Before I had my first child, I remember asking my 90 year old grandmother if she remembered giving birth. Her reply was: “I remember it clearly as yesterday”. She explained how there was no epidural or any medical option for pain relief as she had her children in 1944 and 1945. She said it was a life changing experience and she reassured me that I would be able to handle whatever birth ended up being for me. She also told me about the supportive midwife who attended her first birth – almost 70 years ago.
Ask any woman who has given birth and she will be able to recount, with the finest detail: when her labour started, the conversations she had with her birth partner, the sensations and the thoughts that emerge when she realises: “this is it…I am having a baby!” The individuals who are with us in birth can also have a significant impact. Our memories of birth are indelibly imprinted on our memories and we often feel compelled to share our birth stories with others. Often, those stories include a midwife, an obstetrician or a health care professional who made a difference in our care. It can be something respectful, such as “they listened to me”, something supportive like “they reassured me that everything would be ok” or even something as simple as “they held my hand”.
When a new baby arrives, there is very little time to write our birth stories but many of us manage to describe this significant event within hours or days of giving birth. What we often recall fondly is the attention to our needs and the facilitation of a healthy birth by one or more of the people who attended, but the chance to write anything more than a thank you note is time limited.
Here is your chance to write your ‘thank you letter’ – the perfect accompaniment to your birth story. Many of us have a special bond with that midwife or obstetrician who went above and beyond our expectations during pregnancy, labour and birth. Someone who gave us respect during labour and birth and who inspired confidence, as my lovely grandmother stated, that we “would be able to handle whatever birth ended up being” for us.
Is there someone you would like to thank for being a positive influence on your birth experience? Do you wish you could have told that person just how much you appreciated their presence at one of the most significant events in your life?
‘Thank You Letters’ is your space to articulate the gratitude and appreciation for someone’s kindness, strength, patience, respect, humour, silence, compassion, knowledge and a myriad of other attributes that made a huge difference to your birth.
Send your ‘Thank You Letter’ to 42weeks at gmail.com and share in your positive experience of birth.
All ‘Thank You Letters’ featured in 42 weeks have been generously shared by members of the public in Ireland. If you would like to take part and share your story, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch through the website http://www.42weeks.ie/, through Facebook at www.facebook.com/42weeks or follow us on Twitter at @42_weeks.