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As I publish each episode of the podcast, I will also be sharing the text as an article on the site.
In this article, you will find EPISODE 05! It was first published Tuesday, February 18th, on your favorite listening platform.
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Hi, and welcome to the CHOSEN podcast, where we explore birth + faith with a doula lens. I am your host, Katherine Newsom, writer + doula at Simple Natural Mama.com.
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Episode 05: HOW KNOWING WE ARE CHOSEN PROMPTS US TO WRITE AND SHARE OUR STORIES OF BIRTH
Childbirth is a moment in a woman’s life which is unique every time she walks through it. It is very personal, very demanding, and a pivotal experience she will remember for the rest of her life. One great way to record important moments in one’s life is to journal and document them. And the greatest way we communicate and journal events in life is through story.
In fact, the act and art of writing and sharing our stories with others, is further cemented in knowing we are chosen. You can write your own story down, and see God’s hand in every moment. Because He gives meaning to our experiences, and He chooses us for this season, to walk with Him, to be coauthors in how we recall, process, write, and share.
Writing your story is incredibly powerful, no matter what experience you are walking through. Putting pen to paper is a way to honor the process, and remember the moment. Writing your birth story is an incredible way to heal, process, and remember your child’s birth, in such an empowering way. By writing your story, you are honoring your own identity in birth, and memory of it. By sharing your story, you are bestowing grace on the process, healing to your heart, and wisdom by your experience to others.
In her novel Walking on Water, beloved author Madeleine L’Engle shares that “There is something healthily affirming about such structure, a promise that we have a part in the making of meaning. This is not a false promise or an unreal self control, but a promise that we are co-authors with God in the writing of our own story.”
Because ultimately, story is how God connects with us, by the story of the promise and the blessing, seen in the covenant over Israel and the covenant bestowed by grace in Christ; the greater story of God’s chosen people. Story is how we see God work in history and further, today. The story of how God chooses us for this season and purpose. You are chosen for your child, for your birth story, for this very moment. And knowing we are chosen prompts us to write and share our stories of birth.
Story is how we relate to each other as human beings, story is a part of our everyday mundane, and story is how we remember and recall and live. Stories are powerful and can invoke tears, laughter, frustrations, and so much more. Stories are recognizable patterns, and it’s in these patterns that we find meaning. Story helps to make sense of life and the world, to help to understand one’s struggles or joys. Life is a story, and your child’s life begins with a story; a story of a birth.
Even more, we are all wired for story. In her book Rising Strong, Brene Brown emphasizes this in explaining how when we hear a story from beginning to end, each line or climax or plot twist, our brains release cortisol and oxytocin — yes, oxytocin, the very same hormone released by our pituitary gland during birth, the hormone which causes contractions and stimulates a mother’s milk production.
How incredibly beautiful and intricate and purposeful is that?! God designed our inner wirings to release the same hormones in hearing a story which we also meet in childbirth and while nursing our fresh babe. There is absolutely no mistake in this, mama. God designed the process, He chose you for this role, and He writes you into His greater story of His family, by bearing a child made in His image in this world.
We honor God, who chose us for this time, who designed our bodies so intricately, when we share how He has worked in our days, when we share our stories – of birth, and of life. And it’s at this moment, when we write or hear or share a story, where we can further connect, empathize, sympathize, and make meaning.
Story is literally in our DNA.
Poet and artist Arielle Estoria shared at the recent hope*writers conference, a statement and a question: “You are needed because your story is needed. There is always room for more because what is life anyway, except a collection of beautiful stories, a collection of your beautiful stories?”
Because knowing we are chosen prompts us to write and share our stories of birth.
Further, Here are three simple reasons for the importance of writing and sharing your story in community with others:
To Process: Writing is truly therapeutic. By writing something down, you are more likely to remember it. And you are naming it. Giving experiences names is very powerful. Writing your birth story causes you to think about what happened, and in this, you process what happened.
For Purpose: This is something which gives richer meaning to what we are walking through. In the context of child birth, story helps to illustrate that experiences have a purpose in your life, to enrich it, or to learn from it. By writing out your birth story as it is still fresh in mind, it helps you to remember why, what, how, when, and more.
To Remember: Memory can be a tricky thing in motherhood, as well as in heightened sensical experiences, especially childbirth. Ever heard of mom brain, or pregnancy brain? Writing things down helps to remember – it’s simple, yet painfully true. By writing a story as soon as possible after it happens, you will remember it better. The details, the feelings, the mundane or trauma of what happened.
Start your child’s life by writing down his or her birth story. One day, she/he may appreciate reading it and knowing the details; And surely, mama, you will, too.
Then share it! Sharing your story is incredibly powerful. Sharing your birth story helps other mothers to know they are not alone. Sharing helps to validate your own experiences. Sharing your birth story can have a ripple effect much farther than you’d ever dream. Because stories travel, and stories help us to know that we all experience the same feelings and things and aches and joys, to some degree or another. Remember, we are wired for story, and it’s how we make meaning in this life. We live best when we live in community; sharing stories is a natural outpouring of this. (Also, stay tuned for episode 07 for more of community and village)
// Let us end with a biblical affirmation for labor: God has planned all the days of my baby’s life already, including this one. My baby’s birth story is no surprise to Him, and it’s an incredible gift to me. This is based on Psalm 139:16 which states, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
//*outro music* Mama, I’d be honored if you hit subscribe, to be sure you never miss an episode. If you long to take this conversation further,You can text the word CHOSEN TO (202) 410-4202 TO BE UPDATED ON NEW CONTENT VIA EMAIL, as well as to download the rest of the biblical affirmation cards. Or, join us in the CHOSEN podcast closed Facebook group, which is linked to my blog, for exclusive bonuses for listeners, specific to each episode. Just search Simple Natural Mama on Facebook, or go to www.simplenaturalmama.com to learn more. I appreciate you! Talk to you next week, when we will learn how being chosen prompts us to record and share our stories of birth, in community.