This is Hope and her story of that first precious moment with her newborn daughter.
Hope’s adoption story — one of a diverse collection of birth stories in my book Birth Your Story: Why Writing about Your Birth Matters — transmits the essence of the book itself: an inspirational and practical guide to help you capture in writing your experience of becoming a parent.
Do you have a birth story to tell? If so, I’m here to tell you:
This book will help you believe it matters, too. It will give you the resources and support to tell your story, whether or not you have any experience writing.
For women, reflections on the deeply personal experience of giving birth are often swept aside in the midst of hospital discharge and diaper changes.
Men are rarely asked to tell their birth story—acknowledging they even have one is rare.
Parents who adopt or foster children, give children up for adoption, or have any type of traumatic birth or birth loss can feel marginalized in expressing their stories of becoming a parent.
The result: many of us are left with unsung stories in our hearts. While we may tell our story to those around us, we don’t pause long enough to fully process it on our own terms, and we censor parts of our story we fear aren’t socially acceptable to share.
The good news: Birth Your Story will walk you through the process of getting your story from your heart onto the page.
This book’s blend of philosophy, how-to, and examples inspire, empower, and offer you the guidance you need to write your story and value your storytelling.
It draws on the wisdom of expressive/therapeutic writing, Non-Violent Communication, yoga, Qoya, trauma therapy, meditation, my doula education, and more.
The book begins by establishing the value of writing your birth story, the benefits of this kind of storytelling, and the anatomy of birth stories-- i.e. the narrative structure, the layers of a story, and how birth stories change through time.
You'll receive a comprehensive guide to support your writing. This guide includes concrete writing advice, exercises to help you get started, writing prompts, support to help you move through blocks, and suggestions for what to do after you write.
Read more than a dozen inspiring stories from men and women with diverse birth backgrounds, including loss, adoption, homebirth, cesarean birth, surrogacy, and more.
This book is inclusive and accessible. It’s for all people who have experienced the power and transformation of birth, regardless of beliefs, background, or the type of birth you experienced.
This book is for you if:
- You’re an expectant or new mother or father.
- You or your partner gave birth years or even decades ago.
- You birthed at home, in a hospital, in a birth center, or anywhere else.
- You’ve adopted a child.
- You’ve lost a child.
- You love writing or you feel reluctant to write.
- You celebrate or feel challenged by your birth.
- You want to shout your story from the mountaintop, or you’re not sure your story is worth telling.
- You’ve had a vaginal birth, natural birth, medicated birth, cesarean birth, stillbirth, traumatic birth, multiple birth, surrogate birth, first birth, or fifth birth.
- You want to read and write some of the most incredible stories of humanity.
- You want to feel like your story, your voice, and your birth truly matter.
- You want to remember, process, (re)claim, heal, and honor your experience of birth.
This book is an excellent resource for:
- Group facilitators
- Childbirth + Parenting educators
- Birth + Postpartum Professionals
- Health care professionals
Birth is the beginning of everything.
A birth story is our personal creation story — a version of the story every civilization in history has written to make sense of its experience. To know where we come from and how we came to be is powerful.
Birth stories are epic love stories. They mark the first chapter in our sacred relationship with our children, whom we love unlike any other(s) on earth. Birth affects everything that comes afterward, and influences how we feel about ourselves, our bodies, our relationships, ourselves as parents, and the meaning of life itself.
And birth stories are not just stories of birth. They’re stories of
- unbridled love,
- rising to face a challenge,
- the pain of loss,
- our willingness to surrender,
- the power of creation,
- human resiliency,
- transformation, and so much more.
The details of any experience fade with time. Writing them down is proven to help you remember and creates a record to remind you of the details later. If a lot of time has passed since your birth, writing helps to restore your memories as you re-engage with them.
By writing about birth, you gain a sense of order, clarity, and understanding about your experiences. Writing allows you to shift your perspective, find meaning, and integrate your birth into the fabric of who you are. It also helps you discover things about yourself, your birth, and the world that you wouldn’t have otherwise accessed. When you do all of this in a safe space where you don’t have to worry about who’s listening and how they will respond to your stories, you can be free to speak your truth.
You may not have been able to control some aspects of your birth, but you are in complete control over your story. You get to interpret the experience, decide what gets written, write exactly how you feel, and say, “This is mine.”
According to research, writing about trauma can help you heal and even prolong your life. Writing doesn’t eliminate pain, but it changes your relationship to it. Use this book to process, heal, and integrate intense aspects of your birth, traumatic birth, birth loss, past traumas, and other challenging aspects of your life that feel connected to your birth experience.
When you write, you honor what birth is: the human capacity to create, to bring life into this world, and to surrender to a force greater than yourself. You honor birth as one of the most powerful experiences you’ll ever know as a human. By giving your stories space in writing, you acknowledge their value.
Sharing your stories is a powerful way to communicate your truth, connect with others, gather support, heal what needs mending, offer your children a cherished account of their births, and even powerfully shape your culture.
I’ve lost a child. I’ve birthed a child. I’m a step-mother. I’ve sat beside women who’ve experienced the profound grief of child loss, and I’ve witnessed the ultimate joys of birthing new life. In a health journey, I lost the ability to have more children. I am awed and humbled by the power of birth and the magnitude of motherhood.
I’ve personally used writing as an expressive, even lifesaving, mode of expression since I was a teen. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s Studies and my Masters in The Teaching of Writing (both from San Diego State University). I was a full-time paid professional writer for nearly a decade. I’ve taught writing and English Literature at three universities. I have privately coached many men and women in their writing journeys. I’ve taught workshops on Writing Your Birth Story. I’ve been awarded prizes and scholarships for my writing.
After giving birth my own daughter, I founded a boutique birth business called Santosha Birth and Wellness. I became a trained birth doula and placenta specialist. I became certified to teach yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Qoya (a movement and embodiment practice for women). I studied with renowned herbalists to formulate natural products that support women in the childbearing season and beyond. I completed extensive trainings on how to support women through many seasons of life.
The work of this book about birth storytelling, and the larger work of empowering people to value and express the power of their experiences and the truth about their lives, feels like a calling. I hope to spend the rest of my life doing this. Combining consciousness tools with expressive arts such as writing feels like PLAY and JOY and LOVE to me.
I wrote this book to support mothers and fathers, children, communities. To encourage others to experience the beneficial and often life-enhancing power of writing down their stories of birth. My wish is that all those who read this book receive the gift of their own storytelling, believe in the value of their voice, and honor their births, no matter what they looked like.
After I gave birth to my daughter, writing helped me process, own, and make sense of my experience. I discovered the power and meaning behind my birth and remembered the sacredness of my own body and being.
I’ve seen it do the same for so many men and women in my coaching and workshops.
Now I want to share it with you.
My hope is that this book will be your midwife, inspiring you to find the value in writing, understand the anatomy of a birth story, and move confidently through the whole writing process, including how to get started, overcoming blocks, how to write, and what to do with your story when it’s complete.
In return, I ask you to be a midwife for this book.
The book is complete and ready for publication, but I can’t finish the process alone.
I’m independently publishing because of the metaphor it holds: just as we need support in birthing our children into the world, I need support in bringing this creation into the world. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, I’m calling on my village to help support this book, so that it can fulfill its mission. Like any mother or father, I’m passionate about helping my creation reach its full potential.
By self-publishing, I am responsible for all aspects of the editing, design, marketing, production, and distribution processes--including all of the upfront costs. I’ve put together a budget with a team of professionals who are highly skilled and aligned with the book’s mission.
I am raising money for a portion (about 50%) of the total needed to complete this project. The rest I have covered myself. I’ve got a lot of skin in the game and am dedicated to making this book a reality!
My total budget of $11,111 (lucky number 11!) to complete the project is comprised of:
- Last rounds of editing: the book will have 5 rounds of professional editing total
- Portion of production costs: interior design, cover design, and printing costs
- Portion of marketing costs: such as author photos, website, etc.
- Kickstarter fees + reward delivery costs
If I exceed my goal, I plan to use the extra funds for more projects to support YOU, sweet community:
When we reach $13,111 (an additional 2,500), I will be able to produce the audio version of the book--such a great way to access this book, especially in the early days of parenting. Gifted to all those who pledge over $20.
When we reach $18,111 (an additional $4,500), I will be able to create a beautiful companion guided journal that will offer inspirational quotes, writing prompts (like those in the book) and ample room to write. A perfect pairing with the book! Gifted to all those who pledge over $35.
When we reach $22,111 (an additional $4,000), I will produce a video course for the book, taking viewers step-by-step through the birth story writing process in digestible, easy-to-access, online videos. Gifted to all those who pledge over $50.
When we reach $25,111 (an additional $3,000), I will invest into the travel and fees associated with attending birth and baby expos, parenting expos, and writing festivals around the country in the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. This will help me spread the word about this book and get it into more hands and hearts. I'd love to come to your city!
To thank you for helping me publish this book, I’ve put together packages of rewards (listed to the right!) to support you in your own birth story journey. These include various formats and quantities of the book, private coaching opportunities, and even in-person workshops and retreats. Scroll up and check out the right sidebar for details!
I will also be releasing Kickstarter Exclusive gifts each week for everyone who donates over $25. Those who donate in the first week will get ALL FOUR weeks worth of gifts, donate the second week and get three weeks worth of gifts, etc. The sooner you give, the more you get!
- Week One Gift: Sneak Peak into the Book (PDF), delivered by email during the campaign
- Week Two Gift: PDF Guide to Telling Your Birth Story, delivered in September
- Week Three Gift: Audio Meditation to Prepare for Writing, delivered in October
- Week Four Gift: Sneak Peak look at the Book Cover (hot off the press!); revealed during the campaign only to Kickstarter supporters.
In addition to physical rewards, by reading this book, you will:
- Feel you have a voice and an important story to tell
- Know your experience of birth matters
- Gain the tools to write your story
- Receive support in finding your voice and honoring your experience
- Have context to share your story if you desire
- Acknowledge the fullness of your experience beyond what feels socially acceptable to share
- Experience freedom from comparison with others - your story belongs to YOU!
- Feel welcomed in a realm that tends to value some experiences over others
- Write your birth story! Remember, process, claim, heal, and honor the experience of birth!
Please SHARE this campaign with anyone who could benefit from my book. Your help in spreading the word about this book will help make this project a success! Your voice makes a difference.
If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #birthyourstory to map the interconnection of people through this project.
I’m especially eager to spread the word that this is a book for everyone, not only expectant or new parents. It is for the full range of birth experiences, not one specific experience of birth.
If you feel moved by the power of birth and are seeking a way to express your experience, you are welcome here.
Risks and challenges
Fortunately, the risks and challenges are low. All parts of this project are ready to go! All writing and editing is complete, the design process is under way, and there is only the final round of proofreading and design implementation to go.
When the campaign is funded, the book will go directly to print production, so I can get copies in your hands as soon as possible.
I’ll allow approximately 6 weeks from the end of the campaign to begin shipping out rewards. This is conditional upon printing and delivery of the books to me from my printing supplier. If there is any issue with the quality or turnaround, this may result in later delivery than expected, but I will let you know if this happens. My priority is to deliver the highest quality book possible. If your reward includes services, such as coaching or in-person work, I’ll be scheduling these session beginning late September and they will take place over the six months following.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)