A former client in the state I moved from a year ago, and one of my first doula moms, said: "I have been thinking of you because I know like 6 preggo people! I'd be giving you lots of business if you were here!" Awww :)
She also said that she showed some people the birth story that I wrote for her, and it made them want to hire me just from that! This is interesting, because I wrote birth stories for all my first clients, and since moving have stopped doing so. You can actually read a couple of the ones I wrote, with names removed, here: Doula Double Header Part 1 and Doula Double Header Part 2. There are many ways to write one - to the parents, to the mom, to the baby. You can say "you" or "I" or "mom."
There are differing opinions on the alldoulas.com forum about whether or not writing a birth story for your client is a good idea. Many doulas do it, but others don't think its a good idea.
The reasoning is that writing a birth story may alter the mom's perception of the birth, while it is not the doula's story to write. Many doulas say that writing it down from our perspective tells our story, not the mom's, and that's not the point.
The doula may write that the mom was powerful, or the caretakers were kind, and the mother may see it entirely differently. And what to do if it was an incredibly difficult labor and delivery? Can you write the story in a positive light, if the mother doesn't see it that way at all? Or what if you felt it was difficult, but the mother thinks everything went well? It would be terrible if we negated a mother's experience of joy or trauma based on our own perspective of it.
Many get around this by writing only simple timelines of the things that happened - when contractions began, when the doula was called, when they left for the hospital, when vaginal checks occurred, when the baby was born, etc. This removes all emotion and makes it not technically a story at all.
Since doing my certification births I have stopped writing birth stories for my client. One reason was because I read the forums and was confused about how I felt about it all. Another reason was because I liked writing the stories for my blog, but then realized that I shouldn't be posting another person's birth story with my opinions on my blog, in case the mother found it. A third reason was because I had my first birth where I felt a little bit like a failure in some aspects of my doula work - it was so different from previous births - so how should I write it down for the mom? So I just didn't. And I didn't want to write birth stories only for the births I thought were perfect, because that didn't seem fair. So now I don't write any at all.
I still talk about the births with my moms afterward, at the postpartum visit. I ask them how they felt about it, what they remember, tell them funny things people said, or what time things occurred. I tell my opinions if asked, which is hard to do sometimes. And I've learned a lot! Things that I'd feel terrible about they didn't think was a big deal, and things I thought were good choices they felt really upset about.
It's hard to not want to write birth stories for the parents, sometimes, though. Especially when my former client tells me that her husband loves reading the story I wrote for them because it makes him cry, or she shares it with all her pregnant friends. I love to be able to continue to make a happy difference in people's lives for years to come through the story, but I'm still not sure the benefits outweigh the possible risks in other situations.
Do you write birth stories for your clients? What are your thoughts on all this? Please share!