Honoring Our Birth Story
I live just a few blocks from the Yoga Garden and last week while walking around the neighborhood trying to get my 18 month old to sleep on my back, I happily bumped into a new mom that had been in my prenatal yoga class. After marveling at her six week old infant I encouraged her to join the mom and baby yoga class and asked if she sent in her birth story to be read in prenatal class. She replied that birth didn’t go the way she had imagined and she didn’t want to scare other women with the details. I got it.
Not immediately, but a month or so after the euphoria of the birth of my daughter Camilla wore off and I no longer felt like a warrior telling my sacred story of the deep insight that labor pain brought and the surreal joy that followed after my daughter emerged – looking back shook me up. Of course birth is rife with fear, precariousness and potential lingering trauma. How could it not be? Birth ushers new life into the world. But here is the point; the feat is herculean and in my experience, a rite of passage. Looking back to reflect on who we were in that moment and the decisions that we made or couldn’t make holds a tremendous amount of information for us to learn about ourselves. The process of accepting, owning and honoring our story through transforming our fears and trauma into insight is a healing balm and helps us and our baby store that information as memory. We will tell it to our child and our child will retell it many times. Our words carry our emotions and felt sensations whether spoken or unspoken…kids get that. Do you remember when your mom told you?
Revisit your story and write it down. Send it to prenatal class to be read. It helps other women prepare for their own unique birth experience. Come to a mom and baby class and share it. Just hearing ourselves talk about it can surface revelations. Sit with the mourning that might arise because it did not go according to your birth plan or you realized you could have educated yourself better about how things might actually go down in the thick of it. Maybe another child is on the way and what you find in this process of honoring your birth will influence the next birth or the way you mother your child, trusting your own instincts and voice.
For Valentine’s Day last week I bought a rose bush and my husband, daughter and I planted my placenta in it. It had sat for way too long in our freezer with the hope of encapsulating it after birth to provide me with extra nutrients and strength in the early postpartum
period. We each placed a handful of dirt over what I told my daughter was her “old home,” and as I cried for myself, the intense beauty of my daughter’s birth and the wonder of life, I laid my trauma filled story to rest, ready to receive the roses that will bloom this spring. .
Next time how will you tell your story?
For more resources and a workshop on healing from your birth
experience go to Natural Resources –