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  • Writer's pictureSophie Mbongo

Instructions for Sharing Stories

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Collect ONE birth story from a mother at your field site.

Ask anybody you are comfortable talking to who is willing to share her story. This is a “convenience sample”; there are no restrictions or preferences about what types of families or births to be represented. Please follow these guidelines for collecting, archiving, and submitting the story and additional requested information.

1. Ask a woman to tell the story of her most recent birth in her own words. With her consent, record this on audio or video. This should not be a structured or semi-structured interview, but you may need to interject with clarifying questions or to ask about specific details. If possible, her story should include some description of the following:

A. Birth details: approximate time of day & where birth occurred (at home or in a hospital), who was present during active labor, who assisted with delivery, and what did mom and baby do during the immediate postpartum period—rest, infant feeding, care from others, length of hospital stay, etc.

B. Vaginal birth: when did first labor pains begin, when did active labor begin, physically what was she doing during pre-labor, active labor, and pushing

C. Cesarean birth: planned or un-planned, details of labor prior to surgery

2.The narrator MUST sign a Waiver of Release. Verbal consent should be recorded on paper, audio, or video as appropriate. You can use and translate the provided Waiver of Release template, or any other documentation you deem appropriate. Your consent script must make it absolutely clear to the participant that this story will be shared online and that she will receive NO MONETARY COMPENSATION.

3. Establish how she would like to share her story, e.g.: (a) using her own name, a photo, and audio or video; (b) her own name or an alias and any preferences for no photo, audio, or video; (c) as an anonymous contribution with an alias and no photo, audio, or video. Please make it clear to participants contributing anonymously that WE CANNOT GUARANTEE COMPLETE ANONYMITY. Details of a story may reveal identifying factors about the narrator.

4.Provide one high quality image. This may be a picture of the narrator (with consent) or another image emblematic of her or her population. All subjects who are identifiable in a shared photo must consent to publication. Please include photo captions and credits.

5.Transcribe and translate the narrative into English and any other applicable or intermediary languages. Send us ALL audio or video recordings and transcribed and translated versions of the narrative, including narratives in the native language and intermediate translations. For example, to relay a Tsimane woman’s narrative, I would submit (1) the video/audio file of the original recording; (2) the transcription in Tsimane; (3) the Spanish translation; (4) the English translation.

6. Provide the following additional information (if available) concurrently with the story or at a later date:

A. About the narrator: her age, marital status, # of births (up to and including the current birth), # of miscarriages, outcome of last pregnancy (miscarriage, birth, infant death), interval between current birth and last birth or miscarriage

B. About the population: population size, location, GPS coordinates of village or nearest landmark, links to info about population (e.g. research or Wikipedia page), and total fertility rate/average # of births per woman, infant mortality rate, home birth rate/estimate/guesstimate, c-section rate/estimate/guesstimate C. About you: Include a brief bio, links to a personal website, links to a research website, & any other information you want connected with you or your narrator's story. If you or a partner wrote a birth story you'd like to share online, feel free to include that as well!

To submit materials:

Please send files in the following preferred formats. Label each file with your last name and the narrator's population and email to Melanie Martin ( OR Amanda Veile (

Acceptable Formats

Text narrative

pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt,

Demographic Info



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