"A story has emotional power: it brings meaning, hope, and vision together; it connects body and soul. It can be as simple as saying or as complex as biography; it can come from a conversation, a newspaper clipping, a movie, or a myth. A story can bring the power of imagination into a situation. If we identify with the story, it becomes incorporated into us, and very cell and molecule in our body responds. When a person is in a crisis and uncertain, the right words can be life-sustaining. There is an Aha- response when the soul makes a link between a story and my story, a sense of recognition that something feels intuitively, deeply right; a match between inner inclination and outer configuration... if she could do it, then I can, too!" - Jean Shinoda Bolen
I believe there is a great power in the stories we hear about birth, both in how it influences our concept of birth and in how it alters our own faith in our ability to birth. I think expecting parents need to be surrounded by positive, exciting, grateful, empowering birth stories (vs. the horror stories people love to share when you're expecting!) Because I love birth stories I've sought them out since I was expecting for the first time, I am amazed at birth stories and the power they hold. But I realize now that not everyone (a) knows lots and lots of pregnant people (b) likes to hear birth stories! So while my view of birth is pretty diverse because I've heard hundreds of birth stories, I realize that's not the case for everyone. I've loved hearing the stories, the good and the bad, because I've learned from all of them. I'm fortunate to belong to several online groups - a pregnancy after preemies, a home/birth center group, and the International Cesarean Awareness Network. As you can imagine, each has very, VERY different experiences and as each has shared their stories, they helped me to better understand the huge range of births women experience.
I think especially for VBAC moms it's important that they be given the support they need and hear the positive stories. If you hear only the bad stuff then you will feel like the lone pioneer in the battle for a VBAC. When you join a group like ICAN and hear inspiring stories every week from women giving birth vaginally to babies bigger than their c-sections, having a vaginal birth after multiple c-sections, or women going into labor spontaneously when they were told it would not happen - you are excited and inspired. You cheer for them and you realize you are not alone.
So when you are expecting, surrounded yourself with positive birth stories. Be explicit, let people know you don't want to hear the horror stories and that you appreciate them sharing only the good stuff. Your birth experience will benefit from the positive emotion!
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