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am I crazy for wanting dd(6) at the birth?

(64 Posts)
glendathegoodwitch Wed 17-Oct-12 11:43:37

hi everyone
i work as a maternity care assistant on a MLBU and am 35+4, I have ds(13) and dd(6), we have no family in the area and although I have enlisted a few friends and our regular sitter should baby arrive whilst dd at school or in bed etc... if its at the weekend I would love dd to be with me.

I start my midwifery training in March and have read loads of midwifery related books from call the midwife, baby catcher, spiritual midwifery etc.... and many of them are from experiences of community midwives from the 70's, 80's and 90's with home births and family around supporting women with children watching in awe as their siblings are born.....

we are a very open family, our dc know where babies come from, are given honest answers to questions etc... and i honestly think dd is mature enough to understand childbirth and what is happening etc....

I will be having the baby hopefully on my ward with familiar midwives, in the pool, I have quick easy labours and obviously if anything were to go wrong then dh would be able to take dd home or to the canteen etc... as I know i will be supported by work colleagues who will give me the best possible care.

most of the people i have spoken to think i am crazy and submitting dd to such a situation is awful???

childbirth is the most natural thing in the world - am i crazy if I'm happy and dd is happy then as a family we can share such a hopefully beautiful time??

incidently - ds(13) is not fussed in the slightest and although will come and see how i am he's not interested in seeing the birth lol

is there anything I havent thought of that could change my mind? or any experiences/thoughts would be appreciated

DowagersHump Wed 17-Oct-12 11:46:59

Just because you've had quick easy labours before doesn't mean that you will this time. I hope you do obviously but I think I'd be wary about a 6 year old actually witnessing a birth.

Could you watch a film of a birth together beforehand so that she can see what it's like in all its bloody glory?

Does your DD actually want to be there or do you want her there? Your OP isn't clear on that point

NatashaBee Wed 17-Oct-12 11:51:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coppertop Wed 17-Oct-12 11:52:40

You can't be sure that the next birth will quick and easy.

If things do go wrong, your dd will already have seen this. Your dh taking her home afterwards won't wipe away the memory of it.

Just because something is natural, it doesn't necessarily follow that a 6yr-old has the need or the maturity to witness it.


Personally I wouldn't. If (god forbid) something goes wrong suddenly your dd will be scared for you and baby. But obviously this is your decision to make, nobody else's business.

TubbyDuffs Wed 17-Oct-12 11:53:58

I think my six year old and my eight year old would be worried sick about me during the labour and coudn't cope with it, no.

However, my child is not your child, and presumably you know your child well enough to know whether seeing mummy in pain, blood, various people she doesn't know doing things to you, etc will upset her.

In the end its a decision for you and your husband.

gwenniebee Wed 17-Oct-12 11:57:25

I wouldn't. It could be traumatic for her even if everything's ok - strange things scare small people.

Also, I wanted to focus on me during labour, not anyone else...

WitchesTit Wed 17-Oct-12 12:05:30

Have you asked DD if she wants to be there?

When babies were born at home in the 70's (when my mum was having them) us kids got sent to play in the garden when the midwives came and called in once there was a little blanket wrapped squealy thing to look at in mums arms.

NellyBluth Wed 17-Oct-12 12:06:37

I definitely wouldn't. Even what feels like an easy labour to you could look terrifyingly traumatic to a 6 year old - there's still noise and strain and pain and blood and lots of things that I imagine a 6 year old is just too young to understand is natural. And god forbid anything did go wrong, I can't even imagine how terrifying that might be, there's little chance that your DD could be taken out of the room before noticing that things are going wrong.

SparklyGothKat Wed 17-Oct-12 12:13:36

I had an induced labour with my last baby. Nothing happened for 14 hours then I got to 4cms. I was calm and collected. The doctor decided to break my waters. After that I had 20 mins of pure hell. I was out of control, screamed very loudly, started pushing without the midwife examining me. It was my fastest and easiest labour (20 mins from 4cms to delivery' but also my scariest, as I had no control. I wouldn't have wanted my children to see me like that. It would have scared them.

coffeeandcream Wed 17-Oct-12 12:13:54

I agree with most of what has been said already. Children have very different ideas to us about what is scary or frightening, and chances are you won't be able to remove her in time if things seem a bit much. PLus, she'll never forget what she sees will she?
Have you considered she may not bond well with her new sibling if she associates you screaming, blood and distress with the new baby?
Also, labour can take a long time, she may get bored, fed up and fractious.
Its a nice idea in theory, but in reality probably quite impractical and the cons outweigh the pros IMHO.

glendathegoodwitch Wed 17-Oct-12 12:14:22

thanks for your messages

we have watched midwives and births on tv, she's not a drama queen very confident and matter of fact, she has asked if she can be with me when I have the baby and i said mummy will be in pain, wont be able to give her as much attention as i will be busy breathing etc... and that it would be better if she was with sitter or friends so she wont be upset by mummy being in pain and she responded saying she would be more upset if i was in pain and she wasnt there to hold my hand - bless!!!

i dont expect her to be there for hours on end bored to tears, if it is at the weekend i would have her sitter taking her for lunch and walks as well as a bag of things to do/eat and amuse her and if all goes well she could be called over for the event.

where i work i see things going wrong every day so i'm not deluded that things wont go wrong but i also know how midwives drs etc..... treat emergencies ie calmly, and a "time to go get something to eat daddy" would be all that she would hear before being taken out of the situation.

maybe i just have a hippy view of birth lol

toomuchmonthatendofthemoney Wed 17-Oct-12 12:21:16

In answer to your title, yes I think you are crazy. She will likely be distressed by what she sees even if it feels ok to you and natural. I think it will affect bonding too. I know my 6 year old Ds gets very upset if I get even a little bit hurt when we wrestle etc (and another time he was horrified when he saw the start of a nosebleed) so I would think hours of pain would impact hugely on your dd at her age. I definitely wouldn't expose her to this (if you ever want to be a grandmother!!) wink

titchy Wed 17-Oct-12 12:21:44

Great uncle wotsit dying of an aneurism is normal too - doesn't follow that I'd want a 6 year old to witness it.

There may well be lots of books talking about 'children watching in awe', people don't tend to write books about children being terrified witnessing their mum and sibling in distress, pain, bleeding, being cut, dying. Which will have been the reality for many.

What will you do if she finds it all too much, bursts into tears, obviously terrified, and your dh cannot console her? Will you be able to carry on labouring as normal? Without a jot of worry about what the experience has done to her, or any potential damage that trauma might cause to her relationship with her baby sibling?

Far too big a risk imo.

toomuchmonthatendofthemoney Wed 17-Oct-12 12:23:29

Sorry took me so long to type that I xposted with your latest response. Seeing it on the telly with other ladies is very different to the reality of her mummy being in pain, I think, she may sound like she is ok with it, but YOU have to be the adult here and take the decision for her. I would still say no.

NellyBluth Wed 17-Oct-12 12:24:44

I'd say she may be confident watching births on TV but seem to understand the concept that Mummy will be in pain too... but the reality could easily prove far too distressing. 6 years is very young to link abstract ideas with reality. The risk of trauma to everyone would be far too great, surely?

FreddieMercuryforQueen Wed 17-Oct-12 12:30:03

I went for a home birth with ds1 and my mum was there to take care of DD who was 6 at the time, being at home meant if she wanted to be with me then she could or she could be upstairs in her own room out of the way. In the end I transferred in for fetal distress but I'd do it all again tomorrow. And the memory of DD stroking my hair whilst I laboured in the pool is one I'll never forget. Labour and birth is amazing and I think as adults it can be so frightening because we've never been exposed to it. I think giving our daughters the message that it's not a scary experience but a normal one is a great thing to do if we can.

FreddieMercuryforQueen Wed 17-Oct-12 12:31:26

Which might just be the most hippyish thing I've ever written.

AbbyRue Wed 17-Oct-12 12:34:26

Tv and reality aren't the same IMO.

Yes you're crazy to want to do this. It may be ok her seeing other women in pain but to witness her own mum? I think it won't be as straight forward as you think.

Each to their own I suppose.

DyeInTheEar Wed 17-Oct-12 12:39:43

It wouldn't be for me and personally I think 6 is too young.

I am 34 weeks and getting terrible leg cramps - DS (7) saw me suffering with them and was incredibly upset by me not being able to walk and calling to DH for help. DH said DS was shock and nearly in tears seeing me in pain - and he ran off to him bedroom. So I just wouldn't even contemplate seeing me in labour. It's even put me off a homebirth as I don't want him to even hear me in pain.

It could backfire horribly on you and I'm not sure the benefits can be guaranteed even if you do have a straight forward labour.

Fairylea Wed 17-Oct-12 12:40:15

Have you thought that even if you have a very uncomplicated and easy birth you will be surrounded by other women who might not and your dd will hear and experience some of that too ?

It's not something I would want to expose a child to. I had two very difficult unexpected complications with both my births.

glendathegoodwitch Wed 17-Oct-12 12:44:01

thanks Freddie for your message - that is exactly my point, childbirth is over medicalised as it is and I hope to train to be a midwife who promotes normality and home births!!

i see every type of woman on the ward from the terrified screaming almost feral teenager who is absolutely petrified of what is happening to her body to the african woman who births with nothing more than swaying her body and humming under her breath and everything in between.

the pain is a good pain and not a pain to be afraid of, i had my 1st induced with epidural and every type of pain relief and it was the most scariest situation i have ever been in, with dd i had no pain relief other than gas and air and listened to my body

this time i want the pool, and as i understand almost every possible situation i could see myself in from having shoulder dystocia, haemorrhage to crash section i am fortunate to know the people around me and know how they will all be handled.

FreddieMercuryforQueen Wed 17-Oct-12 12:46:32

Why not have a home birth? Then if she wants to be with you she can, if not she has her own space to retreat to.

SomethingSuitablyWitty Wed 17-Oct-12 12:49:03

Well, you actually seem fairly decided already, but I would continue to give this some careful thought. I had a straightforward 'natural' birth with my DD, but was extremely vocal and would have terrified a child. I saw a TV programme recently where a girl of 16 or so, interested in becoming a midwife, witnessed her first birth. It was a fine, relatively quick and straightforward birth and yet she was completely overwhelmed by it and cried and cried afterwards. Not necessarily negative, but points to the fact that it is a lot to process and even more so for a 6 year old watching her own mum go through it.

Fairylea Wed 17-Oct-12 12:53:51

What are the benefits for a 6 yr old to watch ? I mean really it's not going to dramatically increase bonding with her sibling. Isn't it just about you rather than what is best for her? Sorry but surely theres a risk she would be upset so why take it when it's not necessary?

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