Birth can be a sensitive topic for so many adults, add in the intergenerational birth trauma that so many of us grew up in and there is no surprise that some may struggle to talk about birth with their children. It is reported that 1 in 3 women describe their birthing experience as traumatic, with 1 in 10 having experienced obstetric violence. These figures are a heartbreaking reality for so many women, including me.

We don’t want our children to live through the trauma of our births. This means we need to normalise birth and conversations around birth, whilst also acknowledging and honouring that we had a really hard time and that our experience is valid. This can be a hard ask, and also so emotionally draining. Hats off to you for sticking around, doing the work, and talking to your kids about their traumatic birth. 

When talking to kids about their births you can use as much or as little detail as you’d like. You don’t have to tell them every detail about their story for your child to be able to understand their birth. For example, if you had an elective cesarean, you don’t have to tell them the gestation or why you opted for a surgical birth, you could say “We booked a date with the Dr for you to be born. We got to pick your birthday! Your birth was a cesarean-section, which is a surgery to help you be born out of Mummy’s tummy.” Something you can do if your birth memories seem foggy is talk to your partner, support person or midwife and ask them to recount some of their experiences at your birth. This might lead to you filling in some gaps of any unclear or blurry parts. The intention here is not to discredit or make you question your experience. Your birth and your story is so valid and so important. 

As children get used to listening to their birth story and grow older, they will likely start to have a better understanding and ask more questions. Their questions may become more in-depth, or they may come to realisation that their birth was really difficult for you. This is okay, you are not traumatising your children. Keep being open. You are telling your children about their very own journey of how they came to be, it is truly so special. You might even find some healing from your own trauma through your storytelling.

There is no right or wrong way to tell your children about their birth. Talk as often as you want and as openly as you feel the desire to. Above all else, follow your intuition. Your story is so important. We can be the generation that normalises telling our children how they were born.

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