Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
When something big happens in your life, the need to “get it out” can be overwhelming.
This is why it’s so important to get the details onto paper as quickly as possible so that the processing can begin.
Writing your birth story can be a healthy way to process the major event that just took place in your life.
If you’ve had a traumatic birth experience, or if your birth didn’t go the way you envisioned, writing everything down just as it happened can be a cathartic way to heal.
In this post, we’ll go over where to start when it comes to writing your birth story to help process this major life event.
Prepare Your Mind and Senses
Birth is an unusual time for our brains. Time doesn’t move the same way when you’re in “Labor Land,” and it can be hard to remember every detail because, well, you were very distracted during birth, to say the least! Relaxing your mind by setting up candles, calm music, and perhaps taking a warm shower beforehand can help to prepare your mind to remember the smaller details.
Use your senses! Did you have special essential oil that you used during labor, or did you have a specific playlist of music on while you were giving birth? Try to recreate those sensory details so that your nose or ears can help you to remember.
Freewrite - don’t edit yourself!
Like I said before, time doesn’t move the same way during labor as it does outside of it. Try to write down as much as you can without editing anything out - you can polish up your story later. Getting every emotion, every person, every feeling down on paper in any order can help you to get the most detailed story out of the writing experience. Not sugar-coating your story can also help you to process your experience and any trauma you may need to work through - acknowledging the hard parts of birth or the parts that didn’t go as planned can be the first step to acceptance and healing.
Confer with your birth team, solidify your timeline, and share your story - but only if you want to.
Though it may feel as if you’re the only one who experienced your labor, there were actually many people involved! If you’re having trouble remembering certain details, don’t be afraid to ask your partner, midwife, nurse, or anyone else on your birth team for assistance. From there, you can read what you have so far and organize it into a timeline. Use timestamps from calls, photos, or texts to work out when certain things happened, and reorganize your story as needed.
When - and if - you are ready, you can share your finished story with others, or at least read it aloud to yourself. However, remember that while this could be helpful for processing and internalizing the experience, it is not necessary to share your story - the simple act of writing it down can be a personal exercise with no need to share beyond yourself.
Writing your birth story can be a cathartic and healing experience. Use your senses and relax your body and mind to remember the details, and don’t forget to ask your birth team if you need help remembering certain events. Write everything down without sugarcoating, and go back and edit it later. When you are done, read it aloud to yourself and share with others if you feel comfortable. In the end, you will have a written memory to look back on for years to come (and something your baby can read when they possibly become a parent themselves someday!)
Share Your Birth Story Writing Experience
What was it like for you to write your birth story? Did it help you process the experience, or simply make for a nice keepsake for your baby book? Comment below!
Writing compliments of
Andrea Luzitano is a postpartum doula and graduate of the Conscious Postpartum Caregiver Program. Through Upon Arrival, she "mothers the new mother" and her family by providing healing meals, emotional wellness offerings, and local resources that gently guide them through the life-changing experience of early postpartum parenthood. Many women plan for the birth of a baby - but what about the birth of a mother? She is a firm believer in holding space for this precious time in life and keeping it as worry-free and comfortable as possible. Learn more about Andrea at https://www.uponarrivaldoula.com/.