Birth of a Baby, a Mother, a Family

Birth of a Baby, a Mother, a Family

    Birth of a Baby, a Mother, a Family


    Journals are fickle things. Some of us find they are freeing, others find them to be minefields full of emotion and whining and frustration. The purpose of this book is not only to narrate your birth story, but to heal and grow. In order to do that, you will need to let go of any censorship and write freely. That might mean that you cross words out as you go, or that you set a timer when you sit down to write and don’t put down your pen until you are finished. Try your absolute hardest to release any judgment and let the words flow.

    Audience

    There is a question when it comes to birth stories that needs consideration before you even begin. That is: Whose story is this? Perhaps another way to think of it is this: Whose eyes do you intend to see this journal after you are finished?
    Who is your audience? It’s a question that every author should ask themselves when writing a story because it allows for a stronger theme, not a lot of wandering and pandering and putzing. So what do you think: Is this your birth story? Is it your child’s? Do you want the rest of the world to have access to it? Or do you want it locked away so even your partner can’t get their hands on it? Whatever the answer is (and you should think about that before you put pen to paper) start out by writing for yourself.
    This first time around you are retelling the story, and sometimes it can be garbled and mangled because you don’t quite remember if the epidural came after you threw up the Coke you snuck behind the nurses’ backs, or if the tub was lukewarm or room temperature instead of searingly hot like you had wanted. Don’t worry about things coming out in the wrong order. Let it all go and tell yourself the story. Later you can get back to who will get to read your precious words (and I will help you do this in the final chapters), but for now keep that question in the back of your mind and let the thoughts flow out in whatever way they need to.

    Basic Story Structure

    All stories have a beginning, middle, and end. You won’t be writing this necessarily in order, or even with the intent to create a finalized story, but it will help during the writing to know your intention from the beginning. The one story component I will ask you to determine is your major question. In fictional stories (and even some non-fiction), the beginning introduces a question for the main character that is ultimately answered by the ending.

    Knowing your intention for writing your birth story will help you stay on track and not end up in all kinds of tangents and random rabbit holes. It doesn’t even need to be an intention for the story itself: This story will chronicle my birth experience. It can be something more abstract: I want to connect with myself on a deeper level; I want to understand why I can’t move beyond this; I want this story out of my head; I want to connect with my baby; I want to understand.The prompts in this book are intended to help you find the answers to your beginning. I’ll help you link events with your emotions to let your true self shine through. I want you to tell a story, and I can help you do that, so let’s start with discovering your intention.

    How to Tackle This

    We need to get down to the nitty-gritty: How you will get this done. At the start of a project like this, you might feel one of two things: Totally gung-ho and raring to go; or totally overwhelmed and frustrated with how intense this might be. You might be somewhere in between.
    The way to keep up the enthusiasm, or to build some, is to find the right habits and techniques for writing. Along with that, this book is broken down into bite-sized chunks so you won’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Spread it over the next few months or more. If it gets too emotionally challenging, or you find you can’t stay awake long enough to read more than two sentences and put pen to paper, give yourself a break.
    Although, you might want to make yourself some deadlines if you feel like you’re just procrastinating. This is something you are doing for yourself, so it’s ok to carve out time. Let your partner take the baby for a walk and spend twenty minutes doing this. Sit down with a cup of tea and some good music. Don’t let the laundry or the dishes or work call your name.
    Tip number one for starting this project: Go to the stationery store and pick out the journal that calls to you. Dedicate that journal to this story. Make sure it’s big enough so you can fit a lot of information, but make sure it’s not too pretty so you can scratch out words and rewrite things and allow yourself the freedom to do it incorrectly. Decide if you need something that will fit in your purse so you can carry it with you. Or maybe you want to pick one that has a lock and key to protect your privacy. If handwriting is not in your plan, then sit down at your computer and take the time to set up a new folder with a new document, and make sure you continuously back it up as you’re working. The number one rule if you’re working on a computer: Do not delete anything. Even if you write something hateful that you can’t bring yourself to read again, move it to its own document and save it. This writing is all part of the process, so deleting it while you’re in the thick of things could be counterproductive. When we get to the end, you might delete everything anyway, but for now, keep it all.
    If you have the paperback version of this book, I have left ample room after the prompts for adding your thoughts, but a separate journal is also advised because it will create a special atmosphere for your story.
    Now let’s get into the ways you can build some habits and use writing in a therapeutic manner:

    Dos

    • Pick a place to do your writing—a quiet spot in your house, a cafe, a park—somewhere different that will let you get into a new headspace and that also allows for concentration.
    • Commit to smaller amounts of time spread throughout your days. One long block of time can feel overwhelming, whereas a few minutes here and there can make huge progress.
    • Let whatever comes, hit the page. You might end up with some intense and difficult feelings. Allow yourself the space to put those down on paper and then cross them out if necessary. Again, don’t delete anything until you’re finished and ready to, but feel free to cross words out and let yourself write what needs written.

    Don’ts

    • Don’t expect perfection. Even if you are a writer, this is not about beautiful prose; it’s about getting words on the page and finding a new sense of self at the end.
    • Don’t turn this into a vent session. Write what happened, then react to it. The prompts will help keep you away from bitching, but keep an eye on how you feel after each writing session. Constant complaining will make you feel more burdened instead of lightened.
    • Don’t do this and then not take action when you’re finished. The purpose of the book is to help you move on. It doesn’t matter if your experience was beautiful and exactly as you’d hoped, or if it was awful and you hate what happened. Either way, action is the most important part of this entire process. You will write your birth story, you will reflect on it, and you will act on those reflections. Whether that means finding help from someone else or simply destroying the documents you created in order to let go, just do something. You can’t let it sit. It will be that skeleton hiding in a closet. Pretty soon those bones will start to rot and smell. Taking action is a way for you to expose the bones and set them free.

    There tend to be common themes when it comes to stories of birth. Things like women thinking they are strong but then being blown away by the pain of labor; pain being different for different people; thinking as first-time mothers (or even second- or third-time) that they know what to expect and then are thrown for a loop. A lot of these themes touch on the fact that expectations are just that, expectations. Sometimes they are fulfilled, sometimes they aren’t. So the final few chapters of the book will work on reflecting on what you’ve written and finding forgiveness. Try not to hold yourself to an impossibly high standard. Your story is your story; it’s not a perfect rendition of the perfect birth. There is no such thing. For now, just get it written.
    Birth of a Baby, a Mother, a Family

    Copyright © 2019 Life Her

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