Home video, digital camera, disposable camera, black and whites, full color glossies, professional videographer, cell phone that takes pictures, the professional photographer you used for your wedding, your mother/husband/sister/cousin with a disposable camera in hand… How did you capture pictures of birth? More personally, pictures of your own childbirth experience? How did you capture your babies first moments in this world outside the peace and privacy of your womb??!!?
No matter how you answer this question, one thing is true; there is no one best way to “record” this precious moment in time…or is there? Maybe nary a photo exists from your baby’s big day. Regardless of the technology you may or may not have employed, here’s a tip on how to be sure you recorded your childbirth experience in a memorable and meaningful way for “posterity.” This is for your children and your children’s children after all…and you’ll be glad to learn it won’t cost you one red cent; a good thing in this economy, huh?
If you have pen and paper, then you have all that is required. Maybe you even kept a journal during your pregnancy. If so, use that. Find a moment to sit with pen in hand and recall all the wonders of the months, days and/or hour leading up to the big birthing moment. It doesn’t matter if your child’s birthday was a week, month or even a year ago. It can still be recorded, and I would like to help you do this if you haven’t already.
The Devil is in the Details
Write down everything you can remember. Truthfully, it’s the little things that you yourself will read years from now and think, “Wow, I’m so glad I wrote that down. I would have forgotten that!” Here are some questions to help you get your creative writing juices flowing:
Where were you when you finally realized you were going into labor?
Were you on your due date, early or late? When did your water break?
What were you thinking? What did those around you do/say?
What did you wear? What did you eat? What did you pack for the trip to the hospital?
And so on. If a detail comes to mind, write it down. Someday you will enjoy reading these little details to your child…and they will enjoy hearing them!
Know Your Audience
As any good writer would tell you, “know your audience.” Well, that’s easy. In this case, your audience is your child; a captive audience if ever there was one. The things that you remember when reflecting back on your child’s birth may seem small or silly even, but believe me when I tell you they will not find it silly to know that just moments before they made their way into this world you HAD TO HAVE a diet coke. What stories do you have to share from this memorable moment?
My friend Molly, the blessed mother of triplets Liam, Morgan and Sophie, told me that not a day after their babies were born, her husband smuggled a mini cooler into her room stocked with cold Corona Lights. Their MD had told them (off the record) that a cold brew-skie might help to get her milk flowing…and as there were concerns of jaundice not to mention three hungry little mouths to feed, her milk letting down was important; the sooner the better. Sure enough, hours after enjoying a beer with her husband while sitting propped in her hospital bed, Molly struck liquid gold and her milk was a flowin’.
We can’t let precious moments like these…drinking beer in a hospital bed with triplets just 24 hours old… fade into distant memories. We have a responsibility to write these down. Here are some tips if you are new to this whole journaling thing. J
1. Make it Personal: Write this story directly to your child. Dear ________, you were in some big hurry to get into this world!!! I was…” What would you like to know about your own birth if you could ask your mom anything? Write these things down for your child.
2. Be Fearless: Don’t edit out the not so pretty details either. If you were scared, worried, nervous…write it down. Maybe you were disappointed in the way things worked out…not going according to the birth plan you had created so intentionally. The truth shall set you free. This is a part of the experience. You and your child will enjoy remembering what actually occurred and how you might have moved through any rough patches that came up in the processes. This may even hold an important lesson for your child in the future on forgiveness and being with what is in life. Be real, be honest…be fearless.
3. Invite Daddy to participate: Your child’s father has a story to be told as well. Ask him to write his own account of the day and keep it with yours. Not only will he most likely get a kick out of being included in the babies journal (which, incidentally has so many bonding benefits I could write about this idea alone for pages…) but you two may even get a kick out of comparing what was going on in his world as you were having your very own unique experience of childbirth.
4. JUST DO IT: Like the Nike ad, and most recently McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is famous for saying…“Just get ‘er done!”.
I am all for technology. Break out the video cameras or whatever. They say a picture is worth a thousand words…true. But in the case of pictures of birth, the visuals may well be enhanced with some narrative by you. So while after you are done snapping/filming away, remember to sit and record your childbirth experience the old fashion way, by putting pen to paper. Your baby will thank you. If you have an entry from your journal that you’d like to share, send it our way. Remember, it’s never too late to record your baby’s birth into this world…just do it.
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers life coaching as Zen Mommy Coach.