December 14, 2018
Have you considered writing out your birth story?
Baby comes, and you realize there is no pause button on life. You’ve experienced this powerful, life-changing event, but life keeps moving. Let’s be real. It’s hard to even find time to shower or eat a snack, much less sit down to write beautiful prose about your baby’s birth. That is something other women do, women who are talented writers and story-tellers, who don’t fall asleep sitting in rocking chairs, pinned under a precious sleeping baby. Right?
I want to tell you that you don’t have to be an exceptionally creative or skilled writer, or even use proper grammar to write your birth story. No one will be grading it. You don’t even have to show it to anyone. Whether you had a picture-perfect birth or nothing at all went as expected, I want to tell you that there is value in recording your story.
As intense as birth can be, it’s like any other memory: the more time that passes between the birth of your baby and writing your experience down, the hazier the details become. Maybe everything happened so fast, it’s all a blur and getting it on paper would help you solidify the details. Or you might not want to lose one drop of the exhilaration you felt when your fresh new baby was placed on your chest. It seems obvious, but the number one reason to write your birth story is so you will remember it!
Even if your birth didn’t unfold as you dreamt and planned it would, writing down your story can help you process what happened and come to terms with your experience. Recording a timeline of events can provide clarity and order to what otherwise seems like a cluttered mess of emotions and half-remembered events. If you suffered any sort of birth trauma or are grieving over a less-than-ideal experience, writing your story can help you reclaim your birth, making it your own and helping you heal and move forward.
If the birth you’ve just experienced isn’t going to be your last, writing down the details can totally benefit a future you! Every pregnancy and labor is different, but you can for sure analyze what worked well for you and what you would maybe change if you had to do it again. Reflecting on your birth can help you anticipate the kind of support you might need in a future birth and postpartum period.
How awesome would it be to be able to someday share a written account of your child’s birth with them when they are older? Writing your birth story can be a powerful way to share a piece of your child’s history with them, describing the emotions you were feeling when they entered the world.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely cried happy tears for another mama as I read through her birth story. Many pregnant mamas seek out these stories of courage and intensity leading up to their own big day, imagining all the possible challenges and joys they might soon face. If you are comfortable, consider sharing your birth story in your circle of moms or beyond. Who knows if your words might encourage another mama out there facing an unexpected c-section or going into her first VBAC? It’s a great way to connect mothers and build community.
So where do you start? Use these steps to write your birth story!
The simple answer is: any way you want! Here are some ideas, and you can choose a method that resonates with you!
It’s okay to start in the middle of the story or at some point that is maybe replaying over and over in your mind. Write down something profound you remember your midwife said, or how you felt while pushing. The point is to just start somewhere. Getting started like this can open the floodgates for the rest of the story to flow. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Your account may be raw and unpolished. That’s okay…this is for you. Give yourself permission to write unguardedly.
If you intend to share the story with your child at some point, this can be a great idea. Having an “audience” can really give your story purpose if you are having trouble getting started.
A quick Google search of “birth story will bring up many templates with writing prompts. By the time you go through and answer all the questions, your birth story has practically written itself!
Okay so this isn’t exactly writing your birth story, but if you’re struggling to find time to put pen to paper or are still intimidated by the task, you could always just record your story out loud as if you were talking to a friend! You could even bust out your phone to record your voice as you tell your baby their own birth story during feeding sessions. Write it out from the recording later when you have time.
So if you haven’t written your birth story yet–even if your tiny baby has already grown into a sassy toddler and you’re working on number two–take some time and just do it. All you need is a warm beverage, a pen and notebook (or keyboard), and a few quiet moments to preserve the memory of one of the biggest days of your life.
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