Having my first baby was easy – to the extent that having a baby can be easy. I can’t say the same of the other three. Pregnancies got easier with each child; actually delivering the child got harder. The contrast – which many people have felt the need to point out to me, most frustratingly by an extremely grumpy delivery midwife – has made me think a lot about birth stories and identity.
I remember getting pregnant with Emma, and suddenly having women tell me all sorts of birth stories. Having a child is a life-changing experience, and there isn’t a formal space (or wasn’t, until mommy blogs came along) to talk about it. So, when someone gets pregnant for the first time, they get to hear the stories!
Read My Birth Stories:
Sometimes, when we listen to birth stories, we get caught up in the details. Did someone have their baby at home? In the hospital? Did they get an epidural? Did they have their baby naturally? The phrasing of that last question always strikes me as odd. I have yet to meet an artificially born baby!
If you struggle with infertility, the questions get worse.
Birth Stories are important. Adoption stories are important. Infertility stories are important. Child loss stories are important.
And there isn’t actually anything wrong with the details, if you can hear them without judging. Sometimes the details are important; there are a lot of different ways to have a baby, and knowing what works and what doesn’t work for others might someday help you make a decision about the best delivery option for yourself. Sometimes the teller needs someone to hear the details as they process their own story.
But, if you are going to judge, maybe it’s better not to ask for details. At the end of the day, there are two things that matter: Is mom doing well – emotionally as well as physically? Is the baby healthy? If the answer is yes, it’s time to celebrate! And, if the answer to either of those questions is no, the last thing anyone needs is judgment.
How has your childbirth experience impacted your identity?
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