Birth Memories

Penny Simpkin is a physical therapist, birth doula, researcher, and author. She writes wonderfully about birth – the joys, challenges, and ultimate changes that birth brings to a woman and her family. Throughout time birth physiology has remained the same. There is also much evidence that the significance of birth remains as a pivotal factor throughout a woman’s life. This is why we are able to recall details of each of our babies’ births — whether we birthed yesterday, 20 years ago, or 80 years ago.

Penny wrote a piece over 10 years ago about the impact our birth experiences have on our lives and how they remain ingrained in our memories. It is one of my favorite articles.  In it she describes excerpts from a study done that shows how women recall details of their labor and delivery years later.

  “For example, one woman remembered her bag of waters breaking in the living room, and her husband scolding the dog, thinking the dog had wet the rug! Another woman remembered being “mesmerized’ by a paper bag taped to her night stand—she even described the blue flowers on the bag! She stared at that bag for every contraction and will never forget it. Another remembered the excited ride to the hospital, when she and her husband were singing, “We’re off to see the baby, the wonderful baby of ours,” to the tune of “We’re Off to See the Wizard!” All the women remembered details about going into labor, arriving at the hospital, what their partners did (or did not do), and some of the thoughts they had while in labor.”

Their experiences were greatly affected by the doctors and nurses involved as well. Some had positive experiences. Some negative.

“The most important finding of the study was that the women’s satisfaction was not associated with the length or difficulty of their labors, or the need for interventions or pain medications. Their satisfaction was associated more with how they were treated by their doctors and nurses, which seemed to have a great impact on their sense of accomplishment and control, and their selfesteem.”

What do you remember about your baby’s birth? What has your mother / mother in law/ grandmother shared about their births?  Enjoy the stories and share yours with others!

Mary Anne Kenerson, R.N., Coordinator, Prenatal & Family Education

2 Responses to “Birth Memories”


  1. 1 Anonymous July 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Coming up in September, it will be 25 years ago that I delivered my youngest at Beaumont, Royal Oak. I will never forget the kind and gentle nurse who was kneeling down on the floor with her face next to mine showing me how to blow until it was time for me to push. Love the nurses at Beaumont!

    • 2 Mary Anne Kenerson July 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Hearing birth stories is one of my favorite parts of bring a Childbirth Educator. For the vast majority of women they are positive and empowering, but even if a woman had some type of challenge or negative issue during birth that is important to verbalize and work through too. I love the stories so keep them coming! Amazing howmany details we can remember years later. The music I listened to for hours is a trigger for me. My husband and doctor were tired of Pachabel Cannon D after 12 hours but I would not let anyone turn it off!

      Mary Anne


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