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“I tell every one of my clients to tell her story. Whoever she can talk to. Tell them! I say tell at least 10 people about your birth. It’s therapeutic to talk about it.” These were the words of a doula I met recently. She couldn’t say enough about the importance of a mother telling her story. And I couldn’t agree more.
Every woman has a story. Well, really, every woman has multiple stories. The more we share our stories openly and honestly, the more therapeutic it is. Whether it’s a story of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, post-partum, motherhood, babyhood, etc., there is a story in each one of us that is begging to be told. Have you ever stopped to consider your own story?
Shortly after meeting that doula, I was talking to a mother. She was asking questions about my oldest and how he was as a baby. I told her he wasn’t an easy baby. “Neither was my son!” I said he was colicky. “So was my son!” I said he refused to sleep. “So did my son!” She said, “We used to take turns walking around the living room with him to try to get him to sleep.” I said I could totally relate. She said, “Isn’t that funny? You think you are the only one and then you start talking to other moms and you realize you aren’t.”
How true is that?
And, that’s exactly why we encourage every mother to share her story. I recently wrote a guest post for another site about my not-so-great breastfeeding experience with my third child. The experience helped me work through some emotions that I hadn’t allowed myself to revisit. And, it helped me see the entire experience in a new way. But, not only is telling your story a point of catharsis for you to look back and reflect on your experiences–the good, the bad and the in between–but it’s also good to share openly and with unrestrained honesty because there could be a mother who is dealing with or feeling the exact same thing and she wants to be able to relate. She wants to know she is not alone. Or, maybe there is a woman who hasn’t experienced it yet, but she will some day and by hearing your story, she has a point of reference to know she is not alone.
Motherhood can be lonely. Even though we are constantly surrounded my mothers, it is still easy to feel disconnected and alone. Maybe we want to open up to others, but we are worried about sounding strange or odd, or wondering if we will be judged.
Well, here’s your open invitation, ladies. This is a judgement free space to share your story. We hope that by doing so, you can process your own feelings, as I did while writing about breastfeeding. And, we hope that your words will also help other mothers and mothers-to-be. No two women are the same, nor will they walk the same journey. But, there is still so much we can learn from one another when we are not afraid to talk about our stories.
We want to devote a large portion of the next few months to sharing real-life tales of motherhood. We invite all of you to take part. Consider what part of motherhood has made the biggest impression on you–pregnancy, birth, babyhood, toddlerhood or just adjusting to your role of being a mom…. Then put it into words. You don’t have to be a professional writer. You just need to be honest. If you’re stumped, ask yourself these questions:
- What do you most remember?
- What emotions did you feel?
- How close were your expectations to reality itself?
- What surprised you most?
- What sort of support did you have?
- How could you have been better prepared?
- What did you learn from your experience?
- What advice would you give your earlier self, if you could go back in time?
Perhaps your expression of your experience is better served through something else, such as pictures. Send them our way. We are open to whatever form your story takes.
Just share it with us. Send your story and invite your friends to take part. Help us as we launch this What’s Your Story? initiative to share real stories from real women.