Culture

On Mother’s Day, Ask About Your Birth Story

| 05/10/2020

Illustration by Sophi Gullbrants

Isn’t it funny how each and every single one of us was born, yet so few of us know how we got here? To celebrate Mother’s Day, we made a conversation guide to help you learn more about your journey earthside. If you have never asked your mom before about how she was a total badass and brought you into the world, you’re about to make her day, trust us. And for those who don’t have access to a biological parent: We got a convo guide for you, too! 

What follows is a conversation guide to help you learn more about how you got here. But first, a quick disclaimer: Keep in mind, how you got here is not a reflection of how your baby will get here in the future. So please don’t let this exercise set any expectations for your experience or use it as a point of comparison later on. If you can’t or don’t want to talk with the person who birthed you, skip to the next part.

Seek out the person who birthed you and ask:

  • Where was I born?
  • How long were you in labor for?
  • How did you know you were in labor?
  • What did contractions feel like?
  • How do you remember the experience overall?
  • What was most enjoyable about it?
  • What was most difficult?
  • Did you feel supported? What made you feel supported? What made you feel unsupported?
  • Were medications used? Did you need surgery? What was that like? How did you feel about it?
  • What was pushing me out like? What did it feel like to hold me for the first time?
  • Did you breastfeed? Why or why not? What was that experience like?
  • What was your postpartum experience like? 
  • What was it like to transition into parenthood? 

For those who don’t or can’t have access to the person who birthed you, feel that this exercise is inappropriate, or just don’t want to go there, remember that you are still connected to the history of birth. You come from a long line of birthers regardless. 

Here are a few questions you can ask others and yourself:

  • For those who want to, ask adoptive parents, relatives, or anyone else you wish to connect with about any details they may have about your birth and/or what it was like to meet you for the first time.
  • Are there any people in your life you think are freakin’ awesome and have given birth before? Can you ask them what their experience giving birth was like? Use the questions above to guide the conversation if you want!
  • What was I like as a baby? 

You’re welcome!

Excerpted from the book Why Did No One Tell Me This? by Natalia Hailes and Ash Spivak, published by Running Press, a division of Hachette Book Group. 

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