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Thread Starter 
Hello beautiful mamas! I saw some amazing writing this week from you. I especially loved the images in the short assignments thread - lots of good seeds for the longer assignments to come.

If you're anything like me, you're wanting to start hearing and giving feedback. Let's wait one more week and we can start to discuss what we have written. The freewrite section will forever be a no-feedback zone and you'll always have the option of not asking for feedback if that is your desire. More on feedback later.

Think of week three as your gathering week. We are going to gather what we need to start work on our birth stories in earnest next week. I'm sure there are many different ways we can go about gathering and preparing for this project, so if something I suggest doesn't jive with you, please feel free to modify to suit your situation.

This week, I'd like you to reflect on the beginning of your childbearing year (the childbearing year includes pregnancy and first three months post-partum). This week's assignment will require less actual writing than in previous weeks, but require more time for reflection and note-taking. Now is a perfect time to invest in some note-cards if you don't already have them. Often when you start thinking about a specific time period or subject ideas will hit you out of nowhere and you'll want to be prepared to take notes.

The first part of this week's assignment will be to brainstorm topics surrounding the timeframe I provide. Spend some quality time with each topic--perhaps an entire day. Throughout the day, make an effort to reflect and periodically and jot down snippits. You may or may not expand on these snippits later, but don't worry about it for now. I want you to simply name the memories. If meditation works for you, meditate. Sometimes exercise jogs my memory (bad pun intended, sorry). The important thing is to take notes on what comes up. Remember: in a brainstorm, nothing is "wrong" and everything gets listed. You never know what may prove fruitful later!

For example, if the topic is

First Trimester

You might list the following, because all had something to do with what happened to you in the first trimester:

pregnancy test
physical symptoms
ob/gyn
midwife
nurse
food
craving
telling family
telling friends
spotting
fear of miscarriage
home study
dossier
foster parent license
IVF


...and I'm sure there would be many more things. Go nuts with this. What was significant about the first trimester? Name the events. Make a laundry list of sorts of all the significant things you remember from the first trimester. What makes something significant? If you feel an emotional connection to an event, it's most likely significant. Don't worry if your lists are long. We'll work on size later.

For this week, we will work on the first and second trimesters, or the six months before having a baby in your arms. Start at the beginning. What do you remember? Just list it for now. Go.