Children watching the birthing experience

Jodie - posted on 01/29/2011 ( 33 moms have responded )

21

18

0

My neice (aged 6) just watched her new step brother be born, my partner thinks this is disgusting and likens it to allowing your child to watch pornography. I personally dont have a problem with it but just would like to hear what other parents think.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tara - posted on 01/29/2011

2,567

14

107

I have no issue with children present at birth, so long as it is done in a way that respects the child and the labouring mother.
Someone should be present who is there just for the children. And it should always be up to the mother whether they are there or not, should she change her mind...
When I had my 5th baby, my two oldest children were awake in our kitchen adjacent to my bedroom, they were 10 and 12 year old boys, they came in during labour to hug me and bring me stuff, but stayed out during actual delivery, but returned before I delivered the placenta. So the younger one saw that part, (the midwife actually got splashed) and he thought it was pretty gross but interesting once he got a closer look at what a placenta is and what it does.
It all depends on the childs feelings and the parents wishes.
Having them prepared is essential to a good experience.
My oldest daughter listened to me labour and saw me periodically this last time with Riley, she was amazing. And now she says she wants to have all her babies at home, with me there. :)
She even stated that "I knew you were hurting but it didn't sound like it did when you hurt your knee last year or anything, just weird, but it didn't scare me."

Mary - posted on 01/29/2011

3,348

31

119

Erin - my hospital did allow children at births...for children under 12, it had to be pre-approved, and they had to have taken a class with the childbirth instructors that included bringing them into L&D beforehand, in order to (somewhat) familiarize them with the environment. There also had to be one adult present whose sole responsibility was that child, so that if the kid freaked, or things went south, they could get the child out.

Mary - posted on 01/29/2011

3,348

31

119

There is no way that birth can be compared to porn. That is just ludicrous.

As for a child being present....it's not something I personally would do. Birth IS a beautiful thing, but, it is also messy - Blood, amniotic fluid, and the possibility of maternal stool. That, in and of itself, can be scary for even the most well prepared child, in the most uneventful of deliveries. You also have the whole "mommy in pain" thing...again, this can be really scary for a large number of children. In my case, if I were to have another baby, it would also entail my child watching me hurl repeatedly (which is much louder and more intimidating than me pushing a baby our, according to my hubby!).

There are some children who do okay with it. I've seen that myself. I've also seen children really freak out at births as well. The reason I would never do it is that until you place your child in that situation, you really don't know how they are going to respond - and at that point, not only is it too late, but you are also not in the best position to comfort them.

Ez - posted on 01/29/2011

6,569

25

232

i think people sometimes forget that giving birth isn't so simple and straight forward



This way of thinking is precisely why I think children can and do benefit from witnessing natural birth. For low risk women, birth most often IS simple and straightforward (hard and intense - sure, but rarely is birth an emergancy). Of course we all hear about the horror stories, and they sadly do exist. But they truly are rare. Regardless, there is this pervasive sense of fear and dread surrounding birth that promotes more medical intervention. If children are exposed to natural birth (I'm assuming the example in the OP wasn't a hospital birth as children are not allowed as far as I'm aware) it will become normalised. Girls won't grow up fearing labour and birth. I think that's a wonderful to gift.

Ez - posted on 01/29/2011

6,569

25

232

I'm sorry, but comparing birth to pornagraphy is incredibly ignorant. As long as the child has been well-prepared and has a delegated support person who's only responsibility is to answer questions and offer reassurance, I am 100% supportive of children attending births.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

33 Comments

View replies by

Becky - posted on 12/26/2011

232

23

9

My daughter (10) said she wanted to be with us for the brith of her sister. she does not know what the birthing experience all encompasses. To be honest, I think she asked initially just so she could miss school for a day! lol!

We thought about it, and talked about it & in the end, I said no. I would have a difficult time concentrating with her there. I think she could become afraid seeing me in pain & I would have a hard time allowing someone else attend to her if she was in the room.

My daughter was born via C/S so I have not had a true labor experience to look back on. We are planning on a VBAC this time, but should anything go wrong, a surgical team will be available for another C/S.

I want to keep my labor & delivery as an intimate experience between my partner and I. I want to be able to focus on myself, my body and whats happening with that. I don't want anyone else but the doc's and nurses there until after this baby is born . . . . then I want my daughter there as soon as possible to meet her sister! I can't imagine having anyone else in the room with me while laboring besides my partner!

Kate CP - posted on 12/25/2011

8,942

36

754

I didn't have my daughter watch me birth her brother. I have no problem with kids watching but it depends on the kid. I knew MY daughter wouldn't have been able to handle it. She would have freaked right the hell out.

I didn't even have my husband in the room this time around. Just my mom and my sisters (and the doctor). It was like this cave-woman-tribal thing. Except for the horrid epidural and the subsequent UTI (from the catheter) it was a great birth. :)

Gabriele - posted on 12/25/2011

10

76

0

I had my 3 children in the room when I gave birth to my 4th one. I did a lot of research, talked to Doctor's, Nurses, Midwife's and other people who had their children be part of what I feel should be a natural family experience. All I heard was positivity. My Children 5,4 and 2 were educated so there would be no surprises, came to birthing classes so they knew what to expect, and I tell you it was the most beautiful experience as a family that we had up to that point. There is just nothing I can say negetively about this experience. Now they are 32,31,28 and 26. The two older one's still remember their little sisters birth and all 4 are incredibly close still today. I would do it again and again. It was awesome.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't want my daughter to witness it, not because its disgusting, its beautiful and natural. Simply because if something were to go wrong, and i needed medical intervention, i wouldnt want her to be scared of me dying or something, I'm in the high risk category. Nearly died with my first pregnancy, wouldn't want my daughter to witness that traumatic event if it happened again. If i didn't have birthing issues, i would allow it, only if she were mature enough to understand what was going on though.

Jessica - posted on 01/31/2011

95

8

1

I think it depends on age and maturity..no way in hell would i allow my child at age 6 in the birthing room. It is NOT pronographic!! But it would kill me to see my child that young cry because he couldnt help mommy.

Child birth is meant to be a magical and beautiful moment. Im allowing my 13 year old to be in the room when i give birth this summer, but shes mature and is well prepared for this.

It really all depends on the parents and hospital rules.

[deleted account]

I think it is fine but dependant on the child, their understanding, their comfort level etc etc. It is important that there be at least one adult there whose sole responsibility is to that child, to explain, to comfort and to remove them if necessary.

I had my 8 year old nephew present at my first birth and I was naked the whole time, I pooed in the bath, I tried out all sorts of positions, I pushed for 2 hours, I haemorrhaged (mildly) afterwards, it was noisy, messy and really graphic, but he coped fine and was really intrigued by the whole experience. He was also there in ICU two months earlier when his grandfather was taken off life support and passed away so he has had quite the education regarding birth and death and dealt with both really well. I do think that birth and death are part of life and children shouldn't be sheltered from it so much as supported through the experience.

Of course, I don't think that all kids should be made to witness either birth or death but if they are exposed to it, it is our responsibility as adults to help them process the information and experience.

During my second birth, my 18 month old slept through the whole thing in the room next door, so I guess I wasn't too loud even though I felt like I wailed the house down while pushing. I had my mother there ready to look after him, if he woke up and would have been happy for him to witness the labour and birth if he was comfortable or for them to go do something else if he was getting upset or bored or whatever. We were flexible and ready to let him show the lead with what he wanted. He didn't wake up until just after his brother was born and he came into the bathroom, where I was sitting naked on bloody towels on the floor, holding a crying newborn, still attached by the umbilical cord, and he was completely unfazed by it all.

So, no... I don't see a problem with it if the child and the birthing woman both have the right support and are comfortable with it. Birth for me was an intimate event between my partner, myself and our baby being born, but I have no problem with who else was there to witness it so long as they were unobtrusive and comfortable with what was happening. Every woman experiences birth differently so I think it is the individuals call to make for their own circumstances.

Stifler's - posted on 01/30/2011

15,141

154

597

I don't think I really want my son there although I see nothing wrong with it. He'll be 16 months and won't get it anyway. Damo admits that he didn't like the first birth and doesn't really want to witness the second.

[deleted account]

I think it is fine if the child can handle it. I think that in most cases it is just a matter if the child wants to be there too. There should always be someone the mother trusts there to distract the child if it becomes to much for them. I understand all points of view on this subject but IMHO I don't really see a problem with it given the right circumstances.

Melissa - posted on 01/30/2011

472

1

12

Im not sure my views on it. Definately not a small child. Like my girl was 2 yrs 3 months when my second was born there was never a consideration to allow her to be there. Maybe when I have more kids but even then Im not sure its kind of personal just me and my hubby

Meghan - posted on 01/29/2011

3,169

33

202

I don't think it is like watching pornography...I wouldn't NOT let my kid watch it...I just don't see the need to actually allow it (if that makes sense) I don't even want to see it...don't see why a kid would. Bring them in after the horrifically part is over :P

Veronica - posted on 01/29/2011

1,539

61

90

Hmmm... Well, first and foremost, it just depends on your preference, and then the child/children and what you prefer for them.
I love watching baby stories on tv - and Ive seen crazy ones where ladies were buck naked (of course they blurred it out) and the whole damn fam was there - aunts, friends, sisters, and a few men - dont know if they were brothers/cousins, etc. -- but it was quite crazy if you ask me! Another one, the lady did a home birth and her 3 year old son watched it with dad right there - so I think it just depends on you.
As for me - hell no. First reason - I do make noise, and a lot of it - prayin to the Lord, screaming, crying, and cussin' & swearin' -- hey - when you go through fast ass labor, that is hard and painful - no pain meds - it hurts! My children would be traumatized by me alone! As for the delivery part - im so out of my mind from transitioning, i dont care who is in the room, i want that baby out! The only people besides medical, that were in the delivery with me were my mom, husband - my sister in law, and with the last one - my sisters came, one with her fiance. My older sister watched the birth - and my younger sis and her fiance were behind the curtains -- that was uncomfortable that he was there to hear me - but he thought it was really cool to be there...ok... lol My children are 8 and younger, and it would be a zoo anyways. And finally, my son walked in on us having sex when he was 5, and he bawled his eyes out he was tramatized by whatever he thought he saw - so, im not sure how it would go for him either!
My kids know that daddy has sperm and mom has an egg and together they made a baby. And baby comes out of mom's belly -- Im comfortable with this much info at this point.
So to make a point here -- I just wouldnt do it - it wouldnt work for us. I let my children ask the questions when they ask where baby comes from, and I ask them what they think to see where they are at with it - and then give them enough info to take care of the moment and question. And that is what i feel about it for now.

[deleted account]

OK, so for kicks & giggles I just asked my son, who will turn 6 in 2 weeks this question. Actually I started by saying "Mommy will never have another baby. BUT.....if I do have another baby, do you want to watch it come out?" And yes, he knows that babies come out of DOWN THERE! He looks at me with such a non-challant stare and says "Ewww, no!" and proceeds to walk down stairs. So... guess I know his perspective!
This is a case-by-case family issue. What works for one family won't work for every family.

Minnie - posted on 01/29/2011

7,076

9

786

But see, Laura, everyone acts differently during childbirth. I am pretty quiet, appearing to go to sleep between contractions and during contractions I sort of sing. I dunno. My homebirth was pretty peaceful and uneventful. No screaming, not much blood, no fluids everywhere.



So I guess it depends on the mother and the child.

Lacye - posted on 01/29/2011

2,011

31

160

You can't compare giving birth to porn. They are 2 total different things.

But I don't think it is appropriate for children to be in the birthing room. For one thing, if the child isn't sick, they shouldn't be at the hospital where they can pick up germs from anywhere and get sick themselves. I don't think children under 15 are mature enough to witness something like that, to be honest some 15 year olds aren't even mature enough. I do think it would be beneficial for 15 and up to see a child being born so they can understand that if you have sex, this is what can end up happening. Yes, I would use giving birth as a type of birth control. lol

[deleted account]

Like everyone else, i think that you cannot compare child birth to porn, but I personally don't like the idea of young kids witnessing a birth. I think it would actually be really scary for them seeing their mum in that much pain, even if they understand whats going on. although childbirth is no a sexual thing, for me it is still as personal as sex. It's a very intimate and private experience. I would only ever have my midwife and partner there, but hey, thats just me =)

Minnie - posted on 01/29/2011

7,076

9

786

My girls will have the option of being present for our next baby's birth. There will be someone else there, probably my mother, to tend to them if they need to go elsewhere.

I have no problem with it. Sometimes I wonder if girls were able to see births, physiological and at home, they wouldn't see childbirth as something mysterious and something to be scared of.

Peggy - posted on 01/29/2011

193

59

0

My 8 yr old daughter was in the room when I had my 2nd.. she wanted to be. My grandmother was also in there to tend to her if for any reason she needed or wanted to leave. She was not at my feet looking into my "hootinnanny" or watching while my doc did my episiotomy.. she was sitting to the side at the table and chairs. She did have to leave the room when they did my epidural. My 2nd child wants to be there when my 3rd one is born (she will be 8 1/2).. I dont know the hospitals policy on it but if its allowed and she isnt sick then she shall be there also. My 16 yr old gets "weirded out" by just looking at the ultrasounds.. lol. so she is still unsure... if she wants to be or decides not to be, then it is okay with me.

Sherri - posted on 01/29/2011

9,593

15

387

I think it is wrong. I would never allow my children to see me give birth or anyone else for that matter as a child. They can make that decision for themselves when they are an adult.

Jodie - posted on 01/29/2011

21

18

0

with regards to my partners comparision to porn (I think he was being dramatic) in his view 'if giving birth is a natural experience that children should be allowed to watch then so is the act that makes the babies...do we allow them to see that too?' (please note again, his view not mine!!!!)

[deleted account]

I think it's fine. Of course, the personality, maturity, and age of the child in question needs to be taken into consideration. I wouldn't mind having my daughter there when I birth my next. Wouldn't bother ME, but she's very young. Plus with her birth there was a complication and I'd hate her to witness me getting upset if another complication were to arise...which is not too far fetched. But if she were a bit older, I'd likely let her have a choice if she'd like to be there. I like the idea of the birth classes that Mary was talking about.

Now, I do have a friend that had her 18 month old present for her second birth. It was fine. Then when she had baby number 3, she came so fast that she had no choice but to have both her kids there, ages 3 and 1 at that time. They are far from being scarred for life. In fact, the older one (now 5) is still fascinated by births and babies.

Rosie - posted on 01/29/2011

8,657

30

315

i dont' agree it's like watching porn, but i feel it may be a bit to much for another child to get and understand why their mother is in pain, and bleeding everywhere.
i did just fine without seeing my mother give birth, it's not something necessary for a young child to see at all IMO.

[deleted account]

I do agree that equating childbirht to porn is wayy off. But hell, I dodn;t even want to watch my own son's childbirth! I was offered a mirror, but to be 100% honest I am grossed out by it. Had no interest. Hubby watched, but he said there were moments he covered his eyes or turned away! He was both grossed and fascinated at the same time. I agree that birth is not a spectator sport. But, at teh same time if a laboring mother IS comfortable with her family surrounding and supporting, then all the power to her! Just not for me!

Nicole - posted on 01/29/2011

736

6

68

I don't think it's comparable to porn. Porn is staged a vulgar, birth is natural and messy but not vulgarbut



I did not feel comfortable having my son there for his sisters birth.

Bonnie - posted on 01/29/2011

4,813

22

257

There is no way that the birth of a baby should be compared to porn. There are no sexual acts going on. So where is the porn?

Personally, I was more then okay with just my husband being present during the birth. That is all who truly needs to be there.

Stifler's - posted on 01/29/2011

15,141

154

597

Pornography?



I think this is great. I hate when people shelter their kids from reality. yeah the stork bought me my baby... rightio love I didn't get a huge belly and go through hours of labour and vaginal mutilation so the stork could take credit.

Sal - posted on 01/29/2011

1,816

16

33

i didn't even want my mum there when i gave birth, it isn't a spectator sport as far as i'm concerned, i think people sometimes forget that giving birth isn't so simple and straight forward, what happens if something goes amiss and a child see their mum or new sibling in stress or worse....but to compare it to porn is a bit far fetched

Sarah - posted on 01/29/2011

5,465

31

331

I certainly don't think it's comparable to porn!!

In saying that, I don't think it's anything a child NEEDS to see. It's up to the child and the parents at the end of the day though, so long as they are all comfortable, that's the main thing.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms