Sharing your birth story might not be for you but from my experience it can be a very healing process. The journey from maiden to mother is a huge transition and transformation - a form of metamorphism and such huge change in heart, body and mind can not happen without some growing pains. I'm sharing my top tips and writing prompts to help you feel confident when you find your writing rhythm.
1. TAKE TIME TO PREPARE YOUR MIND
Revisiting your birthing experience can be really hard and bring up some strong emotions whether you had a calm and peaceful home birth or birth that had a total plot twist and so it is important to honour this time and treat yourself with kindness, going gently. If it becomes too overwhelming I would invite you to revisit it at another time.
Try to give yourself some quiet time to reflect, set aside a space, perhaps whilst baby sleeps or one evening. Have a bath, light a candle, play some soft tunes whatever you can do to show yourself a little self care before you dive in and feel everything, allow yourself to feel tender, let the tears flow. This is a raw and healing process so don’t worry about being messy. It is not a test about what you can remember and in how much detail, just write down what you can and keep going.
2. SWITCH ON YOUR SENSES TO TAKE YOU BACK
Vision, hearing, smelling, touch, and taste all will have played a big role in your birthing experience. Did you light candles, dim the lights, or watch a movie? Pop on your labour playlist if you had one. If you used essential oils get them out and breathe them in. Scent has a powerful tie to memory and it may surprise you what memories arise. Smell your baby's head or one of their hats. Rub your belly and connect with your body. Sway your hips or sit on your birth ball (if you still have it) Run a bath if you used hydrotherapy during your labor or jump in the shower. Drink and eat things that you craved during your pregnancy or snacks you ate in labour.
Using all your senses will help take you back to that day.
3. ONCE YOU START WRITING, LET IT FLOW AND DON’T CHANGE A THING
Don’t edit yourself at all, let it flow from you freely, a stream of consciousness.
Here are also some writing prompts that might help you as you go.
How did you know that labour was beginning? Where were you and what were you doing that day?
What were you doing in early labour?
Who joined you and when? What did your partner/doula/family do to help you?
Did you listen to any music in labour? Watch any TV or movies?
What was your birthing space like?
What did your contractions/waves/surges feel like?
What did you find most challenging?
Did anything funny/unusual/weird happen during your labour?
What snacks did you have? What did you eat or drink during your labour?
Did you spend any time in the shower or tub during your labour or birth? What was it like?
What positions did you labour in? Did you pack your yoga mat like Aimee said?!
Did you have pain-relief? If so what and how did it make you feel?
What medical professionals were there for your labor and birth? What did you think of any nurses, doctors, or midwives that you met?
How were you feeling? (excited, apprehensive, nervous, strong?)
Did you use any visualisations or mantras during your labour? What were they?
What did your support persons say to you to that was helpful or encouraging?
If you had a C-section, what was the point when that decision was made? How did you feel about that decision?
If you had a C-section, what was it like getting prepped for surgery? What were you thinking?
Did you or your baby need/have any medical interventions?
What was it like to meet your baby face-to-face? What did you hear? Feel? See?
What was your partner's reaction to the baby being born?
Did your baby need any medical attention? Help with breathing, or taken to the NICU?
What was it like to deliver the placenta? Did you do anything with it? (Look at it, lotus birth, encapsulate, consume, bury, etc.)
Who cut the baby's cord?
When did you name your baby? how did you decide the name? What does it mean?
How did you feel after baby was born?
Did you have skin-to-skin? What was it like?
Did you breastfeed baby? What was the first latch like? How long did baby breastfeed?
If you have other children, when did they come see the baby? What was their reaction?
Remember this is ultimately for you.