I read a very touching account of two births this week. A brave mom named Meg gave me permission to share her story. She blogged about the very different experiences she had during the birth of her daughter and the birth of her son. She shared the story in such a way that it was so easy to see how the pain from her daughter’s birth changed her life. The birth of her son also changed her life. The pain of her son’s death also changed her life… all in different ways. That does not minimize one experience or make any other more important. Meg did frame it all in such a way that we can all appreciate her willingness to share her life’s experiences and use that knowledge to help all women.
Take a moment and click below to pop over to Meg’s blog to read her story:
There is so much to learn from Meg’s willingness to be vulnerable throughout, summed up by her closing paragraph:
“The pain of loss and trauma are different, you can’t compare them, you can’t redirect them, but if you aren’t careful you might dismiss them. Most people will never know the truth of either but I am a woman who has known both, a woman who found a way to keep on living. If I reached out to you, if I trusted you enough to cry with you, how would you respond?“
If you didn’t go read the whole story – pop over there now… I will wait right here and when you close that tab the rest of this post will be waiting.
Ah, you are back. Amazing storytelling… yes?
First of all, a huge THANKS to you, Meg, for saying “Yes!” when I asked if I could share your blog post. I love how clearly you shared such super-simple and yet super-important points. Thank you for being so open.
As Meg pointed out, the primary lesson is Empathy 101.
I want to add to that lesson how important it is to empathize with yourself. If you have read many of my posts you will recall I am ‘big’ on people treating themselves the way they would treat a GOOD friend.
From Meg’s post I was also reminded how critically important clarity and empathy is for caregivers.
And I mean IMPORTANT.
Two things I want to revisit, harp on, and reiterate from Meg’s post:
1) Everyone who works with women should ideally recognize how their actions affect a woman. A woman giving birth is experiencing an especially vulnerable time, a time when she is learning about herself and her body in such a way that a person she recognizes in the role of expert can potentially make a huge impact with the smallest word or action. A touch without permission, a word diminishing her experience, or a missed opportunity to connect with her as a person can have far-reaching effects. Please, caregivers, remember why you are there, and if you are there to do anything other than support a women through a very vulnerable time, learn to release your reasons for remaining disconnected (I suggest a Midwife Mindset class… Register below!) and find your ‘why’- This is IMPORTANT
NOTE: If you feel you must be disconnected to be a good caregiver and you have no plans of changing that, please get another job.
2) If you are an individual talking to a woman who tells you she had a difficult birth, she is not asking for you to justify why yours was worse, or tell her how she should just feel ‘lucky’ to have a healthy baby (first of all, she might NOT!) or in any way expect her to look on the bright side. This is a good time to talk to her the way you would want to be spoken to when you share a hurt, and encourage her to be just as kind to herself as you are modeling (you are modeling that, right?).
Quick reality check… Maybe you *did* have a bad experience, maybe your baby was more critically injured than hers, maybe you also felt you were molested by a caregiver who touched you without permission, maybe you even have information that will help her in a way she doesn’t recognize yet. I am sorry you had that experience AND… During her birth story retelling is not the time to share that wisdom or relive your birth experience. Empathize, hear her… When she is done might be the time to ask if she wants to hear yours. Better yet, just listen to her. Really listen.
When she is done, and you have heard and supported her, think about what you want to share if and when you do get to that point. Do you want to one-up her, or support her? Does her story make you angry, or excited? Why? Figure out your ‘why’ before you share your story. Otherwise, just say ‘I am sorry.”
Women do connect via their birth stories, and the stories are important because women are important. Their stories are important. The way we tell our stories, hear other people’s stories, and choose to empathize is important. The way we are able to recognize why parts of our story came to be, why we would change things if we could, the parts we push away, and the parts we accept are ALL important.As important as your story after birth is, many women have another very powerful story. One they imagine before their baby is born. Many women use a birth plan to envision how their baby will be welcomed into the world, how respected their space will be, and how any emergencies will be handled. Every now and again one of my clients will share an experience that is entirely positive about their birth plan. Too often I hear how women feel their plan did not happen, and even stories about how women felt purposefully thwarted by their caregivers. Whether you agree with their version of their story or not is not up for discussion. The questions is… how do *they* feel about it. Do they feel they were heard and respected? Again, don’t justify why their experience couldn’t (in your opinion) have gone they way they dreamed. this was *their* dream voiced at a very vulnerable time.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, empathise, 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 all about our birth stories and the way we tell them. It was such a powerful session.
This Tuesday’s session is about what we expect and how we ask for it – specifically our birthing plans.
If you feel like you have some frustration, anger, or sadness surrounding your birth plan, you might find that some simple energy balancing exercises like those in the Free Balancing Act Kit help.
If you have a story about how your birth plan, birth, or postpartum changed your life I would love to hear from you — either post it in the comments below or 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.
Birthing Peace trivia:
Did you know artificial hormones affect a woman’s choice of men?
New series: Mothering the Mother calls – July 8th
Coming To Peace With A Less Than Peaceful Birth
Did you write a lovely birth plan that you were excited about yet the reality was nothing like your dream? Do you feel what actually occurred was unrecognizable or feel your plans were thwarted at every turn?
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.
That is exactly what I am offering in these calls. Join us for a call or register ahead of time and send in your topics to have them addressed on the recording which is for attendees only. Every month we will visit a different aspect of your birth(s) as you come find yourself coming to peace with either different births or different aspects of one less-than-peaceful experience. You do not have to attend a workshop to participate in this call. Register here – replay is available to registered participants who cannot attend in person.
Monthly Active Mindset Creator Calls – Tuesday — July 8th
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 Mindset Creator workshop in your area contact Lori@MindsetCreator.com