Why I Hoped Birth Memory Isn’t Actually A Thing

Have you heard the one about the mom who is certain that her daughter remembers her own birth?

I have…although for a very long time, I wished that I hadn’t.

It’s true, it was a great read.  It was just shocking enough, just plausible enough and yet so totally out there that it left you wondering if it was satire.

It wasn’t.  This woman truly believes that her daughter remembers her entrance into the world.

If I’m honest, I buried that article at the back of my memory banks.  I boxed it and left it where I hoped I would never stumble upon it again.  Because it was too raw.  It brought up a question that had been loitering in my mind for almost 4 years:

“What if she remembers?”


I had planned the perfect home birth.  I had meditation music, a birth pool and lots of snacks to hand.  I had my yoga ball and was not afraid to use it.

But – as with so many births – things didn’t exactly go to plan.

Far from a gentle entrance into a warm bath, my daughter was born to the sweet sound of screaming, after 44 hours (yes, 44 hours) of labour.  And then a few minutes after she was born – wide eyed and watchful – her mama nearly bled to death right there in front of her.

Not quite so picture-perfect after all, and since there’s only so much crazy that any one person can handle, I decided to trash the article – in the nicest possible way – and move along…onwards and upwards; far, far away from the tormenting idea of birth memory.

And then this happened…

“Mama, have you ever got dead?  I think you have.  And daddy looked after me, and then…you came back.”

Oh Holy Shit.

She remembers.

I had to calm my brain down for a moment, or several moments, because this random 3-year-old insight was surprisingly close to what actually went down on B-day.

But then something magical happened.  I realised two things:

  1. Even with the ridiculous accuracy of this statement, it is still highly unlikely that she actually remembers.  She likely just has mega intuition…or a wildly dramatic imagination.
  2. Her version of events wasn’t actually so scary.  She didn’t mention screaming, or pain, or fear.  Her voice was calm and unwavering…her mama ‘came back’ and so from her perspective, all was well with the world.

And just like that, a layer of my seemingly endless birth trauma unravelled itself.  Just like that, I felt lighter than before, and a little clearer.

Because if there is one thing that I know to be true, it is that birth trauma is not just one thing.  Birth trauma is not just one memory or one feeling, one moment or one conversation.  Birth trauma is layer upon layer of events, reactions, guilt, shame and loss.

But the thing about layers is that we don’t always have to wear them all.  We can unravel those painful fibres, little by little, until we start to feel real again.

And just like that, with my daughter’s freaky insight, I shed another of my demons.

Here’s to the next.

Like what you read?  Related posts:

If you'd like to receive new posts from Mama Bean Parenting straight to your inbox, just click here

You can also find Mama Bean on Twitter and Facebook