Why Writing about Your Birth Story Matters
I shared with Kelly and the Women For One team the deep conviction that our stories, our voices, and our lives as women MATTER. They matter deeply to us, to our circles and communities, and to the collective. In many ways, we are recovering from generations -long silencing of the feminine truth. Part of my life’s work is to stand as a champion for women’s voices, women’s truths, and women’s wisdom.
My background perfectly matches that. I hold degrees in Women’s Studies and English/Writing and have expressed some form of these passions throughout my adult career. I’ve been a professional writer for over 15 years, as well as a college writing professor and an author. I’m a women’s coach, an embodied movement teacher, a doula, a medicine maker for mothers, and a devotee of the feminine, in both divine and human form (which are often one and the same!). I am passionate about helping women use creative embodied expression, in the form of writing, movement, and art, as a way to process, heal, and transform our lives and the collective.
I also have a lifetime of personal narrative around the silencing and expression of my own voice. I spent the ﬁrst half of my life silencing the truth that lives inside—and I know deeply, personally, the cost to women’s bodies, minds, hearts, and souls that happens when we feel like we can’t speak our truths; when we believe that our voices, perspectives, and experiences don’t matter; or when we think that our truths won’t be received and honored.
It makes perfect sense to me in retrospect, as these things often do, that I would write my ﬁrst book about birth and the importance of our telling our birth stories. Birth is an exquisite microcosm of the macrocosm of our lives as women. What happens in our birthing journeys is powerful—birth is an initiation, a rite of passage, creativity at its most potent, the opening chapter of an epic love aﬀair like no other we’ve known, a deep sacriﬁce, a sometimes-dangerous passageway, and so much more.
Our stories of birth are some of the most important stories of our lives, and they hold so much richness for us to explore. Our stories of birth are not just about the physical act of bringing a baby into the world—they are stories of strength, surrender, challenge, advocacy, trust, love, security, body identity, femininity, creativity, sexuality, interconnection, self-conﬁdence, spirit, pain, pleasure, resiliency, loss and grief, vulnerability, presence, empowerment, embodiment, and much more.
I love this sentiment from Jalaja Bonheim in her book Aphrodite’s Daughters: “Giving birth is priestess work; it requires a woman to pass through a painful and dangerous initiation in which she journeys to the threshold between worlds and risks her own life to help another soul cross over.” This is the deeper, true work of birthing women.
And yet. Many women do not feel a sense of agency and empowerment around their births. Of those who do, it’s still not a given that we write about our experiences—that we give ourselves ample time and space in which to fully reﬂect, process, heal, (re)claim, and honor our stories of birth. And not just the cleaned-up, socially consumable version of our stories, but the whole, raw, nuanced, complex, and sometimes-messy truth of our experiences of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.
Writing our birth stories is a crucial aspect of fully digesting and integrating our experiences of birth into our identity and our lives. And it doesn’t matter if you birthed yesterday or three decades ago—writing about your birth has tremendous potential beneﬁts. Some of the most profound healing I’ve witnessed in men and women who have dared to write the truth about heir births have been the parents who were writing decades after the births of their children. You can read all about their births and their experiences of writing in my book.
It also doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a good writer. You don’t have to be a “good” writer, or tell your story in any particular way, in order to write and receive the beneﬁts from writing your story. In my book, I walk readers through how to get into writing in a way that feels really accessible, doable, and actually enjoyable. We toss aside our inner English teachers and get to write what’s true in a way that feels good to us.
To receive beneﬁts from writing your story, you also don’t need to have had a particular birth outcome or quality of experience. Whether your birth was ecstatic and went just the way you’d hoped, or you consider your birth experience painful or traumatic, or somewhere in between, writing about your experience can support you in so many ways. And if you do consider your experience traumatic, I explore how to write about trauma in a way that is most eﬀective and healing.
When we dare to tell the truth about our lives, we give others permission to tell the truth about their lives, and everything shifts. When we accept the power to be the authors of our own lives, and name our experiences and their meaning for ourselves, we have the power to shape culture and the experiences of other women moving forward. In that way, telling our stories is one of the most radical acts of freedom and power there is.
Telling the truth about our births and our motherhood has the power to shift our cultural narratives about birth and how we experience motherhood. The most important act is to tell yourself the truth and to ﬁnd healthy, empowering ways to express and process your experiences. And if so inspired, we may choose to share our stories with others—whether that be our children, our partners, our families, our friends, our communities, other mothers, the world—and the ripple eﬀect that is possible when we speak our truths can change everything.
For more information about my book, Birth Your Story: Why Writing about Your Birth Matters, please visit my website at www.jaimeﬂeres.com/birth-your-story-book-page/. I also am currently accepting a limited number of new clients into my expressive writing and book coaching programs, which you can learn more about here: https://www.jaimefleres.com/work-with-me.