The Story I Love to Share

Christie Megill

I am generally a quiet person and not much for talking excessively about myself. Whether I’m with old friends, new acquaintances, or even my husband, I’ve always preferred to listen rather than steal the show.

That said, there is one story that I will tell with only the slightest encouragement. Don’t worry, I don’t trot this tale out at large parties or with every new person I meet. I’m fully aware that many people probably aren’t interested. But if you want to know the story of my son’s birth, pull up a chair and sit for awhile; I have a tale to tell you!

I love telling the story of my son’s birth (which I prefer to call ‘my birth story,’ despite the fact that it’s about someone else’s birth). Actually, now that I have two sons, I enjoy telling both of their birth stories – a double feature!

When I tell these stories, I don’t like to give abridged versions: “We went to the hospital, and the next morning, he came out screaming!” I go all out, starting at the weeks before labor even began, to give a bit of a prologue, delving into the details of each phase of labor, and fondly remembering my own emotional state and developments over the course of the birth. I end with the days after labor, the physical healing that occurred and the strangeness of a new addition in the home.

While my enthusiastic re-tellings of the moments when I was most vulnerable as a human being — covered in sweat and other bodily fluids — seem out of character for me, I’m pleased that I offer this story up whenever it is requested.

No other experience of my lifetime comes close to replicating the sheer physical strength, the bodily prowess, the emotional vigor, and the unbounded courage of giving birth to a baby. No other time of my life was as transformative or shifting, heartbreaking or terrifying.

And I am not alone in this experience.

No matter what the childbirth circumstance was like for a woman, it is a story worthy of telling. As much as I love telling my own childbirth stories, I equally enjoy hearing the same from other women.

These tales have so much to offer others, not only women, but men as well. They are stories of extraordinary occurrences, made so very ordinary by the fact that they happen over and over to women worldwide.

To those who have gone through childbirth, a birth story is a way of relating to one another through an incredibly peculiar shared happening. To those who are about to bear a child, a birth story can help make the unknowable a little more accessible, and it can assuage the possible fears of what is about to occur. And birth stories are important to those who never have birthed a child because they help to explain a very shrouded, but very human, phenomenon.

I think about the many topics that we, as women, are “not supposed” to talk about — society frowns upon public discussion of many feminine things, from menstruation to puberty to hormones. When we do talk about all things feminine, we are able to see ourselves in one another, and we can support and encourage fellow females.

I love telling my birth stories because they are important — every woman’s birth story is important. Sharing the joy and the pain, the trauma and the ecstasy, is how we can connect with one another, and how we can prop one another up with love and support.

Going through childbirth is life-changing (in so many ways, regardless of what happens on the other side), and the experience matters. Telling the story matters. We all have stories to share with the world and perspectives that are worthy of recounting. I find tremendous meaning in offering up my own tales of childbirth to those who are interested. If your child’s birth story is one that you feel does not merit retelling, then reconsider; it surely does.

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Going through childbirth is life-changing (in so many ways, regardless of what happens on the other side), and the experience matters. Telling the story matters.

This post was written by Christie Megill exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.

Christie is a children’s book writer, literacy advocate, and homeschooling mom to two little ones. A former elementary school teacher, she also writes about education at MicroSchoolery and other online publications.