photo: Khali MacIntyre Photography
The most significant day of our lives, the one day every year we celebrate the child(ren) we brought into the world and both, publicly and privately reflect on the day that changed our lives forever. I believe that no matter how much time has passed, the day our bodies brought forth another being(s) into our world will always remain one of our strongest, most visceral memories. Each year we privately cry that they are getting a year older, but also feel gratitude they are growing and becoming part of our world and chose us as their mothers. For me the weeks leading up to their birthday are little reminders of the months leading up to their birth.
Within my circle of friends, the women dug deep into our friendships and celebrated what was about to happen. Of course our pregnancy’s were celebrated with baby showers, but those 10 months were also so much more. We shared chiropractors, acupuncturists, doulas, took swim and yoga together, shared advice on alleviating pregnancy aches. One of our friends gave the gift of her art in creating “Belly to Baby” books for us. Our pregnancies were treated as an extremely special time and as each of us had our baby, the support for the next person’s pregnancy became stronger. We became strong advocates for each other as women and soon to be mothers in making sure we felt confident in having a voice in our labor and delivery. And when the call went out that someone was in labor, candles were lit, intentions were sent out, a barrage of texts circled around all waiting to hear the news and awaiting her story.
After birth it often feels like it becomes about the baby, however, for my circle it has often stayed about the mom until a few weeks after birth. Meal schedules are made, lactation cookies baked, encouragement and sounding ears are present, postpartum care is a priority and we all wonder about the birth story. The birth story is a rite of passage into motherhood. It is one of the first questions we asked upon seeing each other right after our babies were born. And no one spills the beans to anyone, for the most part, we wait until our friend, the new mother, can share her story herself.
My friend, Nicole, a doula, recently shared a message sent from a client’s mother to her laboring daughter “The spirits are holding your hands.” I found that so beautiful. We were born to our mothers, who were born to their mothers and each of us have a birth story. So I wanted to end Women’s History Month with a tribute to women and their birth stories. We have all gone through the most natural experience in the world and yet our experiences and stories and the journey to get there has so many variances. Next week I am starting a series called Becoming Mom…What is Your Story?, where women will share their birth story and see where has becoming a mother stayed constant and where has it changed.