A blog post by Erika Seirup
The act of storytelling is a primal, natural phenomenon for humans. We are cultural beings, and storytelling has been a way for us to pass on traditions and learn from others. It is through storytelling that we gain empathy and connection. There is no time in our lives more vital to share our stories than when we are giving birth. Birth stories weave generations of mothers around the world together with each word and will continue to do so for generations to come.
Preserve the Memories
When we tell our birth story, it tends to make it feel more real. It isn’t as though the birth was make-believe prior to being shared. No, you cannot mistake the power you felt as you pushed your baby down and out. But sharing your story helps bring the experience from a memory that may feel abstract to a solid, concrete moment that seems tangible. As time goes on, your memories of the birth may fade some. They may even change a little. Telling your birth story helps you to remember – as you begin to recall each moment, the details surface and the story unfolds. Telling your story, whether it’s verbal or written, helps to keep those precious memories preserved.
Process Your Experience
Sharing your experience may help you process the birth. Even if your baby’s entry to this world went exactly as planned, you may want to reflect on your experience. If you’ve had a particularly traumatic birth, taking the time to process or grieve can be especially healing. Birth is a major life event! It is important to take time to recognize the incredible power of giving birth and bringing forth life.
Honor All Births
By telling your birth story you are also helping to support and educate others. If we only see childbirth as it’s portrayed in movies and on television, we are left with unrealistic, even fearful, expectations of how birth “should” go. Diverse stories told by mothers from all walks of life help to normalize birth and honor each type of labor and birth outcome.
Your birth story matters. It matters for you, it matters for other mothers, and it matters for your baby. It matters for birth attendants and providers. It matters for your community. Whether your birth went exactly as planned or your experience was different than you’d hoped, your birth story matters. Maybe you’ve shared your story with a friend or two. Perhaps you keep it to yourself. Or maybe you’ve had thousands of views of your birth video on YouTube. Wherever you’re at in your storytelling adventure, we’d love to hear your story.
This blog is a safe space where you can share your birthing experience with others. Your birth is valued and is unique in every way. No birth is the same, and it is through this diversity that we can cultivate a greater understanding of honoring all births and supporting every family.