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Oral History Creation Guide and Appointment Center

Why Create an Oral History?

The telling of childbirth stories has a history likely as ancient as language itself. For centuries, women have been passing along information about childbirth to each other in the form of oral histories, although few of these histories have been preserved. Oral Histories allow researchers to learn about experiences in a natural language environment. Oral histories also frequently challenge the single narrative history tradition, especially when these histories focus on underrepresented communities, like new mothers. The Childbirth Archive would like to encourage all interested participants to create an oral history. We have found the experience to be emotionally difficult at times but also enlightening, powerful and beautiful. 

Let's Record an Oral History.

Would you like your oral history recorded and preserved by lead archivist Medellee Antonioli? Book a zoom appointment today!  

Or Create Your Own:

The Childbirth Archive will accept oral histories recorded in a variety of formats, although we do recommend uploading WAV formatted materials (or as high quality format as possible) for archival purposes. All submitted oral histories will be preserved in the format they are submitted in. The administrators of the Childbirth Archive will also create MP3 formatted access copies of submitted oral histories which will be uploaded onto the archive.

The Childbirth Archive has created a standard series of questions which has been used for all oral histories conducted by the Childbirth Archive's administrators. Please feel free to use these questions as a guide.

Interview your friend, your sister or your mom. Interview each other! All you really need is your phone (or something that can record voices). Apps such as Voice Recorder are available for both Android and Apple devices. The first oral history collected for this archive was recorded using the video feature of my phone's camera. Don't be intimidated. We will preserve, format and upload your story for you. Transcripts will also be created upon request. Together we can create an incredible resource for women and researchers alike.

Oral History Questions:

For the following series of questions, I would like you to describe your childbirth experience, sharing as much detail as you are comfortable with.

1. Tell me about your childbirth experience?

2. Tell me about the care you received as a birthing mother? Were you satisfied with the level of attention?

3. Tell me about the care your child received as a newborn? Were you satisfied with the level of attention?

4. How much support do you feel you had regarding your birth decisions?

5. Did you have fears regarding childbirth, and if so, what were they?

6. What do you feel was the most difficult aspect of childbirth? The weeks following?

7. What do you feel was the most rewarding aspect of childbirth? The weeks following?

This series of questions relates to the reading of childbirth stories, information collection and the archive as a product.

1. Did you read or have access to other women’s childbirth stories while pregnant?

2. Did you read or have access to other women’s childbirth stories during the 9 months following childbirth?

3. Did sharing your childbirth story today change the way you feel about the event in any way?

Thank you so much for participating in the creation of this archive!