We’ve all heard them — birth stories. I read a birth story for the first time about seven years ago when my cousin shared hers on Facebook. After that, I was intrigued by hearing other women’s stories, and how each birth is so unique and unpredictable. Some people find it amazing; others don’t understand the need for sharing birth stories.
But for me? I think sharing birth stories is so important. Here’s why I decided to share my own:
Our stories help inform others.
My oldest son was born 7 years ago. I had no experience with childbirth (well, of course — I was a first-time mom) and relied on my OB-GYN completely. I believed and trusted him and didn’t think there was any other option. I was induced at 40 weeks and two days because my doctor was going on vacation! YUP! You read right — he was going on vacation, so that meant I needed to be induced. I arrived after 12 a.m. at the ER (as he instructed us) and the OB arrived a few minutes later. I was sent to labor and delivery, and my induction process began. I had to stay alone all night during the process.
For me, my birth was the “normal” way of having a little one. But then I started reading other stories and noticed that what had happened to me was not ideal. Sharing my story with other mothers helped me realize that normal could be different for everyone.
Every woman has her own experience — there is no “normal” way of giving birth.
Anytime you talk to other women about their births, you see some similarities. But at the same time, you notice, WHOA, mine was so different. That’s one of the best things about childbirth — the uncertainty! It’s not predictable, and every woman will experience it differently. The way I had my kiddos doesn’t mean it will be the same way others will birth their children.
I’ve had a hospital birth and a home birth. They were very different experiences, but they brought me the two boys I love the most (even if they do drive me nuts). Other women have emergency C-sections, others plan a home birth and end up at the hospital, others have surrogate births, vaginal births with pain medications, vaginal births with no medications, doula support, scheduled C-sections, and so many other ways.
Childbirth should be normalized.
Many people are not used to reading birth stories. But looking at pictures of a birth, watching clips of a woman in one of the most vulnerable times in her life, bringing a child into this world? Birth should be seen as NATURAL and it should be normalized.
The best way to achieve this? By women sharing their stories. Birth should be seen as a time of welcoming a child into this world, a time when love takes a whole new meaning, a moment when we see how strong we are as women. Yes, there is blood, there might be crying or even cursing — who knows! Those are the little details that make each story unique.
Telling your story helps you heal (and might even help others heal).
Every time I share the story of my oldest son’s birth, I feel I heal a little. I also feel I am helping others. Every time I share my home birth story I believe others see it is a possibility. Every time I join a birthing woman in my role as a photographer and participate in their birth story, I heal.
I want my children to know how they were brought into this world.
Most importantly, I want my boys to know how they were born! I want them to see birth as a natural thing and that no one needs to be embarrassed by it. I want them to know the process. And I’m hoping that when they grow up, they will each be a support to their partner during this amazing time.