How and Why to Write Your Birth Story
Has the thought crossed your mind about writing your own birth story?
You've just had this beautiful baby and you realize that life doesn't have a pause button. You have just gone through the most intense, sacred, and beautiful experience. You delivered a baby, it's life changing isn't it? But, let's be real. You have this little peanut that is depending on you every second of the day and it is hard to find time to take a shower, get something to eat, and brush your teeth...let alone find the time to write your birth story. You're probably sitting there saying to me "Kathleen, when do you think I will have time to do that? I am pinned under my baby on the rocking chair and I haven't even washed my hair today!"
First, I want to say congratulations!!! You did it!!! I don't want you to stress about this! It doesn't have to be a novel or anything that you would read in a magazine (though I would probably read yours). This is your story about YOUR birth, and that means you don't have to worry about proper grammar, be creative, or even skilled. You are not being graded on how well you wrote, heck, you don't even have to show it to anyone... This is not to highlight the "picture perfect" birth. This story is so important whether you you had that birth that went the exact way you planned or nothing went as expected.
I want to tell you that there is much value in recording your story!!
WHY DO YOU WANT TO WRITE YOUR BIRTH STORY?
Birth can be intense, but it's just like any other memory: the more time that passes by and the distance between the birth of your baby and the day that you decide to write down the details of this experience, the haizer they become. Maybe your birth happened so fast, that it truly is a blur and honestly getting it on paper would help keep those memories alive. Maybe you want to make sure to remember that feeling that you had you first laid eyes on your fresh new baby and that baby was placed on your chest. Do you want to remember those feelings forever in detail? It may seem obvious, but the number one reason you want to write your birth story is so you will remember it!!
If your birth didn't go as you dreamt of and planned for, writing down your story can help you process all that happened and come to terms with the experience. Recording a timeline of events can really help provide some clarity in otherwise seems like a clutter of emotions and half=remember events. If you suffered any trauma or grief over a less than perfect ideal experience this can truly bring some sense of reclaiming your birth and making it your own and help heal and forward.
TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
If this birth you experienced isn't going to be your last, writing your story is a great way to plan for you next delivery. Although every birth and delivery is different, this helps you analyze what you feel liked went well and what you could possibly 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 ....or even when you get home during the postpartum period.
FOR YOUR CHILDREN
How cool would it be to be able to someday share a written story of your child's birth with them when they are older? Writing their birth story can be a powerful way to share a piece of your child's history with them. It would describe the emotions you felt when they entered this amazing world and your family!
FOR OTHERS (IF YOU WANT!)
I don't know about you, but I always seem to cry happy tears when I hear about other mamas birth stories. There are so many pregnant mamas that are seeking for stories of women just like you that were strong, courageous, and powerful during such an intense moment leading up "the moment". They are trying imagine all the possible challenges, what are they going to feel when they deliver their baby, and the joys of being a new mother. If you feel comfortable, consider sharing your story with other moms in your circle or even on Mom Groups in your area. You will never know how your words will encourage another mama out there. They also could be facing an unexpected c-section, or trying their first VBAC, or planning a home birth. This is such a great way to connect and create community with mothers around you.
HOW TO WRITE YOUR BIRTH STORY
So where do you start? Use these steps to write your birth story!
1. Start with the facts.
This is the who, what, when and where! Include who was present, the type of birth you had, where you labored, where baby was born, and of course baby’s stats!
Use your medical records for a basic timeline and to document how it went down.
2. Color with details.
Set the scene. What was the weather like? How did labor start? What did you say to your husband as you went through transition? It’s the little details that you’ll treasure in the long run.
Consider the five senses. Did you eat in labor? Were you diffusing any essential oils to set a mood? What else did you see, feel and hear?
Ask your birth support team (husband, doula, mother, friend) for their take. They might remember details that you don’t. They can describe your own strength or the look on your face in your “I did it!” moment better than you would be able to.
3. Add all the feels.
This is where you can process, analyze, and preserve the emotions of the day.
This is a great time to look back on any photos of the birth you might have had. It can stir up the same emotions you felt in labor to help you get them down on paper.
BUT HOW DO I WRITE MY STORY?
Here is the simple answer... any way you want! I will give you some ideas that might help.
From your memory
It is completely ok to start in the middle of the story or somewhere where you have vivid memories of what happened. This could be something profound that a nurse or your midwife said to you, or how you felt when you were pushing. The point of this, is to just start somewhere. When you start this way, the floodgates start to open and the rest of the story will come. Again, like I said earlier, it doesn't have to be perfect. This is meant to be raw and unpolished. This is for you.
Give yourself permission to write unguardedly
A letter to your baby
If you plan to share the story of their birth with your child at some point, this would be a great idea. Sometimes when you are writing to someone, it really can give the story purpose if you are struggling to getting started.
Did you know you can find anything on Google??? Yes, even birth story will pop up in the google search bar. There are many templates available that can guide you as you write your birth story. By the time you go and answer all the questions, you pretty much have written your birth story. WOOHOO!!
Record your story as audio
Ok, this isn't really "writing" your birth story, but it honestly is another great way to tell your story. This is great way to tell your story with your voice. Tell your story as if you are telling a friend! Then you can write your story from your recording later, when you have time.
It's never too late...
So, you haven't written your birth story yet and your tiny baby has already grown into a sassy toddler and maybe you're working on baby #2. Take some time right now and just do it! All you need is a warm blanket, a cup of you favorite beverage, a pen, paper, and some quiet time to reflect on one of the biggest moment in your life.
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