Once you begin to tell people you are pregnant, no doubt you are inundated with birth stories from everyone who is willing to share. Some will be beautiful, some will be hard to listen to, but *most* will have the best of intention: to shed light on something you have no experience with.
It can be completely overwhelming to think about your birth “plan” when you are pregnant. One of the best ways to decrease that overwhelm is to listen to birth stories. It’s a great way to learn about different birth options, and explore what may be right for you.
I’m a firm believer in the more you hear, the better informed you will be once you are in labor. Labor Land is a real place, you cannot expect your brain and logic to work. If you are asked to make a decision on something you have never heard of before, the likelihood of you being overwhelmed and making a decision you may not be comfortable with is high. The more knowledge you have the more educated your decisions will be.
There are lots of places to hear birth stories:
Asking your closest family and friends is a great place to start. I loved hearing my mom tell me mine and my brother’s, it was a great bonding experience for both of us. Even though the birthing culture has changed dramatically, the feelings as you may experience nearing the end of your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are remain similar.
A local birth circle or new mom support group is a great place to connect with other moms who are willing to share. Hearing recent birth stories in your community is a great place to learn about different places to birth. If you are planning a hospital birth, you will find out what to expect during your birth & postpartum stay. You can explore the policies and rules the hospital (or birthing center) may have with these moms to better equip yourself to make the best decision for your and your baby’s care. You may decide that homebirth is the best option for you, you will probably get honest feedback on who the “best” homebirth midwife in your area is.
There are great resources books and resources online, as well. I’m a huge podcast listener. My favorite for birth stories is The Birth Hour, twice a week there are birth stories published from mamas all over the world with all sorts of experiences. The women that share their stories are honest and truthful about their experiences.
Having a “good” birth is simply this: you felt empowered to make the decisions that were right for you and your baby. Listening to birth stories is a great way to prep yourself for the different options available.