I am the daughter of two writers. My parent's met when my dad was a guest speaker at my mom's college journalism class. My whole life was documented by storytelling in my father's weekly column in our small town newspaper. I believe that every human on earth has a legacy of stories worth sharing, and as a birth doula, I have a particular interest in the experiences and stories of birthing women. I directed a play all about women's birth stories called "Birth" by Karen Brody- twice. When I was just 18, I devoured the birth stories of women living in a hippie commune in Tennessee in the 60's ad 70's in Ina May Gaskin's iconic book, "Spiritual Midwifery". Birth stories were my introduction to the work I am called to do. I even named my third baby Story.
I have told the stories of my four children's births countless times - to each of them whispered as bedtime tales, to new mothers in need of an encouraging birth account when all they have heard are the stuff of nightmares, and to doula clients who ask, "So how about your own births? What is it like to be a Doula giving birth?"
But I have something to admit - I have never written down any of my children's births.
I'd like to change that. This year, I am challenging myself with the task of documenting each of my baby's births in writing. I would LOVE for you to join me. Every week I will be publishing a new series called "Sunday Night Stories" and I welcome your submissions. ALL BIRTH STORIES ARE WELCOME - unassisted births, cesarean births, water births, medicated births, stillbirths, natural births, doula-supported births, traumatic births, hospital births, home births.... they all matter and they all are worth sharing. If you would like to share your birth story in this space, please email it to me, along with any photos or videos you'd like to include to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some excellent resources to get you started:
The Sanitized Stories We Tell By Sarah Bessey
How to Write Your Birth Story (with Helpful Visual Guide and Writing Prompts) from www.BirthMemoirs.com
"Why Don't You Write Your Birth Story?" From Birth Without Fear
How to Write A Birth Story from SheKnows
Perhaps you'd like to write your children's birth stories but don't want to share. I believe the writing process can be just a cathartic as the sharing. Perhaps take the time to write the story just for yourself. Journaling as Spiritual Practice by Ann Voskamp has some beautiful ideas on how to do that.
Sarah Eiley Cowherd
Sarah is a mama to 4 wild things and a doula in Charlotte, NC with over 10 years of experience in supporting families of all kinds. With gentle hands and a humble heart, she guides women to experience birth without fear and move forward into motherhood in confidence.