Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Giving Voice to Your Birth Story

Journals: memory keepers; dream catchers, memoirs...

Journals provide a safe place for our dreams to take flight, or for our wish-upon-a-stars to be heard.They are the keepers of secrets, protector of what we shield from the outside world. A journal is a place to give significance to what others may deem insignificant.

Like many others, I have a long history of half-filled journals, left hungry on forgotten bookshelves. From my adolescent years through dating drama to multiple miscarriages and divorce, I have feverishly, with great vigor and renewed commitment, journaled with the hopes that writing would bring me peace, love, and healing. Perhaps these are only accomplished when journals are filled.

I have had a variety of journals, for a variety of reasons. Some held blank pages but whimsical covers, to elicit my creativity...

...others might have been less flamboyant on the outside but still full of life on the inside...

...still, others were more serious and stoic, used for my academic musings...

...more often than not, my journals had specific purpose...

But none compared to the magic and mystic of this one...

In all my years of writing in journals, I had never once filled one from end-to-end; until, I journaled to my unborn son. For so long, I wanted a child but had become resolved to the fact that it would never happen; until one Saturday morning, the Saturday before Mother's Day in 2009 to be exact! The night before, I was having a cold beer with dinner, but the taste of it repulsed me, so I left it. Then, sometime during my sleep that night, I awoke in a cold sweat. Waking up that Saturday morning with mild nausea, I could no longer ignore the signs, so I took a pregnancy test...positive! After trying to have a baby for years and suffering multiple miscarriages, I wasn't convinced; so, I took another test...positive! And, yet another...positive!

For the longest time, I just sat there, looking at all three pregnancy tests on the floor. Through so much time, so many heartbreaks, and all the tears, I found myself pregnant...and single! I couldn't comprehend what was happening so I turned to the one constant, loyal companion I have ever known...writing!

There was a journal I had been saving for months; for what, I didn't know, until that moment! I rummaged through my dresser drawer, pulled the journal out, and wrote my very first entry:

Saturday, May 9th
Hi Baby,
Today is Saturday...come to think of it, its the Saturday before Mother's Day, and I just found out I am pregnant with you! I'm supposed to go dirt bike riding today but even something I've loved for so long pales in comparison to what I am feeling right now. I will gladly give up dirt bike riding to have a healthy pregnancy! 
I can't believe I'm writing this to you! I can't believe I'm pregnant with you! I'm so happy but...I'm also terribly scared. I have wanted you for so long and I almost gave up, but here you are! This is only the first step, though; we still have to get through nine months of pregnancy and a painful childbirth, which I am terrified of, by the way!
I just can't believe it! First thing Monday morning, I am going to call the doctor and make an appointment. I will do everything I can to make sure we have a healthy, happy pregnancy :-)
I love you so much already,
And that was the beginning of the first journal I wrote in from beginning to end!

I knew this would be my only chance at pregnancy and motherhood, so I wanted to savor every moment. I wanted to remember every seemingly insignificant detail, and the only way to do this was to journal.

I could have started blogging at that time, but, for me, the actual act of writing pen on paper made the journey more intimate and meaningful. I felt like it was just the two of us taking those first steps together, and I wasn't ready to share my son with the world!

Through journals, we live the lives others tell us we can't, and we tell our stories. In my journals, I held the child I was told I would never have! In my journals, I lived a love story so fierce and intense, the world forgot Romeo and Juliet! Now, I journal for the sake of writing. Why do you journal? How will you give your birth story a voice?


  1. Wow! I do remember reading your blog and your story and to think my comment was the only one on the only post for the whole year. That is a story in and of itself! I admire the choices you have made and I feel like I have lived through your heartaches just from reading your words. I want to invite/encourage you to write on Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers. You will find a community there that is unbelievable! We write about a slice of life - which you already do! Actually, I have thoughts on my post for this week and you will be part of it. So, I hope you do check back in and I most certainly hope you continue to write publicly. I love your story and you have a passion and skill for memoir writing that is wonderful - I know I can learn a lot from you. Thanks for finding me!

  2. Leigh Anne, I have heard of the Slice of Life Tuesdays but haven't yet participated. I plan to contribute this coming Tuesday. I feel like now you are inspiring me to move forward in my blogging :-) Thanks for your comment, and I'll "see" you on Tuesday!