Should A Doula Write Birth Stories?

Eek, has it really been over 2 months since my last post?  How embarrassing!  Truth be told, in addition to gestating my own child, things business-wise have been slowing down, and neglecting my website has sadly been a result of that.  I attended a birth in August (the night before my birthday!) of a friend that was quick and beautiful.  It was such an honor to be present at the birth of my dear friend’s son- a couple with whom I am so close- there’s something special about that!

In September I met a little boy who has one of the strongest moms I know.  Her birth was an attempted VBAC, against so many odds, and it was an emotional experience for all of us.  However, after attending her birth, I was sent into a place I hadn’t been before as a doula- a place that left me wondering if it’s my right or privilege to write the birth story of another mother.

I have thought about it before.  I have seen articles on the blogs of other doulas that either endorse or discourage a doula from writing out a birth story for her client.  To be honest, I can see both sides very clearly.

I majored in journalism and have used writing as a way to communicate my strong feelings to other people since childhood.  I remember writing notes to my parents when I couldn’t figure out the words to say during those wild hormonal years!  So it’s natural to me to write after a birth as a way to personally decompress. But maybe these stories should be for my eyes only?  I have thought that by sharing them, I am building up my clients and giving them an ego boost, or even a means to remember some details that maybe they had forgotten.  Now, I am wondering if that’s my place?Should a doula write a birth story?

While I have great intentions, the thought has crossed my mind that maybe I shouldn’t tell.  It’s not my story.  It’s my side of her story- my version of what happened- but it comes down to the fact that it wasn’t my birth.  What I saw as something that was awesome might have been a struggle for her, and by suggesting it was awesome could potentially confuse her or make her question her feelings.  What I saw as something that was negative could have meant nothing to her, and I am unintentionally inflicting my feelings on her.  Yes, it’s possible to be careful- very careful- with words, but we all interpret words differently, especially when written and not spoken.  How many times have you misinterpreted a friend’s text or email, only because you didn’t hear how she said it?

It comes down to the fact that I still want the best for my clients.  I desperately want them to have a satisfying birth experience, and after it’s all said and done, I want them to own their decisions and process their experience with confidence that they did the best they could with the knowledge they had.  I ask myself how I come into play at this part?  Is our postpartum visit enough?  Is the birth story helpful, healing, confusing, or unwanted?  These are all questions I will take into consideration in the future as I hope to remodel some of my business during my maternity leave.  Helping women have the postpartum support they need is going to be a big part of that.

Please feel free to leave me your comments as I work through how I will handle birth stories in the future!

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2 thoughts on “Should A Doula Write Birth Stories?

  1. That’s definitely something to think about. I love hearing the stories, but I completely understand. Maybe get permission? It sounds silly, but as a doula, it may help your business by sharing your part of what you did. Maybe focus more on your own feelings and perspective rather than the real birth itself, if you know what I mean. Hmm, interesting!

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