Writing Your Birth story: A Helpful Guide

Want to write your birth story but aren't sure how to get started? We're here to help.

Writing your birth story: A helpful guide, Pregnancy & Newborn

If you’ve been reading our collection of birth stories, you’ve probably laughed, cried and sighed right along with us as moms from all different walks of life and parts of the country (or the world) shared the details from the day they delivered their little one into the world.

We’ve heard several moms say, “I wish I could send in my birth story, but I’m just not a writer!” If you’re one of the many who feels intimidated by putting words to such an amazing event, we’re here to help. We’ve put together some questions to guide you through your birth story and help you piece it together. We hope that this small blueprint will make it easy to write down facts as you remember them and then turn those facts into something you can share—if not with us, then at least with your babe when he or she is old enough to appreciate it. Having a record of such a monumental time in your life is invaluable! So we hope you’ll take a few minutes with a computer or piece of paper (or even a voice recorder, if the written word isn’t your thing!) and relive the day you began the crazy, amazing, life-changing journey of motherhood.

First, gather any pictures or mementos from the day that you can find. Do you still have the bracelet your baby wore in the hospital? Her tiny newborn hat? The blanket they swaddled her in? Some moms say that certain smells or tastes take them right back to delivery day—a particular brand of lip balm, a flavored sports drink, a scented lotion, etc. Pull out all the sensory cues you can to help jog your memory. Photographs are particularly helpful, especially if you have the other props handy like familiar smells or tastes. Write down the word the details make you think of—do you remember the day as happy? Confusing? A blur? Empowering? Use that word as a way to start your narrative.

Then, before you really dive in, get comfortable: Brew a hot mug of tea or a prepare a snack, kick off your shoes and set up shop in your favorite reading or relaxing spot. The fewer distractions the better (easier said than done with children hanging around, but at least you can quiet your rumbling belly, right?)

Now with your paper or computer (or voice recorder) at the ready, see how many of the following questions you can answer:

• What time of year was it? What was the weather like? Did it have any affect on the day?

• Were you delivering when you expected? If not, were you early or late? How did the timing affect your feelings leading up to the day? Were you more than ready to have a baby, or was the whole event a surprise?

• Who was there with you? How did they handle the labor process? Were you grateful they were there? (Or did you find yourself wishing otherwise?)

• What did contractions feel like? Were they what you expected? How did you handle them?

• If your baby was born via C-section, what was the surgery like? Did you feel prepared for what you experienced? What did the operating room look like? What could you see? Feel?

• What thoughts went through your head as you progressed through labor? Did you surprise yourself in any way as you dealt with the circumstances?

• How long did you push? Were there complications with your delivery? How did you handle them?

• What was the first thing you said when you saw your baby for the first time?

• What was your overwhelming feeling after your baby was delivered? Relieved? Happy? In pain? Sleepy? Giddy?

• What other details do you remember postbirth?

If you can jot down answers to any or all of these questions, you’ll have your story! And whether you share it with us or not, know that you have a memorable keepsake for a lifetime. Happy reminiscing!

P.S. If you do want to submit your birth story to us—and we’d be honored if you did—you can email it to birthstory@pnmag.com. And don’t forget to attach a picture—or 10!


Image: Pregnancy & Newborn

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