I woke up this morning and gazed up at the beautiful belly cast that is fixed to my bedroom wall. It’s my son’s 7th Birthday in four days and has been a time of reflection about our story and as I've written about here - the feelings I was left with after my second birth.
When it comes to pregnancy and birth, my experience is that every woman has a story to tell; sometimes it’s about the journey to conception, others have a strong story about their own entry in to the world or it might be about the lived experience of giving birth; whatever it is, it’s unique and it’s yours.
Weaved within our own stories, we carry other peoples too; these tales might be right at the very surface of our conscious mind, but more often than not, stories about birth and motherhood are buried much deeper.
And like anything, the obvious stories and memories are much easier to make sense of, however, there are subtleties that we pick up from all sorts of sources which influence our feelings and are far less obvious;
Despite the subtlety of these messages, we store them deep, deep down and they can still pack a punch when it comes to approaching birth and resolving our past.
My first recollection of birth was watching the Blue Lagoon with my lifelong friend Poppy. For those of you who have watched it...you will know it has a pretty liberal offering of nudity, sex and what I would consider ‘coming of age’ type of stuff;
I don’t know exactly how that impacted my perception, but I remember feeling totally enthralled – not frightened, just deeply curious.
My perception was further formed by seeing my brother’s births which I’ve written about before and I wasn’t frightened 23 years later when I approached the birth of my first baby.
I quickly learnt that I was in the minority when each time I found myself invited to share my feelings about birth, and the majority of women and men (more to my surprise) scoffing at my ‘unrealistic expectations’ and ‘hippy ideas’.
These responses become a part of our experience and awareness, but the stories over time including my Mother’s stories, my own stories remain deep within me as do yours.
They shape our expectations, our perceived capabilities and for me have been the fire in my belly. They have been my source of strength when everything else has wavered and have formed the infrastructure of my work and the message I want to share.
Writing your birth story is such an important part of your birth and something I talk about in my classes. And anyone who has experienced birth will know how little time it takes for some things to become a little hazy, so getting pen to paper as soon as possible is great.
It's never too late though and for some it takes much longer to get to that place.
I will be writing my birth story in the next couple of days – not because I haven’t written it before, but 7 years on - after much reflection, therapy, education, another birth and through helping other’s – I’m pretty sure I have a new perspective and therefore a new offering.
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