The newest project from Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein is called My Best Birth and follows the stories of a number of women describing their birth choices.
Cindy Crawford is amongst these women and shares with us some very real and thoughtful insights into what it’s like to share your birth plans with your family and friends.
When sharing the decisions we make around an event as intimate as birth, we sometimes feel as though we need to justify or defend the choices we feel are right for ourselves.
Cindy’s approach to this aspect of birth preparation reflects how she was able to protect her birth space and comfort as a mother preparing for birth while at the same time, appeasing the
concerns of her family.
Take a look:
The same idea of being protective of our experience can be extended to how we share our birth story in postpartum. It may not come as a surprise to you that birth is deeply personal and intense. Sometimes simply talking about your birth before you’re ready can feel like it’s a little too much.
However, it is a reality that one of the first things people ask when they see new parents is “How was your birth?” In the event that you do not feel ready to share your story when this happens, it can be helpful to have a couple of key phrases ready to respond with.
Other mothers have used:
“It was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I’ll give you a call soon and tell you about it.”
“You know, I’m pretty tired right now. I’d rather tell you when I’m a little more present.”
“It was pretty special. I’m still working through it and I’ll send you a copy of my birth story when it’s ready.”
Similarly, sharing pictures of the birth can be pretty surreal, especially for the mother who laboured. Partners are often ready before the birthing mother to share the birth story. While it can be reassuring that partners want to share the birth in this way, it is of utmost importance that sharing this story is not rushed.
Mothers often feel vulnerable and skeptible about birth for awhile after the baby is born. Showing pictures or sharing details about the birth before she’s ready can significantly influence the way she remembers her birth and see’s herself as a mother, and not always for the better.
When we feel vulnerable, we are more likely to internalize criticism, opinions or good intentions as judgements. We may also feel that some perspectives minimalize our experience, as we often hear reassurance instead of validation when we’re sharing intense feelings or experiences. Until you’ve been through your birth story in your own way, feel some acceptance within yourself and are ready to recieve and respond to other’s perspectives on your birth, it is ok and important to protect your story in some way.
If you find yourself listening to a mother share her birth story, it can be a great gift for her to have you give over your full attention, acknowledge that sharing is a part of her personal process and validate the myriad of feelings that come along with birth.
More about the art of listening to birth stories can be found here: