Your Birth Story

Denton Birth Doula Photography

During each birth I try to take notes on my phone - funny comments made, where and how mom labored, when she started pushing, the first nursing session, etc. Then after the birth I type up that timeline and add my notes and thoughts. I print a copy for the parents to save in their baby book and email them a digital copy.

My timeline is obviously an outside perspective, so before parents ever look at it I encourage them to BOTH write their version of the birth story. Rather than letting the objective timeline influence their memories, I want their birth story to be of the emotions and thoughts they had through the process. Then once their version is down on paper they can read the timeline and incorporate it into their story or simply keep it as a separate addition. I remember reading my doula's timeline from one of our births and I really thought I pushed forever - until I read her notes and saw I pushed for about 20 minutes. 🙂

Sometimes I'm not able to jot down a lot of notes at birth because of circumstances, or sometimes the birth goes so fast there just aren't a lot of notes! But in those cases I try to share with parents my thoughts of the birth still.

AFTER you've written out your first impressions of your birth (because we want those fresh and unbiased by outside views) then here's a wonderful list of questions to help you reflect. Whether you birthed this week or years ago, Joy's list of questions is thought provoking in a whole new way. She has two of my birth stories shared on her site, one of which I wrote seven years after the fact. As I pondered on the experience even years later I found her questions to be healing and thought provoking.

It can also be fun to ask those who attend your birth to share their experience - family members, your doula, and most especially your spouse! Spend an evening together when the baby is asleep, grab something yummy to eat and spend half an hour together writing your versions, then share them with each other. This can also prompt discussion about what you loved most, any concerns you had, and will give you insights into how your partner viewed the birth. When working with doula clients who have older children I give them a worksheet on their birth history. Sometimes as we discuss that in their prenatal visits I'll hear their spouse express surprise at details they were not aware of! Sitting down to write your story soon after your baby's birth can get that discussion started even sooner. Plus hearing those other perspective's can be really fun, as often when we're focused in laborland we're missing little details. 🙂

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