All week we’re celebrating the one year anniversary of my ebook Birth on the Labyrinth Path: Sacred Embodiment in the Childbearing Year. Today I want to gift you with a book excerpt about birth stories. The words are quoted directly from the book, but I’m adding a bunch of links here just for fun.
To have access to the full potential of a birthing experience, it can be helpful to read, hear, and tell birth stories. Storytelling is an important component of many Pagan traditions. We tell the stories of our gods, of their lovemaking at Beltane and the Mother birthing the Sun God at the winter solstice. Why should we not also tell the stories of our human courtship, love, and birthing?
The midwives in my local community host a regular potluck and opportunity for new parents to tell their birthing stories. Such a ritual of storytelling may be formally supported in your home community, but you can also always informally ask your friends and relatives to share their birthing stories. People love to talk about themselves, so if you ask in a comfortable setting you may be surprised by the stories that you get to hear. Your questions might even prompt people to pull out old written records and photo albums.
You can also find many birth stories in blogs and books. Ina May Gaskin’s books are great for positive and joyful stories of birth. Do be careful about consuming birth stories during pregnancy, because dramatic narratives framed around fear and danger can prime you to expect the worst when you want to focus on opening to the possibility of ease and health in your birthing.
Television and movie depictions of birth are notorious for tropes that absolutely do not reflect the majority of births: mama’s water breaks, there’s a mad scramble to get to the hospital, she feels terrible pain, and doctors hand over a baby wrapped in a blanket. Little of this is likely to be true for you. Most labors do not begin with water breaking; most labors do progress fairly slowly; labor pain can be managed in a variety of ways; and if you can, please ask for your baby to be placed skin-to-skin on your body as soon as he or she is born so that you may begin to bond with each other as separate beings.”
Excerpt From: Whedon, Sarah. “Birth on the Labyrinth Path.”