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Do We Have Permission to Talk About Our Birth Experiences?

By AngEngland |

Is your birth story top secret? Photo by BSK

Today a negative comment was left on my post about pregnancy horror stories. While my post was really relating a story from a much older woman in the grocery store who was just flat determined to share a horror story with me no matter what…

What I want to discuss is another comment left afterwards in response by Brannan.

She says:

How sad is it that pregnancy and birth is talked about SO little that the only time someone who had a bad experience feels like they can get it off their chest is when someone else is pregnant (which clearly is the ONLY time to discuss ALL things baby)?

Gah.

Birth junkies, unite! Come hash it out with me, good and bad, any time – – EXCEPT when I’m pregnant.

Her take is that women who had unexpected or traumatic birth experiences only feel safe discussing those experiences with other pregnant women. Which makes me really wonder – is that true?

I’m a doula and childbirth educator. A HUGE part of my job when I meet with clients who have experienced childbirth before is to listen to their birth stories of previous births. Often traumatic experiences is what is driving them to seek out my services in subsequent births. So listening to what they went through is a big, big part of what I DO when I have my “doula hat” on.

Do most women not have that ability with knowledgable friends and family? Do most women not have anyone to help them process their birth story? I know for me, my mom and midwife borth are women that I turn to and rehash each birth with. It helps me fill in the mental gaps, answers questions I may have had about something that was said or done during the birth, and just helps me feel a sense of closure.

Maybe the women who accost a pregnant woman in the grocery store aren’t looking to burst her bubble. Maybe they are looking for their own sense of closure on an experience they didn’t fully understand and no one helped them process.

Those of you who are Mommas already, what has your experience been? Do you have a safe place to turn to process your previous birth experiences (good or bad) or do you feel like you’ve never been able to do so?

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About AngEngland

angengland

AngEngland

Ang England is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, massage therapist and founder of the DIY website, Untrained Housewife. She is a former home decor and DIY contributor to Babble.

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0 thoughts on “Do We Have Permission to Talk About Our Birth Experiences?

  1. Sarah Partain says:

    Yes, I have a safe place. My mom is a midwife and my sister is a doula and they both are good listeners. But I don’t feel the need to share my son’s difficult birth story with every pregnant woman but rather to share when other women share their stories, whether or not we can relate to each other. Sometimes, people need to be loved and maybe listening to someone’s hurt is the way to do it. I would rathe not be traumatized but maybe it helps them?!

  2. Nadia says:

    I think that you are right…those people probably just want to talk about it and get their feelings out! I never really thought about it that way. I always thought that they were just trying to scare pregnant women. Maybe they feel like they are trying to prepare the pregnant woman that they are talking to for what is to come? I dunno. They probably think that they are doing her a favor by warning her.
    http://www.fitandpreggers.com

  3. Veronica says:

    I think that a lot of times women are made to feel like they can’t have negative feelings about their birth because that would somehow mean they aren’t happy about their baby. So they hold in those negative feelings, until one day they see a nice pregnant lady and all of those memories and feelings come rushing to the surface.

  4. Lisa says:

    In my work with pregnant and newborn mothers, I often echo my own mother’s wise words – that we have no control over the thoughts and behavior of others. In this context, when women share their own birth stories or parenting advice, they are sharing with you their own experience; that which worked really well for them. Or didn’t. If someone doesn’t ask before sharing, practice setting boundaries: Thank you for wanting to share your story or your thoughts, but I…..(fill in the blank that’s right for you). I continue to believe that we need to show and experience tolerance and compassion for ALL the ways in which women want/need to give birth and parent their children. There is no “best” way to do either….There is only the way that works for you and your family.

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