Family Stories

I was very interested in the recent posts about how children that are familiar with their family’s stories are more confident and self-assured and are better able to handle adversity. Reading those posts, and the original article, I realized that I could retell many family stories, that I knew when and how my parents met and first started dating (in middle school!), how my grandparents met, what their lives were like before they had children and after. I know the stories of my parents’ childhoods and how they fit within the context of my extended family’s stories as a whole.

I also realized that so far I have not shared these stories–or any family stories for that matter–with my daughter. So two weeks ago I began remedying that. And I started with my daughter’s own birth story.

Of course I’m keeping it simple. And short. I talk about how she was in my tummy and we were so excited for her to come. I talk about how I got a little tummy ache and knew she would arrive soon, about how her father and grandmother were there when she was born. I show her pictures of me pregnant and the precious moments right after she was born. I talk about how everyone was so excited for her to join our family and how they all visited in the days and weeks after her birth.

It’s clear she loves the story of her birth and she cherishes the act of me telling it.

I’m so glad that article came out when it did, that I was reminded of how important these stories are. I can’t remember when I was first told the story of my own birth, how my mom’s water broke when she jumped into the pool so she wasn’t even sure it had happened. How my father had wanted to go to work because he’d heard how long it usually takes and how I surprised everyone by arriving only three hours later, with only a nurse in the room and mom’s shoes still on. All I do know is that the story is important to me, and I should have known that my daughter’s story would be important to her.

I hope to tell my daughter the story of birth many times in the coming months. I want her to know it well before we start preparing her for her sibling’s birth, which hopefully will take place in seven short months. I want her to feel secure in her place in this family before it changes, in many ways, forever.

7 responses

  1. In our adoption education, telling your kid their birth story is so important that it literally never occurred to me that a non-adopted kid would need to be told theirs. Ha! (And now that you mention it, I know nothing about mine except that I was born right before a blizzard and that my mom in coming out of the anesthesia after her c-section asked the nurse if I had a big nose.) Thanks for the food for thought.

  2. We just started telling family stories, too – and I’m remembering how much I loved hearing about my parents’ childhoods. So far we’ve told first pets stories, starting school, times when we were sick, and the birth stories (although they are still a little confused and think they were born the same day).

  3. That’s so cool. I’ve never even heard the idea that knowing one’s family stories has mental/emotional health benefits but it totally makes sense. I can’t wait to share my daughter’s birth story with her.

    Also, I love that your mom’s water broke when she jumped into a pool. What a great story.

  4. I was never told family stories. There are dark shadows of stories in my family, and then my father died, taking many of the stories with him. For years I felt unmoored. And the articles helped suggest one reason why I might have felt that way. It really is weird/interesting how that seems to work.

  5. Huh. I LOVE telling stories about both sides of our family, and I have always told them the story of how they were born. They SEEM to have interest in who was who in our family, so I’m not boring them, I think? Both my mom and my MIL are both currently working on their family trees.

  6. I don’t know much about my parents’ past…I need to ask them more questions about these things. I do love hearing stories about me & my sister being little. I need to start telling more family stories to my boys because this theory makes a LOT of sense to me. The more stories we know about us & our loved ones, the more lines are drawn between us all, until we are safely and securely at the center of our little family nests.

  7. I think it’s a wonderful idea to start telling Isa her birth story now… it will be a perfect segue into telling her that she is going to have a litlte brother or sister. 🙂

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