Writing out your birth story has so many benefits! And it makes me a little sad that it isn't routinely suggested to women as they leave the hospital. Instead of sending us home with a bag full of creams and nappy samples, send us home with a journal, pen, and a suggestion to spend 10 minutes each afternoon writing parts of the story.
Then have a midwife or doula visit the women a couple of weeks after to help them go through their story, process it, and learn what they need to learn from it.
Writing out your birth can be a complex activity (or it could be really simple - birth stories, like birth, are very individual). And the level of complexity depends on: what happened, what you want to gain from the activity, and your own level of knowledge around birth.
Why do women write out their birth stories?
Let's look firstly at the many reasons for writing out your birth story.
The story writing process
Before you sit down to write out your story it's important to have a think about WHY you want to write out your story and who you want to share it with. The process that you go through and the language that you use will be different if you want to share the story with your child or if you want to accurately record and work through trauma that you experienced.
Once you know why you're writing the story and who you are writing it for you can start to work out the process that you want to go through.
You might choose to simply sit down and start writing from beginning to end.
You might choose to focus on the feelings at different pivotal moments - finding out you are pregnant, going into labour, transferring to hospital, the moment of birth etc.
Or you might choose to get your file from the hospital and write your story in relation to the clinical notes.
Now, I personally recommend writing your story several times, going through each of these processes. Especially if you experienced a traumatic birth, want to share your story with other women, or want to critically examine how you talk about birth and the impact that the birth had on you.
While writing out your story, in and of itself, can be hugely healing the BIG benefits come with critical analysis of decision making, language use, and relationships. Critical analysis should always be done well after you have written the story. For many women it really is just too much to go back and critically analyse the story just after you have written it. Give yourself time to recover from the process of getting it all out and make sure that you have good support if you need to debrief with someone.
If you are planning more births in future it can be very useful to dedicate a good amount of time to working through your previous birth and going through each of these processes to write out your story can really help you to get clarity on what birth means to you, what your previous birth means to you, how you make decisions, how you communicate with others, and what you need in order to feel safe, positive, and powerful in your birthing.
The next step
So - critically analysing our own shit is freaking hard work. So I decided to offer a safe, supported, connected "challenge" to help you do this effectively.
Starting on Monday 2nd of May you'll get plenty of information, journaling prompts, and support that guide and support you through the process of writing out your birth story.
I'll support you to ask some tricky questions and gain a deeper insight into how you do birth, how you do BIG transformation, what support means to you, what you need in your intimate relationships to feel safe and cared for, how you make decisions, what you could do differently next time, and just what does all this mean?!
All of this will take place in our private facebook group so that you have the opportunity to share your journaling, your findings, and to seek support as needed.
You can sign up for the workshop series here:
This series of journaling and workshops is epic even if you're not planning anymore children. Finding a way to share your story in a way that add power to other women's journeys is always amazing.
Got questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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