazing moments in a woman’s life. It’s so important to go back and read your story and remember what you accomplished. Be proud. Be tearful. Be humbled. Be inspired!
- Share your birth story. As a midwife, I have yet to meet a mama who doesn’t find out my occupation and instantly launch into her pregnancy and birth stories. This is especially true for grandmothers. It’s a fantastic ice breaker. The trend I see though is this: woman aren’t widely sharing their stories. I hear the stories because of the job – but the things I hear are the things that all women need to hear. It’s not necessarily a trend of the same things over and over – it’s the little pieces that make up the whole story!
Are you inspired yet? Has documenting your birth story(ies) been on your to do list since you baby was born?! Now’s the time! Make time today and then treasure your story forever. I made both of my babies a baby book and put their birth stories in the book as well. I hope it’s something they’ll treasure when they are older.
Want to inspire other women? Share your story here at A Midwife Nation. Write your story in a word document or email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include any pictures or videos you want to share!
You never know – you might inspire, educate or empower someone along the way.
Can’t wait to read your stories.
Happy Monday everyone!