Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tips on Writing Your Story for To Three and Beyond

I've started to receive story submissions for the book, and I'm so excited. From the emails and stories I've received thus far, there seems to be a running difficulty: "Where does my story fit?"

I understand the need to want to tell your whole story, as each one is so precious. That's how I got started on this whole project! I wanted to tell the world, "Hey, this is not disgusting or gross. This is beautiful. It's a miracle and a gift. Why should we shun it or throw it away?"

First, let me say that I welcome multiple submissions from each author. If you want to write stories about decision, about family difficulties, and about weaning and submit them all, feel free. I'm going to choose the stories that are the most compelling and that together represent the broadest range of experience that I can.

On that note, let's talk about focusing your story and why: the why first.

My vision for this book, as I presented it to the potential publisher (I'll let you know when that is official!), is that the book will be like a support meeting (think La Leche League for full-term breastfeeders) in a book. I want a mother to be able to pick up the book at any moment along her journey and be able to flip right to a story that fits in with her experience or something close to it without necessarily reading the whole story of every mother represented by the book. Alternatively, I want that mother to be able to hand the book to a friend, spouse, or family member and say, "Here, read these stories. See, it's not just me. I'm not crazy, and I'm far from the only one who feels that this is the best thing for me and my child." or "These parents went through close to the same thing that we are going through!" Thus, the need for focused and delineated stories is clear.

My first tip to a writer asking which part of her experience to write about was to think about the part of full-term breastfeeding that made her feel the most passionate, the thing that made the biggest difference. Write about that first; focus on it. Your story doesn't have to start at the beginning (the decision) and end at the end (a.k.a. weaning). You just have to share with us a meaningful part of your journey. When that's done, feel free to write about the next thing and submit multiple stories if that's what you desire.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I'll be happy to address them as best I can.


  1. Are you interested in older adoptee (relactating) nursing stories?

  2. If it falls into the category of nursing past the third birthday, I'd love to see stories like that! I really do want the book to represent a wide variety of nursing mothers, so that would fit right in. Thanks!

  3. Yes it does. Actually, we are finding many closet foster/adopt moms who have nursed their children that have come to them at an older age, where the child has a sort of primal need to be at the breast to bond. For my child, it was obvious that she had been nursed by her first mother and that she needed to return to this intimacy to help in her healing. An added benefit was this was one more connection and sameness that she shared with her siblings born to me who only knew breast. I can share this request with the adoptive breastfeeding group.

  4. That would be terrific! Thanks :)