Conclusions About Listening

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” —Muriel Rukeyser

I continue to think about the ideas in the post I made a couple of days ago about birth choices and listening to women’s stories. Though my thoughts are by no means fully “concluded,” I wanted to add a postscript of sorts based on comments some people have left as well as to share some new apropos quotes that keep popping out at me from all kinds of places. I guess my basic conclusion is that as “birth advocates” we definitely should NOT stop sharing our stories–-perhaps what most needs to change is how we listen to stories—how they are received and accepted and heard, rather than analyzed or dissected. And, perhaps also our approach at story-telling itself needs to change-–to being about our experiences and not trying to “convert” anyone. Bottom line for me is that if I was forced to choose, I value WOMEN the most–-not birth or giving birth the “right way.”

I just finished reading a book called Soul Sisters and came across this quote: “I have learned that…in listening you become an opening for that other person.” Perhaps this is how changes are born. And later this treasure, “Indeed, nothing comes close to an evening spent spellbound by the stories of women’s inner lives.”

And, I think the KuKd author made a good point–-most women are “capable” of seeking out the information they wish, without having it handed to them (that supports the blog theory-–the value of sharing our stories via blogs and letting people find them as they wish!). Though, then my recent experience with my brother’s girlfriend shows me that maybe some people really don’t even know that they’d like to seek out the information and I’m back to the beginning again…

Another blogger commented that my post raised many conflicting feelings for her and expressed that she does not believe in a “live and let live approach,” that some choices in life truly are  “wrong.” I have many conflicting feelings about my post too…and I wrote it! However, the basic conclusion I reached with my wanderings was that I think we (okay, I) need to do some serious thinking about HOW it is (and WHY it is) that I share information about alternative choices or tell stories. Because, as the KuKd post I quoted shared, sharing in a specific type of “zealous” way, closes doors rather than opens eyes.

3 thoughts on “Conclusions About Listening

  1. I feel as though I could have written Little Sinners’ post all myself — almost every word reflected my own thoughts.

    However, I also resonated perfectly with your closing line. Over-zealousness has made more enemies than friends, and in the end, I find it to be more important to have lived my life the way I believe it should be, than to convert the world. Heck, I wouldn’t be any good at that anyway.

    When I have my next birthing story to share (in just 10-ish weeks!) I hope I will share the beauty of the story and encourage others to consider natural birthing, BUT that won’t be what I tell everyone. That unabridged telling is only for those whose ears are ready for it, who have at least a modicum of interest in the subject to begin with. What I share with the masses will just be that we have a wonderful baby and greatly enjoyed bringing her into this world.

  2. Pingback: Helping a Woman Give Birth? « Talk Birth

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