It’s not easy to get up and read a personal story about your post-baby marriage breakdown in front of a group of strangers. But that is what I regularly ask my writing students to do. Bare your soul on a piece of paper and then read it out loud. I give them topics and a time limit and they come back (mostly beginner writers) looking sheepish and scared. They always start off with a disclaimer: “I don’t really like this, but…” or “I didn’t really know what to say, but…”. Always, the stories are interesting. Always, the group of strangers becomes friends.
It’s amazing what sharing your personal stories can do to transform your confidence and your connections with other moms. Here’s a short-list of benefits to baring your soul:
- The reaction. When you share your true stories with other moms, you will soon realize you are not alone. I have yet to hold a class where a woman did not receive applause, adulation and support. Mostly, women will listen to each other’s stories and discover we all go through similar challenges.
- Sharing stories allows us to learn something new about ourselves, the world, parenting and more. Through other people’s real life experiences, we can see things in a different way and learn to appreciate what we have.
- Writing is an act of self-discovery. Sharing your stories with other moms can help you deepen that process. A woman may ask you something you had never before considered, forcing you to reconsider not only your writing, but your life as well.
- Making friends. Share a story with a group of women about your post-baby career crisis, your struggle with maintaining friendships, your failed efforts to be the perfect mom, and they’ll be your friends forever. There’s nothing like baring your soul to start deep friendships.
We often hide from the truth, pretend everything is fine, believe we can manage. But motherhood is hard, and sharing our stories can help us connect and feel less isolated and alone.
Cori Howard is the founder of The Momoir Project
teaching writing classes to a growing community of moms online and in cities around the world. She is also an award-winning journalist whose work is regularly published in magazines like Reader’s Digest
, Today’s Parent
, and the editor of Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth about Motherhood.
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