My mother loved to tell her kids the story of their births. We generally heard the story over cake and ice cream each year on our birthdays. (Eww, actually she left out the juicy bits.)
I know that I, her first born, was 3 weeks early, weighing in at just over 5 lbs. She said that holding me felt like holding a little bag of sugar. We heard how my brother was born a little over a year later on the unfortunate date of Friday the 13th of January. However, it was a fortunate event after all, because if he had come on his due date, she would have had much trouble getting to the hospital as it was during the historic blizzard of ’78.
My mother’s babies came quickly, and by the third one a little over a year later, she barely made it to the hospital as labor took an hour from start to finish. So when her fourth baby was due, and she went in to see her doctor close to 40 weeks, he saw that she was dilated and advised her to go to the hospital. They broke her water, and the baby was born within minutes. The fun part is, it was exactly 1 year to the day from her last baby’s birth, so my sisters actually have the same birthdate, October 20, one year apart!
What I remember most about her telling of the birth stories, is the delight and enthusiasm that she expressed as she recalled those days. She gave birth to 4 babies within about 4 years, and while I am positive she may have had some anxiety during that time, she was honestly happy with her children’s births, enjoyed retelling the stories, and passed on the idea to me that birth was not something to be feared.
And so now I also enjoy telling my children the stories of their births. I probably give them too many details sometimes, but I want them to hear about those days and feel my joy. One of the main reasons that I started working as a birth support person is so that I could help other women have less fear, anxiety, and pain surrounding birth. Because whether she chooses to tell this story to others or not, she will remember her child’s birth the rest of her life.
Does everything have to go according to the birth plan in order to have a good birth experience? No. Birth is involuntary, natural, but also unpredictable is some respects. But if a mother feels supported, encouraged, and respected throughout the process, she can still have a story that she enjoys telling about the day her child was born.