giving birth

It’s Not Weird To Let Your Kids Watch You Give Birth

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daughter-visiting-mom-and-new-babyDeciding who will be present when you give birth is an important and personal decision, and most people seem fine with that until kids are involved. Yes, that’s right: some moms invite their other children to witness the births of their siblings.

I’ll admit it never occurred to me to have my daughter present when I gave birth to her brother. In fact, I didn’t even realize siblings witnessing birth was a thing until I read this piece on BlogHer about a mom who is firmly in favor of having older kids present during subsequent births. In it, the author details a conversation that happened on her friend’s Facebook page after the friend mentioned her children would be present during her home birth.

My friend is expecting her third child and planning her third homebirth. She wrote: “When I tell people I might have my kids at my homebirth, they react one of three ways: 1) whatever. 2) it’s too traumatic and scary. 3) it’s too distracting for mom. 4) it’s inappropriate. Just curious, what do you think?”

The author went on to share the story of her own birth with her children present and stressed that the experience is not just about witnessing birth, but about something bigger and much more sacred.

Having my children at the births of their siblings is about building our family. Some of the first sounds my son heard were his sister’s voices. My eldest helped hubby cut the umbilical cord. My daughters held their brother on our couch while my midwife looked me over. And after it was all done, all 5 of us snuggled down in bed together at the beginning of a our new family journey.

I don’t know that having my children present while I give birth would be the right move for me, but I certainly don’t see anything wrong with it. Sure, giving birth is pretty intense and there’s always the possibility that something could go wrong, but is it really so scary that we need to shelter kids from the reality of it? I don’t think so.

If anything, I think experiencing the birthing process could be positive for kids. There’s the family bonding element that the author mentioned, but also the way witnessing a birth can show young people that the birth process is nothing to be afraid of and that women’s bodies are perfectly normal and natural. There’s nothing dirty and wrong about sex, babies, and vaginas.

Of course, feeling that way doesn’t mean we should bring kids into the birthing experience unprepared. The Medical Advisory Board at BabyCenter stresses the importance of mentally and emotionally preparing kids if you want them to be around during a birth.

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