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.