The Importance of Our Stories
I know the story of my name. The very shortened version is that my parents settled on "Courtney" as the name for their baby girl. After I was born my dad left baby girl Courtney (me) with his wife (my mom) at the hospital to go home and get their older twin boys to meet their new baby sister. While my dad was gone my mom decided that I didn't really look like a "Courtney" so she changed it to Julie, naming me after one of her close friends. My dad left baby girl Courtney and came back to, surprise, meet baby girl Julie! (Good call, Mom, I agree I've got more of a "Julie" face.)
I like knowing the story behind my name and even the names they passed over. I was almost "Stephanie", to be called Stevie after Stevie Nicks. "Elizabeth" was a runner up and I think "Jennifer" was in the mix. The how of your name can tell a lot about your history, your culture, when you were born, your parents' interests and personalities, and the like.
Think of the other moments in life that have people saying, "I'd love to hear the story of..." how your parents met, how you met your partner, why you live where you live, your children's names, your current career path, your birth story. I can't help myself, I say that to almost every mama in my life, especially soon after they give birth. "I'd love to hear your birth story." Birth stories are just incredible. I love to tell mine, think about mine, read other women's, hear them tell their birth stories aloud--even the hard ones.
It is amazing to know the story of your own birth, or some snippets of it. As an adult, it can be transformative and eye-opening to imagine a younger version of your mom welcoming a baby and doing the work of labor and delivery. I don't think birth stories are ones to be kept secret.
My five year old knows some parts of the story of her birth. And she knows stories of her brother's birth. Her favorite part is when she met him at the hospital... she crawled right into the hospital bed with us and reached over to gently feel his cheeks. I hope that's a sweet memory she will hold forever.
Mamas, your birth stories... tell them, write them, share them.