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Would you let your child watch you give birth?

(30 Posts)
singsong Tue 25-Aug-09 21:20:41

I'm pregnant with dc3 and ds1 (5yrs) has repeatedly expressed wishes to be there when the baby is born. I've had 2 normal births before and everything is low risk so far with this pregnancy. Anyone had their older dcs around when giving birth? Would like to hear your experiences, good or bad.

PinkTulips Tue 25-Aug-09 21:25:50

Personally i would yes.

Does he understand what's involved in birth? I had dd and ds1 watch lots of those birth programs on Discovery H&H with me, the more graphic the better so that they knew exactly what happens during labour... they weren't at the birth but as we live an hour from hospital i needed to be prepared in case i didn't make it in and ended up giving birth alone in the house with them.

I was labouring hard by the time i left as it was and neither were perturbed by seeing me in pain, just excited to meet ds2 so i think it was of benefit anyway.

Can you book a HB and arrange to have childcare in the house so he can leave the room if it gets tooo much?

hester Tue 25-Aug-09 21:27:17

I don't think I would, personally, because I'd want to just focus on me and not have to be translating the experience for my child, being careful not to make scary noises, coping with them giggling when they see me poo etc.

BUT I don't think it's wrong for others to do it, if it suits them and their family. My SIL gave birth to all her three at home, and for the second two I went along to babysit. In both cases, they were night births, and as the evening wore on and the children got tired and cranky (but too over-excited to go to bed) we decided that they'd do better if I took them back to my place to sleep. But if they'd been daytime births I think it would have worked quite well; they could have pottered in and out and I could have taken them to the park, shops etc if their mum needed some time without them or if they were beginning to find it overwhelming.

So my advice, for what it's worth, would be to go for it but stay flexible and make sure there's someone there who can fully focus on your kids and their needs.

thisisyesterday Tue 25-Aug-09 21:28:41

i would, but i would also have someone available to gtake them out if they changed their mind

Mamazon Tue 25-Aug-09 21:30:35

I wouldn't. but thats purely because DS is ASD and would be freaked out by it all and find it very scarey and DD is simply not old enough and would again be frightened by me being in pain.

If she were older then yes.

If i ever had another then i would like a home birth so they would be able to come in if they wanted but i think i'd try and disuade it for the actual birth part but maybe allow them in once head is out.

I don't know. I think you know your DD and whether she would be able to cope.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 25-Aug-09 21:32:08

I wouldn't, because I would worry about how DS would react to seeing me in pain.

lockets Tue 25-Aug-09 21:33:26

Message withdrawn

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Tue 25-Aug-09 21:33:59

DD is only 3 so not a chance! I really do not know how I would feel if she were older.

If it is straightforward, and you feel he is able emotionally to cope with the pain you will be experiencing and to comprehend what is happening, then maybe. Although perhaps 5 is still a little young?

A tough one.

watsthestory Tue 25-Aug-09 21:34:34

Message withdrawn

Heathcliffscathy Tue 25-Aug-09 21:35:11

yes. but not if they didn't want to. ie. i'd have a home birth, ds wouldn't be banned from anywhere so could wander in, equally could stay away if wanted to...

Heathcliffscathy Tue 25-Aug-09 21:36:21

do we think that most of the world is traumatised by seeing birth in action? because most of the world's children do.

singsong Tue 25-Aug-09 21:42:27

I am thinking of having a home birth at the moment. I definitely wouldn’t let him watch if I went to hospital or if any complications. Ds2 was very easy and rapid birth so this is mainly my reasoning for thinking of home birth. My mum lives just down the road so could easily get here to take ds into another room/out of the house if things got too much for him. I have talked to him about what happens during birth and about the mess and shouting (am bit worried he may get upset if I shout) but sounds like good idea to get him to watch some discovery TV births with me to see what he thinks.

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 25-Aug-09 21:51:06

No. way. jose.

God, when you're a parent (and especially if you're a sahm) you have few enough moments to yourself.

lou4791 Wed 26-Aug-09 08:21:32

I'm planning a home birth of my second baby due any time now and my 12 year old son wants to be here. I'm very happy to have him around to witness the birth of his sibling after all these years. He's comfortable with nakedness and knows more about labour and birth than most full grown men. However, my mum is close by to call upon should he change his mind at any time or if things don't go to plan.
Lou x

piscesmoon Wed 26-Aug-09 08:39:51

No, I wouldn't. Even though I have had straightforward births anything can go wrong at any point and it could be frightening. I also would want to concentrate on the birth and the new baby-not worry about my 'performance' being a good one. I think it is one time when the new baby should have your undivided attention-after all the others have already had it.DC3 will get less undivided attention anyway.They can see you immediately afterwards.

slushy06 Wed 26-Aug-09 11:09:05

I had my ds 3 with me until I went into transition and went to the hospital I stayed with him for 8 hours of my birth and dd was born 1hr 30 after I left him in a way it helped me cope he distracted me but when I was getting close to the pushing stage and the pains were getting to the point where I wanted to cry out I didn't want him there as his presence was making me more frightned about what would happen if something went wrong before that he didn't even notice anything was happening though so if you want to give it a try go for it but I would have someone ready for if you change your mind.

MrsSantoslovestheNHS Wed 26-Aug-09 11:15:27

Friend just did and thinks it really helped her little boy accept the new baby. He is very proud of the whole experience. Depends on the age, the child's personality and how everyone (especially the mother) is feeling at the time I suppose. I don't think it would be so easy in hospital - could be wrong there - but homebirth yes, as long as someone could remove them if needed.

slushy06 Wed 26-Aug-09 11:38:43

Although my sis 8 was nagging to be at the birth and was there for early cc but had to be removed as she didn't like me getting the attention and was being naughty meaning I had to shout and that caused me more pain so I agree with *mrs santo* It depends on the child.

MrsHappy Wed 26-Aug-09 15:53:13

Not unless I was sure that the older child would be able to "get away" if he wanted and also that someone would take him out the second things got hairy. The problem is that even if my child left or was taken away I would worry that he was off imagining something worse than the reality IYSWIM.

Tanya Byron gave some advice on this in the Times a while back. See here

Narketta Thu 27-Aug-09 00:16:51

I had a unplanned unassisted HB with DD,
DS who was 2.1yrs at the time witnessed everything and for a while afterwards me and DH were concerned that he would never get over what he saw and heard that morning.

Everytime DD cried DS would scream and wring his hands in fear.

Thankfully he doesn't remember anything about it now almost 18mths on.

Obviously you know your DS better than anyone else does so if you think he will be ok then go for it, but I agree with previous posters who have said have someone present that can take him out of the way if it all gets to much.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Tidey Thu 27-Aug-09 00:25:30

Personally, I wouldn't, because I am a huge wimp have a very low pain threshhold and spent both of my labours crying my eyes out and screaming, and I think they would find it very upsetting.

OTOH, I have heard of other people having their children present at home births and it all being lovely, relaxed and the children completely taking it in their stride.

CarmenSanDiego Thu 27-Aug-09 00:52:55

I had a home birth with DS. DDs (then 7 and 5) were around for most of the (long) labour. For the last couple of hours, I was in the living room, they were in the playroom next door but wandered in and out. They were fairly laid back about things, but I'd talked to them about what would be happening.

They didn't quite watch me give birth - I was too out of it to give the yay or nay to inviting them in so we left them where they were, but they ran in /as/ the baby was born (I was yelling, 'Baby! There's a baby!'

They saw him lifted out of the pool and everything that followed. It was a wonderful experience for all of us (I think) and they both drew pictures of me in the birthing pool for their 'what I did over the holidays' at school!

The only thing was, I didn't warn them about breastfeeding so when baby latched right on, poor dd2 was gasping, "NO! DON'T EAT MUMMY!"


ascouser Thu 27-Aug-09 01:15:42

Only you know how you think your child would cope.

I had my DD1 watch me 6mths ago (then aged 7).
We had done some prep. She had watched a DVD on home births (though her fingers over her eyes for some of it). They were a bit hippy chanty type births and very graphic but we talked her through what might happen.
As it happened DD made it back from school with 15minutes to go (10 mins before the midwife got there).
She did get scared when she first came into the house because things where getting a little close and I was yelling instructions to her and DP (as I'd been on my own since labour started the hr before).

She didn't like to see me in pain, but I was saying that it was a good pain and the more I yelled the quicker the baby would be here.

6mths on she is still thanking me for having a little baby sister, she is thrilled and I think that some of that is due to her being there at 'the moment'.

You know, there are 'scary' things in this world that we have to cope with. Seeing someone in pain is not nice, but seeing the result is imeasurable.
When you watch a birth ...that's life happening right there - priceless - what a life lesson.

Do what you feel is right..only you know.

StretchFucksTheMailDaily Thu 27-Aug-09 16:08:26

DD1 will be with me when I have the baby. She's 7.

She is very matter of fact, likes to sit with her nose practically pushed up to the needle when I'm having blood taken, and has watched homebirth diaries and read lots of childbirth books!!

My MIL will be there as well (for my sins!!), so will able to deal with her if anything should happen/go wrong etc..

My only concern will be if she goes blabbing about very inapropriate things at very inapropriate times after the birth!! As in, mummy did a poo in the middle of Sains! grin

StretchFucksTheMailDaily Thu 27-Aug-09 16:09:53

Ahem, mummy did a poo, in the middle of Sains!

(forgot the comma!) blush

<<I have never pooed in the middle, or beginning, of Sains>> grin

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