2. Our journey through birth is not complete until we complete our Return, which means completing our story, and this is not easy to do on one’s own. Therefore, a personal birth story session should be part of every postpartum Return.
As a nurse-midwife, I was knowledgeable about labor and how to be at a labor. So, when I became pregnant, I assumed I already knew everything I would need to know—but there was something I could only learn through direct experience: being in labor as a mother. And there was something else I hadn’t paid enough attention to: the stories of women who did not feel empowered after giving birth—until I, too, felt shattered and engulfed by the unexpected and pulled under by a wave I call “emotional birth shock.”
I told my story and journaled it many times, making little headway because I could only see what happened from my limited perspective. I likened my futile self-talk to a vinyl record on a turntable repeatedly playing “my failed birth” story as though the stylus got stuck in a groove where my story was “scratched” and kept repeating particular phrases, beliefs, and judgments about certain moments. Eventually, I realized the needle needed to be lifted and set down in a new groove to move forward in my healing. But, try as I might for years, I couldn’t do this for myself; it took someone else to show me how. And that’s why it took me eight years to complete my Return.
Once I knew the way out, I started helping others complete their stories and postpartum Return. So now I, and fellow birth story listeners, are dedicated to the vision that every community should have a trained birth story guide to help parents complete their postpartum Return by completing their birth story.
What does it mean to “complete” a birth story?
It can mean:
- Clarifying a misunderstanding or assumption
- Seeing the whole of your experience versus focusing on one thing
- Challenging an old belief to recognize what is more true
- Finding meaning that is bigger than oneself or experience
- Peace of mind
- Self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-love
- No longer harboring regret, blame or shame.A little more freedom from beliefs and habitual reactions
- Understanding the experience as a journey of initiation, not a failure
“Being grateful for every little mercy.”
— Sufi Master, Irina Tweedie
copyright©2023 Pam England. All rights reserved.