Birth Story Medicine Sessions
for birth Attendants
NURSES | MIDWIVES | DOCTORS | DOULAS
Your time to be genuinely seen and heard:
Honor your inner experience and your stories of birth
There is a folktale about an old woman who lives in the high desert. She is wise, one who knows and gathers, and is known as La Loba because she gathers wolf bones on her walks in the wild. It’s a long, patient process to gather a scattered skeleton; to make it whole again, she must search and find every tooth, tail, rib, and toe bone and arrange it on her table. Then, circling her hands over the skeleton, she closes her eyes and sings a prayer song. Breathing life into what seemed dead, the wolf fleshes out; soon, its ears and whiskers twitch wags its tail, and opens its eyes.
A story recorded in a medical chart is objective, just the facts, and you can never change it. But this is not true for other stories. There is Medicine in folk tales, myths, and our personal stories, all of which are ambiguous in their meaning, meaning that each time we tell or hear a story, we listen to it in a new way, revealing new meaning. The story of La Loba can mean different things to each listener or even to the same listener at other times. This tale suggests the process of soul retrieval. When a person experiences emotional shock or trauma, they describe numbing, disconnection, or getting stuck; some healers refer to this response as the soul leaving the body to protect the human from too much pain. In this case, birth story work requires empathy, compassion, deep listening, and a refuge for the listener while they search and find the missing pieces of their story.
Birth-related professionals are trained to safeguard mothers and babies in childbirth. As a witness to the joys and miracles of modern health care as well as complications and unexpected outcomes. But it’s impossible to be fully prepared or trained to handle this profession's demands and heavy psychological weight.
* Credit: La Loba folktale by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women Who Run with the Wolves
Birth Story Medicine sessions for birth attendants experiencing:
Shock, chaos, feeling powerless, ineffective, sad, and responsible
Feeling grief, loss, guilt, shame; numb to panic attacks
Burnout, compassion fatigue, frustration
A loss of meaning and satisfaction in your work
Feeling disconnected from your patients
Feeling alone and in conflicted relationships with co-workers
Witness trauma, or a moral injury
Considering quitting the work altogether
Working in this demanding environment, it's vital that you have a timeout for yourself, a safe refuge to be deeply acknowledged and see yourself and what happened differently, in a more clear and compassionate way.
About Your Session
Birth Story Sessions are private, confidential, and about one hour long. We can meet in person (if we live nearby), on Zoom, or over the phone.
You may need one session or several. Your session will require single-minded focus—to get the most out of it, please arrange childcare. From the directory, choose a birth story listener who offers sessions to birth attendants, where you will find her contact information and session fee.
Guided Support Groups
Pam England also offers small group sessions (limited to four storytellers); various processes will engage each and all participants in a dynamic way.
My shared intention with birth storytellers:
That is the story you bring to your session - and the meaning you've been giving it - will change in some way,
so you carry a new meaning into your future.
I’m ready to transform the meaning of an experience I lived
or a belief / Story am telling myself about birth