If you're new to my blog, you may not have come across the fact that I am one of eleven children. Yes, ELEVEN! It has been a blessing growing up in a large family and the more I grow as a parent myself, the more I appreciate my mother. Because being a mother is not an easy job, as many of us have come to learn.
Our current ages range from 39 to 19. That's 20 years of pregnancies, births and breastfeeding. She's experienced in many of the things I take great interest in and she's a gosh darn saint if you ask me.
I've written a bit about my views on birth. Natural and informed birth is something I am passionate about. Looking back at my mother's stories eases my frustration slightly, because seeing how things were 39 years ago really does show that we have come a far way.
The thing that amazes me the most is how my mother endured pregnancy, birth and child rearing again and again with little support. Unlike me, she didn't have a mother to call to ask questions. Her mother passed away just two days after her wedding and never lived to see any of her grandchildren. My mother was also the first of her siblings to have children. She had a couple friends and distant family, but she was pretty much on her own. Unlike me, she also didn't have the Internet or easy access to the many books I read from the library. She read what she could get her hands on, but what like many people do she relied on her Doctor to guide her. As a farmer's wife, she also did a majority of the child rearing, since my father was always in the barn or the fields. And don't even get me started with the negative comments she received as her family grew larger. She is a strong woman. I think you get the picture?
Last month, when I wrote about my views on Dr. Nancy's pending live-streamed birth, I mentioned that my mother gave birth eleven times and that it certainly doesn't get easier. After reading through some of those comments I realized that something I've always wanted to learn more about were my own mother's birth stories. My mother kept a lot of notes and journals for each of her children and frequently goes back to them when I ask questions. She can easily give me specifics from when her labour started to the date I got braces. She has pages and pages of frayed yellowed notebook paper in her binder listing milestone after milestone. I love her binder. But the one thing that is missing is her overall experience and her feelings and how giving birth shaped her into the woman she is today.
I have yet to write out my full 1st birth story. My goal is to write it out once I get through my mother's stories. I'm planning to post each of her stories separately because we all know how unique each can be. I've given her some questions and now once she has written out a few stories, I have many more follow-up questions to ask. I don't want to miss any important details. I can't wait to share her stories and more importantly, write them out for her.
What would you ask your mother about birth? What important details would you want to know?