My group call earlier this week addressed the way in which other people’s birth stories affect our fear of, or peace with, our own birth – sometimes even before it happens. In the case of a pregnancy the stories affect us as we prepare, with each story going into a category of ‘that could happen to me’ or ‘that was one in a million’ – the interesting thing is, we categorize that way whether the stories are negative or positive. We are often planning our birth based on what happened to people we know and things that affected them.
Planning out our child’s birth based on stories we have heard is completely natural – we are empathetic and sympathetic beings. When birth, or a different approach to birth (natural, Csec, induced, delayed) is a new thing to us we have nothing but stories to help us know what we might expect. I don’t know about you but I had a really hard time imagining my body passing a 9 lb baby even though I had seen dozens of videos of other women doing so by the time I was expecting that moment in my own life! I had to believe it was possible, and I had birth stories to help me imagine it.
As I read the stories which were sent in for the call I was again struck by the ways in which different people tell their stories. You can usually tell whether a mother is truly at peace with her birth(s) by the story she tells – the points she emphasizes, the parts she lingers on, are all telling of how her memory views her story. Very often, I hear a story that is still very fresh in a woman’s mind, with details such as exactly what was said to her at pivotal moments, even if the birth was decades ago.
The stories we tell are important, and the way we recall them later is pivotal to our well-being. It is important not to try to ‘sugar coat’ your stories. Many women try to do this, especially if they were told “the most important thing is a healthy baby” multiple times – they will minimize their own experience, the way they were treated, the respect they received from their birth team. They do this to keep from hearing that phrase yet again.
At the same time as you don’t want to sugar-coat, it is important for you to find the positives in the experiences you did have – maybe it is that you do have a healthy baby, maybe it is something about yourself that you learned when your baby died. Maybe your loss is too close and you are still trying to find the positive as it relates to your life story. That is ok, be kind to yourself and know that it takes time and will pop back into the front of your consciousness at seemingly random times.
I use birth stories as healing tools in my workshops and I am a HUGE fan of positive birth stories. Not all positive birth stories are ‘natural’ or ‘non-complicated’ – I try to explain to people that a surgical birth can be non-traumatic and a birth that others view as non-traumatic may not feel that way to the mother. SHE is the only one who should decide if she felt supported, respected, and honored as she gave birth.
How do you tell your story? Do you honor your experience, do you treat yourself respectfully as you would treat a friend? I encourage you to find ways to tell your story that share your experience and the affect it had on your life. Other women will benefit from hearing a realistic account, and you will benefit from engaging in a conscious sharing of your experience.
I love the work of the Positive Birth Movement – they are sharing positive birth stories from mothers with all types of experiences. Check out their mission and the way they are sharing it here:
Think about your birth – if you have given birth more than once pick one.
Don’t delve into it deeply, just think for a very short moment about whether you would change anything about that birth if you could ‘go back’ and do it again. If you have any anger or frustration surrounding that birth, if you had a birth plan that didn’t go as planned, if you felt betrayed by your experience in any way, remember to speak to, empathize, and support yourself as you would a friend. If you want some hands-on tools to help you come to peace with that experience please join me on Tuesday’s call.
The way a woman feels about her birth(s), even many years later, is incredibly powerful and can affect so much of her life on a level she may not even recognize.
Last month’s Birthing Peace Within call was focused on healing the frustration we experienced surrounding decisions made from a place of fear for yourself or your baby.
The group session coming up on December 16th is focused is on healing anything about our birth that keeps us from connecting with our child.
If you feel like you have some frustration, anger, or sadness surrounding surrounding your birth, you might find that some simple energy balancing exercises like those in the Tips and Tools for Postpartum Peace help.
If you have a story about how your birth, or postpartum changed your life I would love to hear from you — send it to me along with your wish to keep it either private, anonymous, or shared to inspire.
PS:If you weren’t able to attend last month’s QnA call for previous workshop attendees be sure to register ahead of time for the July 8th call. Write to Lori@BirthingPeaceWithin.com to get that taken care of right now!
If you work with others and want to bring clarity and your best self to that relationship check out the schedule below to join me at a workshop or webinar to get clear on your reasons for doing what you do, and healing those parts of you that keep you from really being present with the woman in front of you.
You can work along with my Tips and Tools for Postpartum Peace to approach each support situation from a place of clarity — (click here to get it if you haven’t already done this!)
Birthing Peace Bonus:
Check out this Positive Birth story:
Coming To Peace With A Less Than Peaceful Birth – December 16th
Do you have shame or frustration surrounding the birth of your child that keeps you from connecting with them? Do you blame your child for the pain, the experience, any lasting effects on you?
Carrying around the pain, anger, and shame from that experience can feel like a heavy weight. People after don’t even realize how heavy it is.
Monthly Active Mindset Creator Calls – Tuesday — December 16th
This series of calls are for those who have taken a Mindset Creator Workshop course in the past or are working with me in private sessions. The calls are an opportunity to ask questions, harness group energy to facilitate shifts, and gain clarity.
Contact lori@MindsetCreator.com if you need directions on how to connect. Recordings available for registered participants who cannot attend in person.
Midwife Mindset workshops being planned across the USA and beyond!
This workshop is geared towards individuals working with women who are undergoing one of the most powerful shifts in their lives – birth! Clear your own birth traumas and gain clarity around those situations so you can work with the women you serve as your best self.
This live workshop is required for graduation from the Ancient Art Midwifery Institute
If you are interested in attending or hosting a workshop in your area contact Lori@BirthingPeaceWithin.com
Click here to see a list of upcoming Mindset Creator workshops