Yesterday I posted Kim's birth story. Congratulations to Kim! Not only was she the first mom to give birth in water at one of our local hospitals but she was the first mom to send me her story.
I love stories. I have always loved stories; stories that were read to me as a young child, stories I read that opened the world or opened my eyes to possibilities, stories that got me through bad times. There are books and characters from my childhood that are dear to me like treasured friends, Jo from Little Women, Bilbo from Tolkien's Ring Trilogy and of course Laura Ingalls from the Little House series. I learned so much by seeing the world through these wonderful authors' eyes.
A few years ago my mother, a retired children's librarian, took me to the National Story Telling Festival in Tennessee. I can't tell you how much fun I had just sitting in the damp Autumn cold and listening to expert storytellers share their craft. I could have happily sat there for a week. Some told folktales or children's stories. Some told historic tales or far fetched and nonsensicle stories. But the ones I think I enjoyed the most were grounded in the storyteller's personal history, culture or tradition. These are the important stories. The ones that pass down who we are and how we feel about it. These are the stories that preserve a time or place through oral tradition.
Birth stories are important. Your birth stories are important. They are critically important to share; woman to woman, decade to decade, generation to generation. This is the stuff that is at the core of us. Yes I know there is more to a woman than birth, but is there anything more important than birth? My guess is women have been sharing birth stories ever since the first woman was given speech. We have shared them around fires, at quilting bees and baby showers. Ina May Gaskin has included a enlightening section of birth stories in both of her books. A collection of stories on a single topic which includes many different perspectives and experiences is a powerful learning tool.
So I will be posting your birth stories. Telling your story, speaking your truth, unburdening yourself of your pain or grief, or expressing your delight, surprise, power or joy is important for you, for pregnant moms, for all of us. Imparting your wisdom woman to woman through a story.
I believe in the personal touch. I have been resistant to embrace all the technology driven "social networking" avenues out there today. I think there is nothing that can replace, or should replace, face to face, eye to eye, person to person communication. Especially when it comes to birth and birth issues. Birth isn't an impersonal experience and it shouldn't be dealt with in an impersonal manner. Having said that, I know that for most young women in our current culture this is the social medium they use and are most comfortable with. If I want to reach these women to share with them the significance of birth then I must meet them where they are.
If you would like to be part of this project please e-mail me your birth stories. Let me know if I can include your first name. I would like to always include where and when you gave birth. Please include the name of anyone you felt helped you through the process in a positive way. If you want you can also include the names of people who you feel impacted your birth experience in a negative way or you can chose to speak about them without attaching a name. I will label these stories as Birth Stories, Birth Stories My Doula Clients, or Birth Stories My Class Clients.
Make your story count!