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Birthing Stories: My Mom’s Magical Births

Today, while reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, I had a revelation of sorts. I was reading the first half, the half that contains all the juicy birthing stories, and I saw a similarity in all the births.

Birthing Stories

Most all the birthing women were told that birth is normal, simple, a profound rite of passage, exhilarating, and empowering. They were not raised listening to horror stories of births gone wrong. They were raised with the idea to trust their bodies, instincts… and the women in their lives BELIEVED in them, in birth.

There was no paralyzing fear, maybe a bit of anxiety wondering what it would be like, but at the same time an expectation of good things to come.

My Mom’s Magical Birthing Stories

After reading a few of these birthing stories I realized that I was blessed. My mother was the voice that shaped my ideas and perceptions about birth. She told me her three birth stories while I grew up and learned what birth was.

Jared’s Birthing Story

She told me of my eldest brother, Jared’s, birth. How she read about the Leboyer method and decided that’s what she wanted to do. It just made sense to her that a peaceful, natural childbirth was the way to go.

Jared was born with dimmed lights, low voices and he didn’t cry after he was pushed out. He looked around studying everything, in awe when he was born (or so legend has it). I learned a few things – natural childbirth was peaceful and that I can make decisions on how I want to birth.

Brett’s Birthing Story

My other brother, Brett, when my mom was in labor with him she had the darndest time getting childcare for Jared. She told me how she walked around outside of the hospital with Jared (18 months old), back and forth coping with contractions, just waiting for a family member to arrive to take Jared.

I remember her saying that it really was a good way to cope – walking, waiting with Jared, just going on with her life.

Also, Brett was born on Mother’s Day. What a wonderful gift he was for my mom!

From this story I learned that birth isn’t dramatic – it’s exciting and full of anticipation, but it isn’t something to get your panties in a wad over. My mom showed me how to stay in the moment and how distractions are an excellent ways to cope.

My, Lindsey’s, Birthing Story

For my birth, the grand finale (because that’s really how my mom portrayed it to me), everybody was there – my aunt, grandmother, father, and my two brothers.

I think I remember my mom telling me that it was hot outside (I was born in July) and that my mom made an apple pie that evening.

The whole crew went to the hospital at night when my mom went into labor. My brothers saw me be born, as well as my grandma and aunt.

My mom was so ecstatic to find out that I was a girl after having two boys. My oldest brother, although I hear conflicting reports on this, cut my cord. He was five years old.

My Family’s Birthing Stories

These were the stories, give or take, that I was told growing up. I never heard birth horror stories. Ever.

Atleast not until I was an adult.

I was always fascinating with pregnancies, and birth – but never saw a baby be born until I was 25.

Birthday Tradition

Every birthday while growing up, our birth stories were told, a little different each time of course. I LOVED hearing my story.

My mother never said anything bad, but painted an amazing picture of birth, how natural birth is amazing and normal.

I am thankful for her magical stories she shared in my ear all these years. And I still like to hear the stories.

My Own Birthing Story

When I found out I was pregnant I had a little “oh crap” moment and realized I have to push out a baby, but honestly, I wasn’t afraid*. If anything I was really looking forward to it, “bring it on!”, I said!

I attribute my fearlessness to my mother. She taught me, through her magical birth stories, to not fear but welcome childbirth.

I knew to research my options and to trust the natural flow of birth in my body because of her stories. She is the one that taught me to be interested in birth, and many years later that interest led me to become a doula and now a childbirth educator.

Tell Your Birthing Stories

I share this post with you for a few reasons.

  • When you share your child’s birth story make it magical. Shape your child’s perception of birth like my mother shaped mine.
  • Second, for the sake of those women who weren’t raised listening to magical birth stories, don’t share horror birth stories to pregnant women. Ever! (If you want to share information you think she needs to know, make it factual but don’t freak her out. Share information in a way that leaves her feeling empowered, not shaking in her boots! She’s probably already a little wary and what she really needs is a good, birth story (like those in Ina May’s book)).
  • Third, as a woman, make a point to surround yourselves by women who have had positive, natural childbirths. Listen to stories and catch hold of their passion. Share these stories with other women. Let the positive stories outnumber and eventually replace the negative.
  • Forth, when a women tells you she wants to have a natural childbirth tell her she can do it. Tell her you KNOW she can do it. Be her cheerleader! When a women wants to do something and has the support of her friends and family she will begin to believe she can do it.

Childbirth is natural, normal, exhilarating, and pleasureful. My mother told me so.



*When I was 35 or so weeks pregnant I cried at a prenatal appointment. I had a hard time articulating why exactly I was crying but I really think I was scared about the transformation – the death of a maiden and birth of a mother. My midwife sang a song to me… I have no idea what song it was but it made me feel better.

Enjoy Birth

Tuesday 9th of November 2010

Thank you for this wonderful reminder. It is so important the ideas of birth that we teach children. I remember when I was pregnant and my 8 year old neighbor boy said, "It is going to HURT when that baby comes out!" I thought it was so sad that those were his impressions of birth.

I went onto have a lovely, comfortable and un-medicated birth.

Lindsey (Mother Rising)

Monday 8th of November 2010

@Mamacita - On Pam England's blog, she went into further detail about this. This is what she wrote: "My mother told us several versions of her, our, birth stories. I relished the "magical" stories about the day we were born. For my younger sister, Laura, my mother would say, "You brought the first snow... You were born in the night and when the sun came up, there was a white blanket of snow on the earth." I still think of that story and image every year on the first snow, "my sister brought the first snow."

When a child hears a story that conveys that the day they were born was the worst, most painful day of their mother's life, that their birth hurt their mother, "almost killed her," or details of unwished-for interventions that she had to suffer--what do you think the child feels?

Young children are in "magical" thinking which means they think "they" cause things to happen, that something they did causes their parents to fight, cry, get divorced, or suffer in labor. They carry this guilt and grief, and from their innocent, misguided beliefs they create a constellation of stories about their world, relationships, who they are, and about birth.

No matter what happened in labor, a child wants to know about "their" birth and that their arrival was special. So, find something that was special about the day your child was born, something you thought about, something funny that happened, or something the child did that was endearing, funny, or cute.

Imagine telling a child their birth story as a child's version, a sweet, Magical Story of the day they were born.

A Magical Story is meant for the Child. It is not a medical, factual story, it's not fantasy, and it's not a "lie." It is a unique version of the story that focuses on something special about that child's birth-day: it is a story a small child can hear, and wants to hear. As the child grows up and becomes an adult, there will be plenty of time for adult stories about birth--when they have enough life experience to understand a more complex story."

I hope that helps. :)


Monday 8th of November 2010

My daughter was born via C-section after 30 hours of difficult back labor. I have many positive things to say about it: I labored the majority of that time at home and with great grace. However, she would not turn into position and at about hour 27 I had the epidural and the long road to surgery. I believe that I did everything possible to bring her into the world naturally and gently, but it didn't end the way I wanted. I was exhausted, afraid, and disappointed. I don't have regrets because I didn't have a choice at that point, but I do wish it could have been different.

So. I will happily tell her all the wonderful parts that happened before I had to go to the hospital, but what about the rest? Do I tell her she got cut out of me and be factual? Do I gloss over the truth? Do I make the operation part of the magic somehow? Her father was scared, too -- does he get to talk about that?

I know how to discuss this with an older girl, or a pregnant one. I am a bit stumped about how to tell this tale to my daughter.


Monday 1st of November 2010

What an important message to share!How lucky you are to have a mother like that. I can't wait to tell Penelope her birth story.