I was a silent member of the Internet for years, probably 10 years or more. I still retain some of those tendencies. For me it was web development, not childbirth support, but the principle is the same. When I first started learning, I didn’t feel like I had much to contribute or give back. I was learning tons with all the free information on the Internet about how to build the Internet (web pages)! Then I would retreat back into my own little quiet space and practice what I had learned. I’d share my knowledge in the form of skills with those that would employ me. Sure I knew how to do this or that.
But I never shared what I had learned or what I was learning.
For a long time, a very long time, I reasoned that my marginal experiences were inferior to those of the experts. The guys that were writing the code, the ladies that had 20 years of experience in the industry, the ones who already knew everything would continue to share their feeling and insights. I didn’t feel that my voice was worth much. My experience, especially because I didn’t receive a formal training in this area, was of lesser value.
But every once in a while, I would come face-to-face with something that I couldn’t ignore: gratitude. How grateful I was for the lessons that I have learned, the experiences that I have had, the knowledge that I have gained! How was I to express those feelings if I remained in silence?
This realization of the need to express gratitude for the work of others changed me from a passive consumer to a somewhat less-passive contributor on the Internet. My stories are unique to me. My voice is different than others. When I share, I am showing how grateful I am that others have gone before me to share their stories. Suddenly I am giving back, and it feels good!
This is also true of supporting childbirth.
Building a Community Through Stories
An essential aspect of childbirth support is community. How do we create a community without holding something in common? How can we know if we hold something in common unless we share stories?
What kind of community are we building and what kind of stories do we want share? Our focus here is on supporting women and families in the childbirth process. This is what we are looking for. Birth stories are fun and exciting. Usually there’s a healthy and happy mommy and baby at that end. This is not the venue for that.
Rather, here we want to talk about the support structures surrounding the birthing experience, or sometimes the lack thereof. These are the stories that we want to hear. If you’ve ever attended a birth in a supportive role as a family member or paid professional, we want to hear your stories of support and strength. We want to hear how your education and preparation made for a better, more positive experience. We want to feel of your frustrations and sorrows when attempts to support didn’t quite work out how you had hoped. We want it all, because that’s what strengthens the community around childbirth support and ultimately improves birth for everyone.
You may be surprised by how good it feels to write it down and get the feelings of your experience fleshed out before you. We need your stories! We want your stories. Don’t underestimate the value that you bring to the table with your unique perspectives on birth. Be grateful for the experience.
Now, won’t you please take a moment to share your story with us?