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Siblings present (at or near) during birth

Posted by on Jul. 25, 2007 at 4:33 PM
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Hello All!
I'm pregnant with #4! Not due till march of 2008 but set on home birth or a birthcenter birth! I was just curious about other's experience having their other children present at the birth, pros, cons, reasons against or for it.
Hubby and I have three boys, ages 5,3, and 2. We want this one to be a family experience. Just not to sure how much we let them see, hear, and so on,
Thanks all for your input!
by on Jul. 25, 2007 at 4:33 PM
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by on Jul. 25, 2007 at 4:54 PM
Personally, I think that your children should NOT be around you while you are in heavy labor.  They should not see you in any kind of pain.  They're too young.  I would have them come in right after the baby is born - I think it's ok for them to see the blood and mess and cord but not YOU in pain. 

You want their memory of this birth to be completely positive.  A friend of mine had her 5 year old at her home birth, but we (her friends) took turns staying with her in another room while she was in heavy labor.  She was with her at the beginning but it seemed to stall her labor.  The midwife told me that sometimes having children present while a woman is in labor can be distracting.  You want to naturally "mother" them but this is a time for you to completely focus on your labor work, your baby and yourself, not your other children.  My friend's little girl came in right after the birth and was so thrilled!  It was so beautiful to see the look on her face when she saw her baby sister.

Just my opinion.  Good luck and many blessings to you and your family!

 Mother of 2 with one on the way.... 

- Moderation is good as long as you don't overdo it -

by New Member on Jul. 28, 2007 at 11:00 AM
I have had my children around at my home waterbirths.  I leave it up to them where they want to be or what they want to do. My mom was here a she took them out to the park in the beginning so dh and I could get into the space that we need to be without any distraction  My last homebirth my son was 4.5 and did just fine.  My daughter slept thru the whole thing until I moved into the bedroom with the baby.  My midwife has videos and I bring them home and we watch them and I answer any questions they have and tell them sometimes mommies make noises and sing and that helps the baby come out and that my body and the baby are working together.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  This is an event  they will always remember and hopefully later in life it will be something they will do because it was such a normal event in their lives.

"Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, as long as we reach the same goal."  Mahatma Ghandi
by Member on Jul. 29, 2007 at 10:48 PM
(**I can't disagree with that first comment enough.) It's my OWN experience, of course, here. But my 2 1/2 year-old daughter was there for her sisters birth. She was in the tub and got to feel the bag of waters that was birthing before the baby, then she got to feel the baby crowning. She was there as the baby came out and up and was put to my chest. It was her "job" to tell us if we had another girl or a boy this time. Her involvement was SOOO POSITIVE and beautiful. :) And I really believe it has everything to do with preparation, and our relationship. We talked about it a lot. We showed her pictures, her birth video, other births. While I was in labor I considered the sensations "intense" (and she knew it was going to be that way). Nothing to scary here! Some people might not have this much interest in having their older children there, but I really wanted to make it work~~ and I did! It was the best thing that's ever happened in my life. :) I'm glad you asked! :)
by New Member on Aug. 3, 2007 at 12:10 AM
I think it completely depends on your children and how prepared they are.  My girls were 10 and 6 when they witnessed the birth of their little sister in our living room.  Also present were my husband, midwife, doula, and my best friend - whose job was solely to mother my girls while I labored.  I'm a doula, so my kids have grown up learning about the normalcy of childbirth; they've looked at tons of books and watched lots of video.  My (then) 6 year old was more interested through the entire pregnancy, and admitted she was frightened momentarily while I was pushing because it was "different 'cause it was you, Mama".  She has no regrets though.  If they, at any point, had said they didn't want to be in the room, that was always their decision and we'd made sure they understood that.  The bonus with my (then) 10 year old was her lasting impression was that was giving birth was something she needs to wait to be an adult for!

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by on Sep. 14, 2007 at 8:59 PM
Birth is a Part Of life that almost every woman goes threw and Its Not something to hide.
They came into the world The same way the new baby is.
I dont see why we need to hide kids from the truth.
Why Do we tell kids that the Stork brought the baby or that the baby came from an egg or what ever.
Birth Is Beautiful, even if its hard work.
I mean Why Would or should we hide the truth from kids??
We try and teach that lies are wrong and that we should tell the truth.
But sugar coating is basically a lie.
We Are made to give birth thats what are Bodies do, and if you explain that birth is natural and that is Just Hard work why do we have to lie??
Birth is a Wonder, Its Beauty, and Its Nature at its best.
Kids Need the Truth, If they cant trust their Parents For the Truth who can they trust?
by on Sep. 14, 2007 at 11:20 PM
I personally am not comfortable having my kids watch me birth, it would make it harder on me since I would not be able to relax.

If you are enjoy!

I know the hospital I had my son and middle child at both allow siblings to watch the births if the parents like. My eldest (4 at the time) was in the room until my mother-in-law got there and took her out. No staff member ever asked us to have her leave or anything. So clearly not everyone thinks it is a problem!

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by on Sep. 23, 2007 at 11:33 PM

The only time I felt "out of control" was my 15 minutes of crazy fast active labor 100% medication and intervention free, and I WISH my 3 yr. old daughter would have been there because I would have stayed on top of things better. (I went into labor around 1:15 am so she was obviously sleeping) I felt like I was on the verge of losing control and because my hubby was the only one around I didn't care.  My daughter is a calming force and it may sound crazy but well beyond her years.  I know that if she would have been there I could have kept focus and stayed on top of things.  She wanted to be there and voiced that on many occassions.  If she wants to, she will be there for our next birth.

I think it depends on you, and your children and what they are comfortable with.  My daughter has seen birth, knows that the sounds, the pain, the 'mess' and everything is normal.  It doesn't frighten her and I think that is wonderful--I hope it helps her when it's her time to have babies.  It's important for them to see that birth is normal--that possibly is why birth is so medicalized now--because people don't know or recognize birth as normal.

by Member on Oct. 4, 2007 at 12:37 AM
Having my child around was distracting --in a good way. It also reminded me not to flip out, to be okay with things and that it's natural and SUPPOSED to be this way (intense). I loved having my daughter there. She asks me to do it again and I'm considering it, LOL! But a new baby is a lot more than just that one big day, LOL!!! ;) I am going to a birth very soon as the childcare helper. As a doula, I'm used to childbirth but am extra excited to help a family welcome their newest arrival all together! :)
by on Oct. 5, 2007 at 8:30 AM
If my children were a bit older, I would love for them to experience it.  However my Step-daughter is 5 and my daughter is 2.  I am worried that it will scare them more then anything to see me in pain and in heavy labor.  I have deicded to have them at a sitters house and after the baby is born, the sitter will bring them to join us.  I am however inviting my 3 girl cousins, who I am extremly close with, to experience this.  They are ages 16, 13 and 11.  they are excited for the experience.  I think it really all depends on the maturity of your children also.  If you REALLY discuss it with them, I think it could be a great experience for you.  I would suggest having a support person there who can take over watching them if it becomes too much for them.  I just know how my kids are, they get scared for me or their father if they see us upset or in pain.  I think it would scare my children more then anything.

by New Member on Oct. 5, 2007 at 10:56 AM
Seriously guys..........I'm not the mod of this group but I am officially affiliate with Trust Birth, and I don't really think Carla would approve of birth fear being put into a group with her name on it.

That said.............I think it's up to the kid. Some kids would be ok with it, some woulldn't. However I don't agree with shutting them out by default, because you make birth a secret, possibly shameful, scary thing.

My five year old was present when my son was born. She was the first person to EVER touch him. It was pretty amazing to have my entire family in bed after my son came out.  She mostly hung out in the living room and watched TV. We had my father with her to make sure she was ok. If you think your child might get rattled, then maybe recruit a family member to be their "buddy".
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