There's no way you are ever going to forget what your birth was like.
I can't tell you how often I have the privilege of listening to women's birth stories. I've heard stories from, strangers, friends, and family alike - everywhere from laundromats, to parking lots, to old age homes, to shul (synagogue). And it always amazes me how much detail women remember about the day, or days, they gave birth. Not only that, but regardless of how many times a woman has given birth, she remembers so many details and can so easily distinguish one story from the next.
The first time I realized how engrained our birth stories are in our minds was one of the last times I visited my Grandma Louise before her soul left this world. I'm sad to say that by the end of her life she had kind of "checked out" and wasn't really in tune with reality anymore. Some days she thought she was in some kind of dungeon back in Germany during the Shoah (the holocaust), other days she was just minimally responsive because she wasn't quite sure who all these people were who were visiting her and telling her about their day to day lives and how much they loved her. It was so sad to see that she couldn't really hold a conversation with us anymore, but I kept asking her question after question because I felt like continuing to interact with her would somehow change things, or make things better. One day I was sitting with her and asking her all kinds of random questions (that she couldn't really answer) when it occurred to me to try asking her about her births.
I'm sitting here in tears as I remember that day and how she went from seeming like she wasn't even there anymore to telling me about her births, one after another. I so wish I had thought to write down what she told me, but I somehow thought by calling my dad and re-counting it to him afterwards I would remember her stories too. Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, but I do remember her telling me about what she thought of each of her doctors, what her births were like, how much each of her 5 baby boys weighed in at, and their personalities as newborns. I'm not sure that she could tell me which baby was which, but she did tell me some of the doctors names and some other details, just like it had happened yesterday. I was completely in awe.
I was reminded of this experience today when I got into a conversation with another woman who has 6 or 7 grown children and she told me a little bit about some of her births. She too shared with me incredible details, about what happened when and who was there, what they said, that there was a light drizzle outside, and even the details of an interaction that happened during her birth that made her very angry - and my interpretation was that at that moment she felt violated and disrespected by her care provider.
It just goes to show how each of our births stays with us for the rest of our lives. Who says that the experience of giving birth doesn't matter?
I never cease to be amazed by women, their strength, and how their births shape them and stay with them as women, mothers, and even grandmothers.
I want to challenge you today to go find someone who is a generation or 2 older and wiser than you are and ask to hear her birth story in its entirety (or stories). Please come back and share with us one detail that really tugged on a heart string for you.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you. <3