A Day You'll Never Forget

The Landmark Day You Give Birth to Your Child
It happens to every pregnant woman. Other women, old and young, approach her in the grocery store, on the elevator, at the bus stop, almost anywhere, and embark on the "When I was pregnant..." or "Let me tell you about my labor!" story. A swelling belly seems to be an invitation for this kind of well-meaning but sometimes inconsiderate sharing of wisdom.

Why do women want to talk about their birth experiences, even years later? It's pretty clear that this day in a woman's life is not just like any other day. It's the day she became a mother, her partner became a father and her parents became grandparents. But it's much more even than that. It's a landmark in her personal development.

Forever Changed
Let's think about the nature of labor and birth. No other event encompasses all these for a woman: pain, emotional stress, unpredictability, exposure, vulnerability and possible physical injury or major surgery. Once completed, she has also undergone a permanent role change that includes responsibility for a dependent, helpless human being. Moreover, all this usually takes place in a single day or less. It's no wonder that women tend to remember birth vividly and with deep emotion! It's most gratifying when women remember with joy, satisfaction and fulfillment.

Landmark Birth Story Study
A childbirth educator/researcher decided to investigate the long-term memories of women who took childbirth education classes and gave birth between 1968 and 1974. These special women agreed to explore how well they remember their birth experiences years later and what impact the births had on them as individuals. As was the custom in their birth classes, they wrote and submitted their birth stories to their teacher soon after their first babies were born.

Then, between 15 and 20 years later, they were asked to write the story again so that the original and later versions could be compared to see how accurate their memories were after all those years. The women also took part in a lengthy interview to discuss the long-term impact of their childbirths on them and their families.

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