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Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

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momnipotent
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Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

So has anyone had their older kid(s) at their birth?

I was watching a birth on youtube where the mama was pretty loud, screaming "I can't do it" and "I'm scared" repeatedly and her kids were there the whole time. I don't think I'm really comfortable with that for my kid. But also from what I remember of my last birth I wasn't loud, I went inside myself more, KWIM? Although I didn't make it very long without an epidural, so I dunno.
This time I'm really hoping for a homebirth, and I would like DD to be there when the baby is born, but I don't really care if she's here while I'm in labour (actually I'd probably prefer her not to be here, so I wouldn't be distracted). DD will be newly 4 when this one is born.
I have a friend who says she is really loud during labour too, and her 4-y-o attended her birth. She just prepped her LO by watching lots of birth videos together and letting the LO know what to expect and that it's cool if mama freaks out.
I've also heard a mama say her midwife really disapproves of having young children attend because she says of all the births she's attended the kid always ends up traumatized. Although I'm not sure how she could know if the kid was traumatized, and def. my friend's LO was not traumatized. But it does make me wonder.

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Experiences? Thoughts?

Oh, and here's your cute story bonus:
I had explained to DD a few days ago that babies come out through their mama's vagina, and she was like "Ohhhhhh!" As if she had been wondering. Today in the shower she asked me if the baby was going to fall out onto the floor! I told her no, babies don't just fall out they need their mama to work hard to push them out, and then usually someone catches them. And she said "ohhhh!" again. And then said that she wanted to catch the baby, that she is very good at catching. So sweet! I told her the midwife usually catches the baby, but we could see about her cutting the cord.
Which is what got me thinking about this.

momnipotent
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

Umm, that smiley was not supposed to be there. So out of context. I was trying to put kid( s ) (with no spaces) but it was the smiley shortcut and I didn't preview the post. Just so now you have the context.

MamaCaboose
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

No first-hand experience, but I've thought about this a lot with F (who is four). He wants to be at the birth of this baby. He has told me as much, and initiated conversations about it and everything. I've talked to him about what labor involves and what to expect, but at the same time, I don't think that's something you can really get - especially for a kid - until you see it. I don't like watching birthing videos (I know I'm weird) so we haven't done any of that.

I was very loud in labor with him - not the whole time, but I found making loud, low noises really helped me and I plan to do it again. Even without the noise, though, birth (in my experience) is very messy. I worry that it will be either a) scary or b) boring (labor can take a long time, y'all!) I also worry that I will worry about him or feel self-conscious about how I express myself and deal with labor (in the sense of I don't want to scare him, etc.) if he's there. My midwives are okay with older kids attending as long as there is someone else there who is in charge of them.

I have friends who have attended the births of younger siblings, and a good friend who was once the grown-up in charge of an older sibling while attending a birth. They're experiences are mixed. Some definitely found it traumatizing, some found it incredible (maybe it depended on the actual birth? I don't know).

My plan right now is to have F fairly nearby, playing with a grown-up during most of the labor and then, depending on how I am feeling, inviting him in for the very end of it. That way, he could be there, but if I'm not up for it he can come in directly afterwards and be there for the cord-cutting, etc... There is a playground at/near the hospital I'm planning to birth at, so that might be a good place for him to play. We'll see, though.

boigrrrlwonder
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

So, I'm having a homebirth. My plan is to let T stay home and have a care provider for her (finding the care provider is the tough part - I know someone who said she could do it if she doesn't have work and maybe even if she does - she'd have to see; I know someone else training to be a doula and maybe she'd be willing to attend as a sibling doula for free but I need to talk to her more; I still haven't told my parents but if my mother isn't hysterical, she might be an option, too). If she gets scared or it's a really hard labor and I'm very vocal about that or whatever, I'll have the care provider take T out somewhere fun. I do think part of why I chose to do hypnobabies this time around is that I want to try to remain very calm and relaxed if I'm going to birth with T home.

That said, I do think that birthing takes a lot longer than my toddler's attention span. I don't want to kick her out of the house for the birth, but I don't really have any expectations that she's going to watch or participate in the birth. If she sleeps through it, decides to play elsewhere in the apartment, whatever.

MamaButterfly
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

My daughter really wants to attend my next birth. She doesn't really know I plan to have another child, but she's told me several times that if I ever do she wants to be there. I think I'll probably have her brought in at the very end, like when the baby's crowning.

momnipotent
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

Hmm, thanks for sharing your thoughts guys. It sounds like we all have similar plans: keep 'em nearby, maybe bring 'em in at the end, and be flexible. I'll be interested to hear your birth stories and how the siblings did when the time comes! :)

I figure I should add, in the birth video I was watching, even though I was not comfy with the kids seeing all this stuff, they seemed totally calm. Obviously she had prepped them well and it might be more my own cultural conditioning to think of labour as a big scary deal than the reality actually being scary for the kids, ya know? Hmm.

I would kinda like to have DD cut the cord if she wants to.

I do think it's great in theory for our kids to see birth, ya know? Normalize it for them, show them how powerful mama is. But I don't think it always works out that way.

acrane86
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

I will NOT be letting my almost 4 year old attend my birth.

First reason- The hospital I am going to absolutly will not allow it. I can kind of see there point. Apparently, in a lot of cases, the nurses have had to watch the children, while trying to attend to the mother. Probably not what happends all the time, but I can see that being difficult, trying to step over little ones, in a hospital enviornment.

Second Reason- My son has far to much energy. There is no way he will sit and play nicely while I give birth. Infact, he will bounce off the walls, make a crap load of noise, be destructive, and get in the way. My kid has a very high energy level. And containing him in a hospital for 7+ hours seems hellish, to me.

Third Reason- I took a long time to deliver, and I was in pain. And I tore, and bled every-where when I had my son. I don't want him to watch me go through that again.

I think its different for every kid/birthing situation. My combination of hospital birth-energetic kid will not mix well at all.

MamaButterfly
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Re: Having your kids attend the birth? (With bonus cute story!)

Sorry to bump this after so long, but I didn't want to make a whole new post about it.

I met my midwife today. She's wonderful, by the way. I asked her about the kids attending the birth, and she said it's all about preparing the kids. She said it's best to make sure there's an adult there just for them, so they can have attention if they need it, or leave if they want to. She is very much in favor of children at the birth, she told me several really sweet stories and said it can be a beautiful bonding experience for the whole family. I'm seriously thinking about having both my kids attend. They'll be 10 and 6 by that time. I think I'm going to keep it open, so they can leave or stay if they want to, but I'm going to prepare them as if they will be there. This will include books and birth videos.