In my last post, I discussed the importance of telling our children their birth stories. Today, let’s talk about telling others our birth stories.
When we are pregnant or have just birthed, our hearts are wide open. When people tell negative birth stories, they sink deep down inside us and lurk. Positive birth stories (even if the outcome is not what was planned) fill us with joy and power. They remind us to trust our bodies.
If people grow up hearing positive stories. If women and their partners hear positive stories from coworkers, if you see positive stories on Facebook, if the dominant message becomes ‘birth is normal and beautiful,’ I believe we will see outcomes improve.
Here’s a few ideas for telling and listening to birth stories:
1. Think before you speak. What is your intention in telling this story? Pay attention to your tone. It’s okay to say it was hard or painful, but are your making it sound like torture or a beautiful, challenging journey.
2. As soon as a negative story begins, say “Thank you so much for wanting to share, but right now we are only listening to positive stories.” or “wow, it sounds like your birth was really intense for you, it’s really important for us to focus on our birth right now.”
3. Have compassion for those who have had negative birth stories. Birth is a big deal, and of course they want to share. Sometimes, if a woman (or partner) is unhappy with her birth, she is not ready to hear that there is another way. Meet her where she is at and give her cues to do the same (see #2)
4. Watch lots of positive youtube birth videos and read positive stories. Share them with friends, especially friends who haven’t had kids yet.