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Part I:  The Kintsugi Process

 Learning to Listen Empathically to Your Own Story

(Four Weeks)

The Kintsugi Process is a prerequisite for Birth Story Mentoring Part II. If you want to give the gifts of empathy, deep listening, and healing to someone struggling with their birth experience, you must first give it to yourself. You cannot guide another through a place you have not yet gone; you can only give another what you embody and lived deeply within yourself. For four weeks, turn your attention inward and experience the healing of Birth Story Medicine. This is why in our Part I, Kintsugi course, you begin with yourself. You begin by turning your ear inward and listening to, and tracking the story you are telling yourself about—yourself, about the medical system, and about birth in our culture.

What does "kintsugi" mean?kintsugi

In the 15th century Japanese began repairing broken ceramics with gold or silver lacquer, a process they call kintsugi (pronounced kin-tsoo-gee); “kin” golden, “tsugi” repair.

In the West, a broken teapot or sculpture will be thrown away, or perhaps be repaired with invisible glue to conceal the cracks and make it look like new. But the Japanese view once-broken pottery—when the pieces are brought together with care and fused with gold or silver epoxy—as even more beautiful and valuable than the original piece. No two ceramics break in the same way, so the lines and patterns of every repair is one of a kind.

The same holds true for birth stories. No two people—even when they are in the same birth room—experience or are cracked open by a birth the same way. Like a treasured ceramic unexpectedly dropped and shattered at your feet, sometimes unforeseen events in birth suddenly shatter expectations, beliefs, dreams, confidence, and even relationships.

Your skills as a Birth Story Mentor will enable you to guide storytellers gather up the scattered pieces of their story and help them to thoughtfully consider where each fragment fits in their evolving belief system and in the larger patterns and relationships of their life. This nourishing story-mending process leads the storyteller to genuinely know that what initially broke them has become a source of compassion, and that the Medicine needed for healing is within them.

Who the Kintsugi course is for:

Every birth-related professional, midwife, lactation consultant, therapist, social worker, chaplain, and life coach —anyone who wants to hear the heart of birth story tellers.

What you will learn about listening to the stories you are telling yourself:

  • What to listen for
  • Tuning into your internal conflict
  • Turning the pages of your Old Book of Rules and Lies
  • Genuine empathic acknowledgement
  • How to break old Rules

Upcoming Courses

How this course works:

  1. One week before each live call (including the first one), you will receive:
    1. A link to a pre-recorded lesson in your email
    2. Access to written modules on the Birth Story Listening online course
    3. Practice-homework assignments and suggestions for the week
    4. Valuable written feedback on your homework and the opportunity to further accelerate your skills and comprehension by learning from peers on the Forum.
  2. A weekly, one-hour live consultation call guided by your Birth Story Facilitator. You and your peers will bring questions and insights to this call, and learn from lively demonstrations, role-plays, and a solution-focused dialogue with your facilitators.
The Kintsugi Journaling process begins with exploring birth stories but can become a pathway to exploring all of your life stories in a more meaningful way.

We cannot heal our stories alone. “No one heals without community. Traditionally [healing] circles formed around genuine wisdom keepers, but we are in short supply of elders these days,” observed Dr. Lewis Mehl Madrona. It is up to us as Birth Story-Mentors to help others complete their heroic return “home.”

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