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Allowing 8 year old to see birth of her baby sibling?

(293 Posts)
hibbledibble Mon 03-Sep-18 09:07:45

I'm pregnant and my eldest DC has expressed that she would like to be there for the delivery.

All my previous deliveries have been straightforward, and I have coped well with the pain.

This time I'm planning a home birth, and the midwives are not opposed to her being there. They have said it is up to us.

This is definitely our last baby too, so her last chance to see a sibling being born.

I'm not sure if the idea is entirely crazy, or a wonderful thing to do.

Aibu to let her see the birth? As it is a home birth she can go to her room and read if she finds it too much.

Merryoldgoat Mon 03-Sep-18 09:10:02

Sorry but I think this is a bad idea.

I’m guessing your labours, whilst I’m uncomplic are not pain-free?

How well do you honestly think an 8 year old would cope seeing her mother like that?

melissa35 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:10:41

Just no.

MountainPeakGeek Mon 03-Sep-18 09:11:39

Holy fuck no...

Pebblesandfriends Mon 03-Sep-18 09:12:02

I actually wouldn't have a problem Reith it if she wants to and there's a dedicated adult on hand to talk to her and take her out if if gets a bit too much.

Ilovewillow Mon 03-Sep-18 09:12:08

I wouldn't have an issue with it! We had a Home water birth with our second as we had no readily available childcare and our 5 yr Old was there for her brothers birth. In reality she killed around the house entertaining us whilst I was in labour, my husband took her out for a walk and she was there for part of the birth and was the first person apart from me to hold her brother. We were adamant that if she was bothered at all then we would've taken her away from the situation and her feelings were a priority. I would be flexible, play it by ear and make sure you have alternative arrangements should you need them! Good luck!

TooTiredToBeCreative Mon 03-Sep-18 09:12:44

My DC wanted to see my youngest being born, home birth too. I let them watch an episode of One Born Every Minute to gauge their reactions- they both decided not to see the birth! They stayed up stairs and came down moments after the birth.

Ilovewillow Mon 03-Sep-18 09:12:53

* milled not killed!

hibbledibble Mon 03-Sep-18 09:13:02

Genuinely, I find the pain manageable. I had no pain relief last labour other than a few minutes of gas and air at the end.

kalinkafoxtrot45 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:13:05

I hope everything will go well for you, but what if it doesn’t? That would be very frightening for a child her age.

LIVIA999 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:13:33

Yes. Absolutely just make sure she understands it all first and has someone there that can be in the room or outside if she needs to get out. What a wonderful bond they would have - a friend did this and her DD cut the cord.
Just don't see it's an issue if you are okay with it.

polkadotpixie Mon 03-Sep-18 09:13:40

I think as long as someone is there to look after her if she decides it's too much and she doesn't want to be there after all then it's fine 😊

Lifespan Mon 03-Sep-18 09:14:46

I think it would be very easily for her at best to feel overwhelmed. At worst feel traumatised for life.
Even a straight forward labour is painful. With lots of bodily fluids.
I wouldn’t.
Maybe she could be first in to meet her sibling?

kalinkafoxtrot45 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:14:51

I would echo having someone on hand to take her, to their home if need be, if it does become scary.

hibbledibble Mon 03-Sep-18 09:15:17

tootired lol. How old are you ready dc? I may watch a few birth videos with her and guage her reaction.

WeeMadArthur Mon 03-Sep-18 09:15:23

It might be worth showing her an few episodes of One born every minute to see if that upsets her or puts her off, before letting her seeing you in that situation. As you say, at least you are at home so it’s easier for her to leave if she doesn’t cope well.

Liquoricelake Mon 03-Sep-18 09:15:29

Absolutely not. I'd have found it very traumatic at that age to see my Mother in pain and distress.

Mishappening Mon 03-Sep-18 09:15:42

Do it - with lots of explanations beforehand to reassure her.

MarthasGinYard Mon 03-Sep-18 09:15:56

No chance would I

But then I find birth videos pretty grim myself

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 03-Sep-18 09:16:47

If she becomes distressed, going to her room and reading surely won’t be enough to calm and reassure her? She’d need a trusted adult to talk to her and explain. But both her parents will be (understandably!) too preoccupied to do that. So I don’t think it’s fair to her.

Even if you have the most straightforward birth ever, and the most predictable 8 year old ever, they could still be alarmed by a normal birth. Blood, a newborn screeching - or not screeching quick enough - tears. Or any kind of discussion of needing resuscitatation or a trip to the hospital. Any of that could really frighten a child and you wouldn’t be able to devote the attention she’d need.

LIVIA999 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:16:56

Years ago children would always have been around when their mothers gave birth, until it was made into a medical issue.
My Dad is oldest of 15 and was there for all his siblings births. Not for mine though as I was born in U.K. And by then you had babies in hospital and he waited in a corridor with the other dads.

JellyBaby666 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:17:28

When working as a midwife, I had some women whose older children wanted to be present and so they were. If you are happy and comfortable with it, and she is aware of what it will entail and you have a plan of what happens if it gets too much for her then it's not an issue IMO. Maybe watch some birth videos beforehand, and talk about what she may see/hear, and if she changes her mind she can leave then I genuinely don't see an issue. It's not for everyone, but its your birth, you can have whoever you want there!

LIVIA999 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:18:10

Ps it might be worth pointing out that I wouldn't! Only cos I'm so squeamish and prudish that I barely let the midwife look ' down there '

stargirl1701 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:19:03

I think it is a lovely idea. Just have a back up plan in case she struggles.

MountainPeakGeek Mon 03-Sep-18 09:19:08

kalinkafoxtrot45 - exactly. Not all births are straightforward. And if it's not, it could potentially be terrifying for a child to witness.

kaytee87 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:19:09

I absolutely wouldn't however that may be tainted by a 24 hour back to back labour ending in episiotomy and rotational forceps.

I remember I kept asking my DH to please help me over and over. It would have been quite traumatic for a child to watch.

Even a straight forward birth will be bloody etc

Jenijena Mon 03-Sep-18 09:19:16

My six year old would like to see his sibling born too, he’s absolutely fascinated by the biology of it. If I were planning a home birth I think I might say yes. As it is we’ve watched some water birth videos.

ClaryFray Mon 03-Sep-18 09:20:17

It's a part of life. I feel that it'd be good. Perhaps good way to stop teenage pregnancy's.

Do what's right for you, and your family

Thebluedog Mon 03-Sep-18 09:20:45

I wouldn’t, I think even the most straightforward birth is fairly traumatic to watch, let alone should something not go to plan.

Liquoricelake Mon 03-Sep-18 09:21:01

Also this birth could be much more intense than your last. A friend had a comparatively easy first birth with just the occasional gas and air. The second was much more intense and unbearable for her and gas and air was like 'pissing into the wind' as she put it. You might still be able to handle it but it could frighten your dd.

AveABanana Mon 03-Sep-18 09:21:42

I don't know if you can get hold of dvds of the series 'Home Birth babies' and/or Home Birth Babies as these would be a more realistic idea of what she'd see than OBEM.

My 3 eldest DC had expressed an interest in watching DC4 being born but when it came to it they were bored, totally uninterested and went to watch telly instead.

MadRainbow Mon 03-Sep-18 09:21:43

You know your daughter best, if you explained everything to her would she be able to cope with it?

Personally I see nothing wrong with it, you only have to look at videos on YouTube to see it can be a wonderful experience for everyone

Rikalaily Mon 03-Sep-18 09:21:55

I think as long as you have had a good talk beforehand, explained that there will be blood, waters, probably poo and trumping. Moaning, groaning, possibly screeching/screaming but it's totally normal and mummy will be fine, it's just hard work giving birth. Obviously the child can leave the room if they find they arn't comfortable but I've never heard of a child being freaked out by birth, most are fascinated or totally not bothered.

user1483387154 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:23:20

If you make any screaming or moaning noises then no.she won't want to see or hear mummy in pain

Rikalaily Mon 03-Sep-18 09:23:54

Forgot to add, our 3 year old was in the room when I gave birth at home 10 weeks ago, she was totally fine.

Dreamingofkfc Mon 03-Sep-18 09:27:25

I would say yes. Not all births are bloody and sounds like you cope well with the pain. My two were upstairs asleep when their brother was born and when they came down the four year old was more concerned about who blew up the pool and how did the midwives know to come etc. I was fairly calm and quiet so actually think they would have been fine watching

PurpleCrazyHorse Mon 03-Sep-18 09:27:51

I think it would be necessary to have another trusted adult there to support your DD if needed. Obviously you can't do that and probably not your DH. Even if you're happy with labouring alone while DH supports your DD, if something bad happened he might need to make decisions and be with the new baby. I would definitely have a trusted adult there, if nothing else to make sure she's fed and not lonely if she wants to be elsewhere in the house.

I'd watch a few birth videos with her (some hospital ones and some home ones) and see how she feels after that.

PaddyF0dder Mon 03-Sep-18 09:27:59

Holy shit no.

LoniceraJaponica Mon 03-Sep-18 09:28:15

I think watching some OBEM with her first would be a good idea.

Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable having a child in the room with me. I remember watching a baby being born at age 10 or 11 when we had our sex ed talk at primary school (a long time ago, so it would have been black and white cine film) and several children had to leave the room because they were so upset.

LaurieMarlow Mon 03-Sep-18 09:29:10

I think as long as someone is there to look after her if she decides it's too much and she doesn't want to be there after all then it's fine

This. It's probably not something I would do, but I can see that in the right circumstances it would be a good experience for her.

GreatDuckCookery6211 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:29:18

You know your child and how mature she is and whether she would be able to cope with it. Watching some birth videos is a good idea as well as talking in depth about the process, about how you will be in a lot of pain, that it takes a long time and she might get bored and fed up, that you won't be able to talk to her most of the time especially near delivery.

I wouldn't say no immediately OP. As you're planning a home birth I think having her there at the delivery is something you could accommodate, DH or a grandparent etc could bring her in when you're ready to give birth.

Personally I think if everything goes to plan and she's still happy to be there then it's something I would do.

AmIRightOrAMeringue Mon 03-Sep-18 09:29:27

I'd see how she gets on watching a few birth videos. If she is fine with it then I don't think it's an issue

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 03-Sep-18 09:30:33

Forgot to add, our 3 year old was in the room when I gave birth at home 10 weeks ago, she was totally fine.

The difference is your 3 year old probably wouldn't have remember its whether it was a positive or not so positive experience due to her age.

An 8 year old is very likely to remember the event in detail and what might seem like a positive good birthing experience for yourself could seem very daunting and overwhelming for your child. If she finds it hard to deal with she wont be able to leave the house and remove herself from the situation.

nooddsocksforme Mon 03-Sep-18 09:30:51

As others have already said there will be blood and could tear or need an episiotomy . I have watched births and it’s scary when the midwife picks up the scissors . Is she going to be able to cope with all that . Could she come in once you have crowned for just the very last bit - which is amazing

SoupDragon Mon 03-Sep-18 09:31:55

You also need to be prepared for the possibility that you might suddenly want her gone. I found that with DSs when DD was born - they were in another room but I needed them out of the house right now

noprobllamas Mon 03-Sep-18 09:32:11

I had a homebirth with DD2, DD1 was 6 nearly 7 at the time, she was allowed to pop in and out and my sister was there to look after her. She was asleep for most of the labour as it was during the night but was there for the last hour or so. She was fasinated if anything and was really mature about the situation, we'd talked a lot about it before hand so she knew what to expect. Some people might think it's a bit odd but it was an amazing moment to have shared as a family

spreadingchestnuttree Mon 03-Sep-18 09:32:54

My eldest had watched a lot of OBEM by that age and I think would have loved being present. Such a personal decision though as every mother, every child, and every birth is different so I'm not sure other people can help you decide!

Good luck smile

championquartz Mon 03-Sep-18 09:34:05

I think it depends on how you think she'll manage. Watching One Born Every Minute is a good idea.

Personally, even for the most straightforward and easy deliveries, I don't think my own 8 year old mind would have coped, and I think I'd have had a bit of post traumatic stress.

ShovingLeopard Mon 03-Sep-18 09:35:51

I really, really wouldn't. And I wouldn't even let her watch OBEM. You might be surprised how many women with Tokophobia developed it from watching a film of a birth at too young an age.

grace7 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:37:58

I don't think there's a problem with it. As previously said, explain that it might be messy / loud but that it's totally normal and you'll be fine. Make sure she knows she can go if it gets a bit overwhelming. I watched both my siblings births, granted I was older (14), but despite my mum having quite a hard time I feel it was a good experience and I'm so glad to have been there to see my little sisters birth. I'm now hoping to train to be a midwife.grin

SootyandMathew Mon 03-Sep-18 09:39:01

3 of my nephews watched their youngest sibling born. The oldest was asleep in bed and absolutely disgusted no one woke him.

They range in age from 5 to 10. And they all loved being there.

PetraRabbit Mon 03-Sep-18 09:41:58

This is the point I'd make. She's not 3 or 4 years old where all you have to worry about is whether she's upset to see Mummy in pain. She's a little girl and will be aware that if SHE wants to be a mummy one day, she'll have to give birth too and do all of this. When I was 8 that's what would have been foremost in my mind and I would have had ongoing anxiety if it involved anything more than fluffy clouds and a stork.

Sunnyjac Mon 03-Sep-18 09:43:45

Up to you, only you can know how she’ll cope with it

blessedday Mon 03-Sep-18 09:44:45

Go for it. I was 8 when I saw one sibling come into the world and 11 for the next. Both were home births, my mum, like you, had had 3 previous uncomplicated births so decided to let me be a part of it. I remember being absolutely fascinated and standing down the 'business end' watching the babies appear.

My plans to have a similar natural home birth for mine didn't materialise though as I seem to have not inherited the same skills at giving birth as my mum - I had one ECS and one planned CS!

Gottagetmoving Mon 03-Sep-18 09:44:49

It all depends on the mother and child. You are the best person to know if your child can cope with it.
The people who are saying no, definitely not, should not let their dc be present because they have an issue or fear that it's not right so it would not be a positive experience for the child.
If there are no problems expected and you feel confident, then yes, you should go for it. Your daughter may cope with it better than some adults. If at any point she wants to leave, then let her.

Screaminginsidemeagain Mon 03-Sep-18 09:47:44

You know your child.
I’d let my oldest but my youngest is a different temperament and I don’t think it would be a good idea for her.

Some people can cope others can’t
My husband loved watchin the births, other men I know regret being there and some point blank refused.

You know what they can handle.
I would make sure someone was there just for them though, to support them, for questions, explanations and to take them out and reassure if they need it.

SylvesterTheCat Mon 03-Sep-18 09:48:42

Even if she is taken out after a while because it's too much, surely her imagination would go wild and expect the worse.

I had a similar birth to you- just a bit of gas at the end- but I still moaned a lot and even told my DH at the time that it looked/sounded a lot worse than it was. That's just my experience.

I would say no, just to be on the safe side, in case it scarred for life.

5krunning Mon 03-Sep-18 09:49:12

No you need to focus on yourself without moderating your behaviour for your young DD.
She says she wants to be there but at 8, she can't possibly understand what really goes on

AngelicDarkness Mon 03-Sep-18 09:50:14

I was 9 nearly 10 when I watched my sister being born. I had expressed I wanted to be there and be with my Mum.

I don't regret it. I did get forgotten at the final push and was at the wrong end of the bed ( saw everything. Went a bit green) but it was all forgotten with very quickly.

It was the best form of birth control I ever received. It helped me understand exactly what happens and it isn't all sweetness and roses. It showed me the strength a female body has and can endure.....

And just how bloody painful it is!! XD

Gottagetmoving Mon 03-Sep-18 09:52:57

She says she wants to be there but at 8, she can't possibly understand what really goes on

If OP has taught her DD what birth entails, then she will know what goes on. At eight I was fascinated by childbirth and was aware of what goes on!

EnthusiasmIsDisturbed Mon 03-Sep-18 09:53:40


Eight year old want to do many things that are not age appropriate

Let her be the first to dress or wash her sibling so she feels part of the experience

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 03-Sep-18 09:53:42

If at any point she wants to leave, then let her.

It is not really as simple as that though is it? Chances are by the time she has vocalised she wants to leave (providing she feels confident enough to speak up) she will have already seen things that have worried and negatively affected her. Then there's the problem of who does she leave with, she is 8 and cannot just go by herself and obviously both her parents are preoccupied. Plus even if she moved to another room she would likely still hear what was happening, unless the Op is the least vocal person ever when giving birth or her house is huge.

dentie Mon 03-Sep-18 09:55:56

Absolutely not. It could be distressing for her. It will distract you. Something may go wrong.

Just because it happened years ago doesn't mean it's ok!

Notasunnybunny Mon 03-Sep-18 09:56:09

I did this, loads of people on here told me me not to but I knew my child, they didn’t. He loved it, he cut the cord as dh is squeamish and wasn’t fussed. It was a lovely experience for us as a family.
Things didn’t go to plan, I had a home birth which became an emergency transfer (although the ‘emergency’ was minor) we went as a family, me in the ambulance with my mum, dh and ds followed. I was a screaming begging, hysterical mess during the worst bits, I had warned ds mummy would likely loose her mind with the pain so he didn’t find it distressing. He held my hand as I pushed, we talked between pushes, when dd’s head was crowning he was invited to see by the midwife and he delightedly told me he could see her, he stayed at ‘the business end’ for the remainder.
Prepare your daughter, explain things that might happen. I had explained that things can go wrong and how to behave if that did happen, so he took it in his stride, it helps to have extra people on hand, as I say I had my mum as well as dh.
We welcomed our new family member together, ds doesn’t now have a sanitised idea of childbirth, he says it is one of his best ‘once in lifetime’ memories.
It’s all about how you talk about birth, warts, piles, poo and all, your dd will take her lead from you. You know her best, don’t let others decide this for you.

Failingat40 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:56:58

No. I don't think it's fair on the Midwives and medics if there's an added distraction in the room.

Unfortunately births can go seriously wrong very quickly and if this were to happen, having a hysterical 8 year old in the room would be horrendous.

TheWorld2 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:58:45

I saw all 3 of my siblings being born. It was amazing. I was 4, 6 and 8 at the time. My DSD wants to be present for the birth of her brother but it's not my place to say yes to this - I don't think it would be appropriate as she's only 6 and I would imagine it would make her mum feel uncomfortable. If she was my DD I would have her there and ensure we had someone to grab her if something went wrong or I needed space.

Sparklesocks Mon 03-Sep-18 09:58:51

I know you say you can handle the birth pain etc, but what if (god forbid) something went wrong? It might upset/panic her if she can detect the slight tension in the medical staff’s voices or everyone starts rushing around, and you wouldn’t really be in a position to comfort/reassure her!

Lovemusic33 Mon 03-Sep-18 09:59:04

I’m not sure why people are saying ‘no’, she obviously knows how babies are born? She’s expressed that she would like to be there? It’s going to take place at home, she can leave the room when ever she likes or when asked too?

It’s sounds like you know your dd and wether she will be squeamish or not. I know my dd would not handle it as she hates blood but she wouldn’t ask to be there, if she did ask then I would let her.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 03-Sep-18 09:59:21

If OP has taught her DD what birth entails, then she will know what goes on.

Can you really not see there is a difference between discussing what will happen and seeing it happen?

Even if you told an 8 year old in minute detail about labour and giving birth it would not compare to actually witnessing those things. Presumably the 8 year old has no experience to draw upon when visualising what she is being told. Hearing that there will be lots of blood and mummy will be shouting and moaning is completely different to seeing lots of blood and mummy shouting loudly in pain in person.

Nottotheirstandards Mon 03-Sep-18 09:59:22

I had a home birth. Kids stayed down stairs with dh and they all came up after she was born for a few minutes. And mine was basically mess free. It was painful but I'm not a shouted luckily and had straightforward birth. However I would not let them see it. They were down stairs and if it got out of hand they would be able to leave the house and not notice

Nutkins24 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:00:05

No no no. My dh was made to watch the home birth of his baby brother when he was 10. It was a straightforward birth and his mum had no pain relief. It was not a nice experience for him, he completely shut down at the birth of his own baby (coped worse than me). I think its safe to say that there was some lasting trauma from being made to watch something he couldn’t possibly understand at that age. It’s completely unnecessary. Your dd doesn’t have a clue what a birth actually entails, even a straightforward pleasant one.

5krunning Mon 03-Sep-18 10:02:09

If OP has taught her DD what birth entails, then she will know what goes on. At eight I was fascinated by childbirth and was aware of what goes on!

But even if the OP tells her daughter there will be blood and screaming and such, it's still likely that she will be upset seeing that kind of thing happen to her mum. Having someone explain it to you (especially when you're young) doesn't always prepare you for the real thing- it doesn't even prepare a lot of partners! 😂 I just think most 8 year olds would be completely freaked out and unaware of what they let themselves in for. Even if they thought they understood it, it'll be an entirely different experience seeing it

Pissedoffdotcom Mon 03-Sep-18 10:03:16

My 5 year old DD watched her brother's birth a few months ago. I had a home birth & because he came rather quickly early in the morning we didn't get chance to call my friend.
She didn't bat an eyelid & as soon as he was here she wanted a cuddle. She talks about it all the time, how cool it was to see. Her teachers now all know the ins & outs of my labour 😂

GreatDuckCookery6211 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:03:45

Totally different Nutkins.

Thinkingallowed85 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:04:10

I would have someone you trust be entirely watching and supportibher her- ready to take her out if it becomes too much and to explain anything that might need explaining.

I don’t think it’s a bad idea with safeguards. Remember though that what is ‘manageable’ for you might not look okay from the outside to an 8 year old. I think they need someone to be fully engaged with them.

hibbledibble Mon 03-Sep-18 10:04:30

My DD is fascinated by all bodily fluids and functions, including poo and blood, so I don't think that would bother her!

It's interesting how very marmite these responses are. It's a lot to think about.

StarfishSandwich Mon 03-Sep-18 10:04:42

As a midwife I would have no problem with a sensible child being present at a homebirth provoded that there was somewhere for them to step away to and someone who could look after them if it all got a bit too much. Is there a grandparent or auntie who could be there for her? I agree with watching some birth videos beforehand although l reccomend some YouTube homebirths rather than One Born which is obviously very medicalised and somewhat dramatised. Yes things do have the potential to go wrong, but usually things unfold more slowly than a lay person might realise and a trained professional would be able to identify quite quickly that perhaps your DD would be better off in another room. There are obviously very exceptions but these are so rare that I’m not sure it’s worth dwelling on a great deal.

Easilyflattered Mon 03-Sep-18 10:05:04

I would let her be there for part of the labour and post birth cuddles, but not the actual pushing part or as the baby takes its first few breaths. Just because if the midwives need to act quickly they don't need the added complication of an 8 year old in the room.

If she was 14 or 15, maybe, but not 8.

Notasunnybunny Mon 03-Sep-18 10:06:19

Nutkins, there is the difference. ‘Made to’ . Op’s Dd has asked to,- totally different.
Not everyone is the same.
I was very graphic in my description of how I may behave, there is no point in sugar coating it.

happymummy12345 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:08:11

Sorry but not at that age, far too young. As a mum myself I would not even think about letting my child see me like that.

reddressblueshoes Mon 03-Sep-18 10:11:53

I think it's a bad idea.

A friend recently had her fourth after three previously uncomplicated home births. For some reason, she found this one much more painful than the others: was still able to manage without pain relief but said the noises she was making freaked her husband out and the midwives were quite on edge and considering intervention. This baby also needed to be transferred and put on a drip.

All fine now, her other kids were having a sleepover with grandparents but based on her previous birth there would be no reason to suspect anything different about this one.
If her 8 year old had asked to be present then stared to pick up on her dads worry, or the midwives worry, what would happen then? This wasn't a case of 'things going wrong' just a case of a much more painful birth than anticipated and some minor worries, but to an 8 year old that could really be quite traumatic.

I think the likelihood of her being freaked out is higher than the likelihood of her not, to be honest, and I don't think either mother, father or midwives should have to have their attention diverted to look after her in that context when there is a new baby being born who should be the focus.

Notasunnybunny Mon 03-Sep-18 10:14:22

Haha yes ds also very easy with ‘bodily fluids, blood and such’. Some people are, people who aren’t find that concept difficult to understand.
As pp said, birth just isn’t quite as dramatic as obem likes to portray, many many births plod along and go off without hitch. Big drama is rare. I had two midwives in with me plus a doctor was called to man the resus table, them plus dh, dm, and ds in the room but it still felt calm. The medical staff didn’t bat an eye at ds’s presence and chatted with him explaining things as I was too out of it to be able to.

Squamish Mon 03-Sep-18 10:15:58

Absolutely not

Tumbleweed101 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:16:42

My then 6 and 8yr got home from school to catch the end part of my home birth. They weren’t upset by it and there were other adults about to take them elsewhere if they wanted.

I was fortunate to find all four of my births easy and I didn’t need pain relief with them so they didn’t come home to find me shrieking or anything.

If you are calm giving birth and find the pain manageable then it’s a natural experience which girls have likely seen for generations.

PuntCuffin Mon 03-Sep-18 10:19:45

I didn't scream at all during labour on either occasion. From the sounds of things the OP is fairly placid as well.

First time round, an 8 year old would have wandered off in boredom long before anything 'interesting' actually happened as I just sat there puffing a bit for quite a long time. Second time, I was told I had got to the hospital too soon, because I clearly wasn't in enough pain yet, as I was laughing, chatting, walked up the stairs to the maternity unit etc. Midwife was slightly surprised when she looked a bit closer and found a head about to emerge as I had left it so late.

There also wasn't much in the way of blood on either occasion.

I grew up in a farming environment where giving birth is just an aspect of the circle of life. I would have had no issue with having a child present. DH on the other hand was next to useless.

Sakura7 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:21:36

She's too young imo.

What if this labour isn't as straightforward as the previous ones? It could be very traumatic for her and could give her issues about childbirth which might stay with her into adulthood. I don't really understand the desire to have her there to be honest.

GoatYoga Mon 03-Sep-18 10:23:23

DS3 (and DS2) were born at home. DS3 arrived very quickly in the middle of the night and there was no time to dispatch to Grandparents. I was hoping he would sleep through, but within minutes of the birth there was a voice (DS1) from the top of the stairs asking to come downstairs - we done wonder how much he actually saw and I suspect he saw most of it, although he assures us he didn't - to be fair it doesn't seem to have done any lasting damage!

Missingstreetlife Mon 03-Sep-18 10:27:43

It's fine, have someone on hand or on call, to take her in another room and be with her if it becomes too much, and you need partner with you

BackinTimeforTea Mon 03-Sep-18 10:27:55

i saw a baby being born when I was 17, and it was an ordeal that stayed with me for some time - watching someone you love, in pain, even 'good' pain, is traumatic, and I was much older and signed up for it.

I think it's a hard call as you don't know how she'll take it, it could be fine and a lovely moment, or it could be something that seems fine but that she dwells on.

C8H10N4O2 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:31:31

It depends on the child and possibly also where you are giving birth.

I didn't have my eldest at younger births even at home but I had friends who did allow this.

Key thing they did was consider the individual child and also have an adult (DGM usually) present whose sole responsibility was the child. ie they would bring the child in at the appropriate moment and remove them as needed and stay with them. They were also very clear with the child that they may have to leave with DGM if asked and if they want to leave they can do so at any time.
This may be easier to organise at home than in a hospital.

blinkineckmum Mon 03-Sep-18 10:33:00

No way. After a very straightforward second birth, my 3rd baby was b2b and it was extremely difficult and traumatic, and I was rushed into surgery after the delivery. No child should witness their mum going through that!

Notso Mon 03-Sep-18 10:33:03

I wouldn't. DH brought DC in when I was in labour with DC2 and later DC3. I found it hard having them there and was worried about upsetting them, both times my contractions slowed right down.
I seem to labour more effectively on my own, I even had to ask DH to go home for a bit with DC1&2, with DC 3 I was alone until the last 20 mins. DC4 was born in three contractions but that's another story!

Nutkins24 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:35:14

I don’t think there’s a difference between being made to and wanting to, beacause an 8 year old doesn’t know what they’re on about when they ask to watch a birth. 8 year olds ask a lot of stuff, it’s your job as a parent to moderate what they see at what ages and what is appropriate for their levels of understanding.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 03-Sep-18 10:39:11

I don’t think there’s a difference between being made to and wanting to, because an 8 year old doesn’t know what they’re on about when they ask to watch a birth.

This is very well summed up. At 8 children will ask for things that they do not fully comprehend the meaning behind E.g. watching a scary film. Just because this child has asked does not mean they fully understand what they are asking for.

ICJump Mon 03-Sep-18 10:39:34

I was at my first birth aged 2 1/2 . I don’t remember it. I saw my brother being born aged 9. I’m really pleased I was there. I wasn’t scared then and I felt really confident when went into labour myself.
I went to an antenatal class with my parents before hand and also saw a video too.
My parents made sure there was someone there who would look after me if I found it too much.

StaySafe Mon 03-Sep-18 10:40:48

DS1 was there for the birth of his brother. it was a home water birth and we thought we had care covered for him. What we didn't take into account was him just waking up and coming downstairs just before DS2 was born. There was a bit of a kerfuffle with shoulder dystocia so it wasn't quite plain sailing but it was very touching to see him welcoming his somewhat bewildered looking brother. They have always been very close despite the fact that there is nearly a 4 year gap in age, and I put this down in part to his presence at the birth.
A friend of mine had her first child, a daughter, there for the home birth of her DC4, they are also very close.
As a small child I had a friend who was the youngest of 6, all her brothers and sisters had been there to welcome each new arrival and she was quite put out that as the youngest if hadn't happened for her.
So, 3 very positive examples, but maybe better if they arrive at the end if the labour is long, to avoid getting bored?

CrossFlannelCherry Mon 03-Sep-18 10:41:10

Why? Just why? Take a look at all the studies of fathers suffering PTSD after witnessing childbirth. Personally I would rather I hadn't had to be present at the births of my DC.

Gottagetmoving Mon 03-Sep-18 10:43:07

It's a birth not a horror movie!
OP has given birth before and knows how she copes with it.
I presume she will have explained about how some women scream out and that helps her deliver the baby.
You explain it hurts and may look scary. You explain there may be blood but it's natural and all necessary to giving birth.
Ultimately it's a positive experience and the result is a baby!
Children don't need everything hidden from them and be over protected.
I think many people underestimate a child's ability to deal with stuff like this.
Is it better to let children grow up with no idea what birth looks like?
We hide death from them, and birth, and even seeing people being upset.
If this child has said they want to be there and OP has assessed their ability to cope, then only she can decide whether to go ahead.

GorgonLondon Mon 03-Sep-18 10:44:58

I don't understand why you would want to do this, or why you would think it is 'a wonderful thing to do'.

Let her go and have a nice day with her grandparents/aunts and uncles/friends/whatever your other kids are doing.

It is not something that a child needs to see.

BlackStar7 Mon 03-Sep-18 10:45:08

I think 8 is fine. I'd see if you can find some episodes of the Homebirth Diaries which are really good and get her to watch those first. They might be on YouTube. Good luck.

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