When it comes to putting life changing events, like giving birth, down on paper sometimes the enormity of the process can feel overwhelming.
'Should I include all the messy details?'
'Should I tell my child I feared for my life?'
'How do I explain any birth injuries?'
'Should I include anything negative? They're only kids!'
All of these questions flew round and round my head after the birth of my second daughter (read my birth story here). It was an intense experience that left me shaken for months.
So, when the topic of "How to Write your Birth Story" came up in our private Facebook community (The Blueberry Co Baby Book Club) I realised I was in the perfect position to write out some handy tips for anyone out there looking for a place to start.
1. Write out a timeline
For many of us, the birth process is a long and involved one. Even if you have a short labour (like I did with my second baby) it can be so intense that writing out a timeline of the major moments will help give you a structure you can fill in.
I was lucky enough to have very detailed notes** of my second baby's birth because it was at home, and my midwife recorded everything. For me, that's been a wonderful resource to go over the whole process. It felt so full-on for me from the very beginning, so it was good to read her notes and see that she was monitoring me and the baby (literally every 2 minutes). I have very brief notes from my first baby's birth, so I looked back on those too.
** if you've had a traumatic birth or even if you have questions or just want to know exactly what happened when, I highly recommend requesting your birth notes from your care provider. It's a great resource to look back on the timeline of events and understand the choices made and why.
2. Fill in the gaps
Now you've got a rough framework for your tale, start filing in the gaps. Give yourself time to write this. If it comes out in one big rush, then fabulous! However, if it takes you days or weeks to fill in the gaps, just let it happen. It's a very intense experience you're re-living, and can bring up both welcome and unwelcome feelings, so be kind to yourself.
I also found it handy to ask my husband questions about the order in which things happened. He has a clearer memory of the whole process that I do, even though he's more reluctant to talk about it.
Looking back on any photos or messages sent after your birth can also be a good way prompt your memory.
3. To filter your story or not?
This question is one that gets asked in our Facebook community a lot. I have to say I don't think there is any right or wrong way to do it. You have to do what's right for you and your family. For me, as a mother of girls, I feel very strongly about presenting them with an honest account of their birth, BUT when we tell the story I will be filtering it so it's age appropriate (if you've read my birth story you'll know what I mean). So, for my second daughter, I think I'll print out the long story and put it in an envelope for her to read when she's old enough to be interested in it, and just tell her she was born at home, while Rosie slept!
Rosie, on the other hand, is already interested at 3 years old and likes to see the scar from my c-section, so the way in which they were both born will no doubt come up in conversation with her soon.
Again, I think it's like all things to do with sex-education, you have to choose the right way to communicate it for your family.
4. Write it (or stick it) in your book!
Once you've written your draft, or typed it out, write it in your Monochrome Baby Book and surround it with photos. If it's super long, just print out your typed copy and stick it in an envelope (that's what I'm doing for baby no.2.... that story is an essay!!!).
There you go! You're all ready to get started! Do you have any other tips? Comment below so can share with our Blueberry Co Baby Book Club members!