The vital importance of telling your Birth Story and feeling heard has long been understood by doulas, natural birth workers and traditional midwives. Fortunately it is now being taken more seriously in the mainstream birthing world, although most hospitals still only recommend sessions for mothers who have experienced a very traumatic birth, advising them to attend a debriefing session with a senior midwife or doctor.
In recent years it has been accepted that mothers and her birth partners can experience post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms from their birthing experience. Not just when things go very wrong or from emergency procedures, but also from feeling unheard, unsupported or afraid. The consequences of these negative and overwhelming feelings, at such an important time, can lead to very unhappy, distressed and fearful mothers. As a result relationships at home and at work suffer greatly and can break down families
Many of these sad scenarios could be prevented by an acceptance, understanding and appreciation that every birth story is monumental for the mother and her birth partners. If the mainstream could take the time to listen to mothers tell their stories it would deepen their understanding of the birth experience and it’s all so simple – all they have to do is listen
At Mamaheaven our experienced team of Doulas, midwives and mothers constantly see the need that mothers have to tell their story, to be listened to with time and the understanding of an experienced ear. The story can often take a life time to unravel – as a Doula I have visited many mothers preparing for the births of their second and consequent children that still well up at emotive moments of their previous birth stories and are often surprised saying “I thought that that was all behind me”, had they been heard earlier, they could avoided much distress.
The way we approach birth stories at Mamaheaven goes along with the thread that runs though all our work. We begin by empowering the mothers. We not only listen but we guide them with basic reflective listening techniques to listen to each other and themselves. We encourage them to be aware of the part of the mind that is judging the storyteller or themselves – to be mindful. We allow them to explore the feelings that they still carry from their birth, whether seen as traumatic or not, we hold a space where they can accept the experience as theirs.
There is often a part of the story that is repeated over and over that seems to have no particular meaning but listening closely to the small details we can discover what lies underneath them, and often uncover other feelings that they didn’t know where there – like loneliness, abandonment issues, resentments, and even hidden joys.