The fascination with birth stories

birth stories

 

 

I became an auntie again over the weekend and it got me thinking. 

Wherever you find a group of mums, you will find birth stories. It’s a regular topic of discussion at toddler groups, coffee mornings or even at the school gates; and it’s not uncommon for visitors to a new baby to coo over the new addition and then almost immediately ask the recovering mother, “so, how was it?” This usually leads to the regaling of the birth story, complete with gory details and comparisons with any previous births or whatever they had read in preparation.

It almost seems to be a competition amongst mums to see who had the longest labour, whose baby was the biggest, who had the most pain relief or none at all, how many things went wrong; and there’s always that one lucky cow who had one contraction, coughed and a baby fell out of her foof. You can’t help but get drawn into it. Even if you start off sitting quietly in the corner, you will soon find yourself telling everyone about the time the midwife nearly sent you home because they didn’t believe you were in labour only to end up delivering a baby 10 minutes later (true story).

The mums of the bigger babies announce it proudly like a badge of honour while everyone around them grimaces at the thought, the mums who experienced difficult births are hailed as hero’s and everyone is always slightly jealous of the mums who seemed to have had it easy. Although how easy can it really be to push a watermelon out of your body?

I’ve probably shared my birth stories hundreds of times over and with 5 children I have had a wide variety of experiences. Everything from the incredibly long and traumatic birth to the one that was so quick I didn’t even have time to really process what was happening. But I still love to hear someone else’s story. It used to make me feel broody, although now I listen with interest and thank god it’s not me.

I do feel, though, that we should cherish our birth stories with pride. Whether they were easy or difficult, natural or through the sunroof, every story is one of strength and endurance and the result at the end is a bundle of squishy goodness that smells of heaven.

Seriously though, is there anything better than the smell of a newborns head? As long as you don’t think about where it’s been of course.

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