The journey of labor, birth, and the initial postpartum days is an overwhelming whirlwind, marked by a cascade of intense moments that unfold rapidly, leaving little time for immediate processing. In the midst of contractions and the demands of a newborn, survival mode takes over.
During these intense moments of birth, a mother often finds herself compartmentalizing experiences, placing them in a mental chest of drawers, and forging ahead. Birth, by its very nature, denies the luxury of time for immediate reflection.
However, it is crucial, at some point in the initial weeks postpartum, to revisit and open that chest of drawers, allowing reflection on both the challenging and beautiful moments inherent in every birth experience.
Whether these moments are intensely traumatic or profoundly beautiful, they demand understanding for mothers to achieve emotional wholeness and well-being.
Unprocessed challenging moments can manifest as negative self-beliefs, potentially leading to detrimental thoughts. For instance, a mother who aspired to an unmedicated birth but ended up with an epidural might harbor the negative self-belief that her body failed, eventually internalizing it as “I’m a failure.” Yet, through timely processing in the early postpartum days—via journal-writing and self-reflective questions—this negative self-belief has the potential to transform into self-love and compassion. The birthing mother may discover that, under challenging circumstances, she made the best decision for herself and her baby.
Conversely, intensely beautiful moments left unprocessed represent missed opportunities to uncover inner strength and newfound self-love. Consider a birthing mother who underwent an emergency cesarean and, amidst the pain, experienced a profound moment of love for everyone in the operating room. Such moments demand excavation for deeper understanding. Reflection and journal writing become tools to unveil aspects of oneself born through these profound experiences.
In essence, each moment within the birth experience carries the potential for personal growth and awakening, awaiting exploration and reflection.
The way to maximize this potential is to ask self-reflective questions and use stream-of-conscience writing to answer them.
- What was your favorite moment?
- What did you do that was AMAZING? List 10 things.
- Reflect on the most difficult moment. What inner or outer resources got you through it?
- When was the first moment that you felt like a mother?
- What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before giving birth?
- List 3 ways that giving birth and becoming a mother has changed you.
- In what ways did you display courage?
- How did giving birth teach you to surrender?
Stream-of-conscience writing is best! — Just let it all flow, without censoring.
“Knowledge comes from books, experts and advisors, but wisdom is cultivated through experience. It’s a knowing in your bones rather than a knowledge in your head. Wisdom cannot be acquired without struggle. It is essential for a person to be challenged in a way that makes them question what they believed was right, or who they believed they were, in order to unwrap the gift of wisdom.”
-Nikki Shaheed, Heart Centered Pregnancy
By writing your birth story and answering these self-reflective questions, you are owning your story, rather than your story owning you. You will discover self-compassion and inner strength and be able to talk about your birth experience with pride.
You will pass on a legacy of birthing wisdom in your maternal lineage.
Loving you from here,
💖 Please share in the comments what you discovered by asking yourself these questions! 💖