How was your birth?
Labor starts and everyone is waiting to hear.
“How was your birth?”
People ask this question with excited anticipation and also sometimes in naivety. They do not realize this can be such an emotionally loaded question. If your birth was just as you imagined, it might be an easy, even exciting question to answer. If your birth was not as you imagined, perhaps even traumatic, what do you say?
How much do you tell? Do you even want to talk about it? Or maybe you want to talk about it all the time and worry people are tired of hearing about it. In our culture we hear a lot about birth that can be misconstrued as ‘truths’.
These ideas may be true for some, but not for all and birth is unpredictable, so there cannot be ‘truths’ in birth for every woman. Some of ‘truths’ you may have heard…‘birth is natural, every woman can do it naturally if they try hard enough’, ‘women’s bodies were made to have babies’, ‘if you have one intervention, you will have many and WILL have a cesarean’.
These ideas can shape how you feel about the upcoming birth and also how we feel about ourselves as women and mothers after the birth. If the birth did not meet your expectations, or there is a part of the birth that has left you with with emotional pain; birth story healing may be needed.
Birth trauma and disappointing births can cause one or both parents to feel an abundance of emotions that can change from day to day, minute to minute and may change for the better or worse with the passage of time. You or your partner may feel helplessness, anger, shock, shame, sadness, loss, embarrassment, wonder, jealousy… You can read more about what emotional birth trauma is here: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/pages/birth-story-medicine
So what do you do about it? How do you share your story in a way that can help change your story into a more healing version? Perhaps move past the part of your story that keeps you up at night, shifting into parts of your story you would rather remember, shifting into something you would rather start to believe is more true about yourself. Birth story listening is one medium to begin the process of healing. Finding a listener who will lead you through a session and not compare birth stories, judge or place blame on anyone is one way to start the change.
You can read more about what birth story listening is here www.birthnarratives.ca.