My 'baby' is eight, but I still love sharing her birth story

Photo: Megan and her baby girl. Supplied
Photo: Megan and her baby girl. Supplied 

My second child was born at home. Accidentally.

We had every intention of getting to the hospital, but she had other ideas.

As I stood in my bedroom, trying to get dressed, I discovered I couldn't move; I told my husband to call the ambulance instead of the hospital.

This happened in the very early hours of the morning, and I'd only been awake for a short time. No regular contractions had happened. The baby was making her own rules for how this was going to go. And her way was this: within five minutes, she fell into her dad's arms.

Because my 'baby' is now eight, no one asks about her birth anymore, but I throw in a little piece of this story into conversation whenever I can.

I don't want to lose the story.

Lots of men leave the room when women start discussing birth stories. 'Again?' they ask. 'Why do women have to share this stuff?' It's something I wondered, too, before I had my children.

People assume that giving birth is simply a means to an end, that the experience itself is meaningless.

They believe that, once the baby is delivered safely, those hours of our lives can be safely tucked away, confined to a line in a baby book: 'After a quick arrival, baby weighed this much.'

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They might also think that, once the first months of the baby's life have passed by, the birth story no longer matters.

This is untrue.

The birth may have happened years ago, but so did that story about the time someone broke their leg, and the story about how you got that scar when you were a kid – and we listen to those attentively.

People tell these stories because they want to remember, they want to connect, and they want to share the experiences that have shaped who they are.

Like those stories, giving birth is a major life event for mums. It is a moment in time that is entwined with lessons of strength, challenge and survival. 

If you listen carefully, you might find it's the moment that a woman found her voice. You might hear the confusion and pain that indicate she's still processing the trauma of what happened to her. You might also hear the pride that she feels in achieving something that's beyond anything she thought she could do.

If you listen carefully, you might just hear her trying to share a piece of who she is.

Telling these stories helps us to connect with others: it's in this way that we find those who can be there for us, and those who will dismiss our experiences as invalid or unimportant. This may carry through to us knowing who we can ask for support throughout our parenting years.

We might share these stories verbally or on social media, in a way that expands a birth announcement into a true story of these important moments in a family's life.

For other mums or mums-to-be, this can help them to understand the options available to them. They might learn from what we wish we'd done differently, or what we discovered during or after the birth.

Our birth stories are important pieces of feminine wisdom that we must protect. We must continue sharing.