Matryoshkas and the Birth Story Medicine Process

Matryoshkas are nested wooden “mother dolls,” a folk-art toy that first appeared in Russia in 1890. Hollowed out from linden wood, matryoshkas consist of five to 12 (up to 60) nested dolls, decreasing in size to fit perfectly one inside another.

Every set of nested dolls is elaborately hand-painted to convey a theme, for example, family, in which the outermost doll is traditionally a mother figure and the dolls nested within represent her children. Other themes illustrate peasant life or a fairytale. With the opening of each successive doll, you are drawn further into the story.

The matryoshka is a fitting metaphor for our Birth Story Medicine® Process because, in a similar way, our Process guides a storyteller to open their story, layer by layer, to reach the hidden healing in their story.

A storyteller typically begins their birth story session by telling a detailed “outer” story, e.g., the social or medical version of what happened to them (rather than within them). When it is a story told or journaled many times before, it may sound somewhat “recited” from memory. And yet, there may be untold, unfelt pieces beneath this account. I’ve discovered that many storytellers don’t know there is more or how to get to it, so they settle with their “first draft.” When a story remains unexamined or one-dimensional, it is equivalent to shelving a matryoshka before ever gently pulling it apart to see what’s within it.

In the same way opening the outermost doll reveals a smaller doll within, opening a story reveals a smaller story-within-the-big-story. And within that story is yet another layer of story. Seeker and story-tracker continue opening and examining­ the story until reaching the seed or heart of the story, represented by the innermost, smallest figure in a matryoshka.

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