Annie Tayleur

The Importance of Birth Stories

At a party on Saturday night, and not for the first time, a friend of mine and I got talking and ultimately sat down and accidentally debriefed her birth experience. We talked it out, she expressed what went down and how this affected her and I silently got those almost inevitable white-hot rage pangs down the back of my head a few times (which I feel most birth workers would recognise as a side effect of debriefing many a hospital birth). And afterwards she came out with the fact that despite her baby being almost a year old, this was the first time she had been able to actually talk about it.

And this seems to be a recurring theme.

Recently, before recording a podcast about women’s rights in childbirth, Abbey said to me that she doesn’t feel like there are many places for women to go with their birth stories, especially if they are traumatic.

And I was like- ‘what the fuck…?’

And this was my reaction for two reasons…

  1. Because of who I am and what I do and what I love and value- I talk to women about their births (past and future) all the bloody time. And…
  2. Because EVERYONE needs to talk it out.

Whether you had an angelic birth in the ocean, surrounded by dolphins and you want to sing your own praises from atop a mountain. OR if you had an experience that cut and crushed you to your very core- we need to talk it out.

Hell, we DESERVE to talk it out.

Why is there this constant pretense that because a birth experience lasted only a tiny fraction of the time it took to grow the baby, that it is somehow unimportant? Or god forbid mediocre?

IT’S BIRTH!

There’s actual new freaking life coming into the world people!

For many women it may be the biggest thing they ever do in their whole life!

And what, she’s supposed to just put that in the ‘who-gives-a-shit’ pile next to what she had for breakfast yesterday and the boy she dated in high school?

Pardon me for getting a bit shouty. But this is bullshit. And so unfair and disempowering to women and all people who have birthed a real human baby.

And if you’re sitting reading this and thinking about how you have this incredible story sitting in your chest, wanting to burst out but having nowhere to go… If you feel like it’s been too long to go into it or that it’s not a big deal or that you don’t want to draw attention to yourself- I have this to say to you—

It hasn’t been too long.

It is a big freaking deal.

Every one of these stories has value.

Your story is important.

YOU are important.

And in all honesty, the only way we are going to make any headway with what is wrong with our contemporary birth culture in this country is to get this shit out there in the open. It doesn’t belong in the shadows.

So talk it out. Find someone who will listen. Find me in the street if you have to!

This is your story, your heartsong and it matters.

 

Annie will be sharing a Birth Stories Women’s Circle at the Seven Sisters Festival, Mount Martha in March. She also has just launched her new Childbirth Education program, ‘Getting Real about Birth’ and spaces are available for the December program.

About 
Several years ago I began my own relationship with pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood as I walked through the door and became a mother myself. Before I got to that birth suite, I had no idea what to expect (as is the case for many of us!) I wasn't scared or worried but just blissfully unaware of what was to come. I figured I would figure it out on the day. But then a few wise women in my family suggested that I get myself educated in birth, find some meditative techniques to support me and make a plan for what was most important to me in birth. I am so very glad I took their advice. What followed was a strong, calm, positive, oxytocin-explosion birth, kicking off my obsessive love for my baby and for birth and change. As a new mother, I was shocked to find that many other mothers around me were not as proud and positive about their birth experiences as I was. My heart broke for the women I knew who felt unhappy or even disempowered by the birth of their children. The more I came across this, the stronger my resolve became- I needed to support other women in the process of growth, challenge and change. Fast forward a few short years and now trained as a Doula and a Hypnobirthing Australia Educator, carrying my background as a teacher with me and having given birth to my second baby, I know I have followed my heart to the right place. I have learnt a lot about power, consent, love and joy through my work with women, children and families. I have learnt a lot about setting my own values and judgments aside for the benefit of those I am working with. And now I am so fortunate to share my wisdom, my knowledge of birth, life, sexuality and transition, and my ability to support others through Deep Blue Birth, Education and Transitions.

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