1. There is great value in oral history. Oral history has benefits no other form of history can quite match. The rich intricacies of a story told person-to-person have been the method of passing information for generations. This first-person account contains an emotion that is lost in many other methods.
2. Through stories, our children will reclaim their power, control, and courage. Knowledge of birth was once passed down exclusively orally, and midwives learned by watching, helping, and doing. It is my opinion our culture is in dire need of a return to these stories. In our time, a generation of women are finding themselves without the strength of birth stories to draw from when they give birth.
3. Choosing the message. I don’t want the uber-medicalized, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” version of birth – or the sanitized, made-for-TV version – to be the only story my daughters hear. There is so much more to it, and if I don’t tell them, chances are no one will. Sharing real-life birth stories may be just the thing to offset the medical model as the ideal.
4. To help them KNOW “16 and Pregnant” is not cooler than 18 and Backpacking through Europe. Enough said, really. What better way to counteract a little bit of imagined baby fever than with a dose of reality? No illusions here.
5. Breaking down fear of the unknown. So much of the pain in childbirth comes from fear of the unknown. I am planting the seeds early to gift my daughters the knowledge to trust their bodies as they become mothers. Removing the unknown is also about removing the giggle factor. My daughters are not the sort to giggle about private parts, because they aren’t secrets, they are part of everyday conversations.
6. So they can tell others. Now and as mothers. My middle daughter had a pregnant teacher in the fifth grade. Did that poor woman ever get an education! E frequently came home telling stories of her discussions with the teacher about doulas, midwives, water birth, and so much more. This freedom with birth information will continue when my daughters are mothers themselves, as they pass along their own birth stories, and the cycle continues.
7. Birth is beautiful. Honestly and truly. The process of becoming a mother for the first time or the tenth time is the most awesome, incredible experience any woman can tap into. That is worth sharing.
8. Guess what? I talk to them about sex, too. I am raising smart, worldly girls who will be armed with the information they need to take on the difficult situations that come up in teen life. Being a teenager is hard enough without being uninformed, too!
9. Feminism aside, motherhood is their legacy. According to U.S. Census data, more than 80% of women become mothers by age 40. I don’t want my daughters to be blindsided by motherhood.
10. Because they need to hear it from ME. Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky stressed the importance of cultural and social contexts through his work in the 1970s. “The more significant and powerful the storyteller, the more significant and powerful the story,” he wrote in 1978. What woman is more significant in the life of an adolescent girl than her mother? I am the right messenger for this story to resonate with them, now and later in life.
Not sure how to share your story? Check out my upcoming free call to learn how! http://storydoulapreview.eventbrite.com/