Birthstory: The Journey to Motherhood is a writing workshop open to writers of all experience levels. Our scope and focus for the eight-week session will be centered around pregnancy, birth and post-partum but is not limited to women who have given birth. Becoming a mother can take many forms including fostering and adopting and can have many outcomes, including miscarriage and the loss of a full-term child before or after birth. There is no right way to become a mother: all mothers give birth vaginally or surgically. We do nothing to honor the woman and her story by getting caught up in political debates or guilt-trips. We cannot be advocates for change if we are burdened by guilt or shame. Let us embrace all experiences and do our part to learn what we can from each. Above all, we must celebrate and hold each other up as mothers, as sisters and as women.
What you will need:
The simple tools required for this workshop are a pen and paper. If you're anything like me, the kind of pen and paper will matter a great deal to you. The pen must write just so, the paper must be heavy enough to withstand fierce scribblings. Lined paper is optional. I encourage you to find your favorite ball-point pen, sharpen your yellow Ticonderoga just right, or, if all else fails, scrounge in the back of your van for anything that writes at all -- including your kids' crayons. The important thing is that you have something that will keep up with the flow of your thoughts. I suggest keeping a writing journal that is dedicated to this specific project. Using the computer is fine, too, but you'll want to have a writing journal handy for times when the computer isn't.
Aside from your writing tools, your writing space is nearly as important. In a perfect world, you'd have a beautifully-lit writing studio -- one that is both spacious and noise-free. In reality, most mothers are lucky if the kitchen table is clean enough to use as a hard surface. Essentially, your writing space needs to serve your needs. In addition, if the difference between writing and not writing is lack of devoted writing time, I would encourage you to make time for writing as your kids play nearby. You'll have to get creative: just don't let lack of dedicated space or time hold you back. If you are lucky enough to have a quite, dedicated space and time then use it. And appreciate it for the rest of us! Lucky you!
Less tangible than the former items, but just as important, is commitment. Commitment to the process is vitally important when tackling a project such as the birth story workshop. I don't have to convince anyone that it is not easy or fun to take emotional risks, but without the risk there can be no payoff. Sure, it's scary and hard. It's also important, empowering and inspiring. This workshop will be a commitment of both emotional energy and time. Lastly, commitment isn't about answering to me or any other particpant in this workshop. The commitment I speak of is bigger and more important than that--it is a commitment to yourself to honor and nuture your personal journey into motherhood. Being a mother, especially a new mother, means facing challenges at every angle. The timeline in this workshop may not fit neatly into your life and that is okay. I would encourage you to take notes for future reference and give yourself all the space and time you need. You'll answer to no one but yourself, and I'll be here to support and encourage you every step of the way.