The Power of Story

I have always loved babies. In fact, I can remember being at a family gathering when I was around 12 years old and I got to hold one of my baby cousins. It was magical. As a little girl, I loved dolls and had a HUGE collection when I was growing up. Baby Alive was my favourite and I can remember the Christmas that my grandparents finally bought me the coveted dream doll. I couldn't believe you could feed her and she would pee and poop! (Sadly I sold my entire collection of dolls in a garage sale in my mid-20’s)

So it was no surprise to anyone who knew me well that I couldn’t wait to have children. My first child was born via c-section here in Hong Kong. It was not the birth I had imagined and to be really honest, was kind of traumatic. A couple of years later, pregnant with my second child, I came across a book that was rather revelatory. It was a book about having a vaginal birth after first having a c-section. I was interested in finding out more after my experience with Sarah and wanted to do whatever I could to increase my chances of giving birth vaginally. Although there were quite a few things I did physically to increase the odds of this, the thing that changed me the most was the section of the book where they talked about what story you had been told growing up about what it was like to have a baby.

I was born in 1970 and was the first child of my parents. My Mum said she was never particularly maternal but knew she wanted to have children. She had a pretty uneventful pregnancy but my birth was very traumatic. I was born 2 weeks after my due date and was induced. Mum laboured for around 24 hours before I was eventually born via c-section. I remember my Mum telling me that she felt like she couldn’t have cared if she lived or died, it was that awful. That was the story I heard many times throughout my childhood/young adulthood. I didn’t give it much thought to be honest until I read that book. It talked about how our mind is so powerful and how it can recreate a story that it has been told over and over again. I basically lived out my mother's birth with my own daughter!

I was determined to not repeat my mother's story again and with the support of two amazing midwives, Wendy and Tania, I didn’t. I had the most amazing vaginal delivery with Riley. He was born in the bath, surrounded by supportive women and I just felt invincible. I felt like one of those Amazonian women! It was such a powerful moment.

What did it teach me? Our mind is powerful. And so are our stories.