Making your kids watch your home birth

Krista - posted on 10/04/2010 ( 39 moms have responded )

12,562

16

842

It seems the writer had a home birth planned, and even though her young daughters indicated they did not want to be around on the big day, she didn't bother to find somewhere to send them. And then when she went into labour, she decided, "So it was with education in mind -- education with a whiff of indoctrination -- that I wanted them to see a woman give birth. Sort of a health class video meant to supplement the textbook and lectures. After all their excitement and knowledge, I was sure they'd enjoy being a part of it."

They didn't enjoy it. At all.

Do you think this mother was irresponsible, or do you think that this was a needed lesson for her girls, despite their upset?

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/0...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Sharon - posted on 10/04/2010

11,585

12

1314

I could feel my grimace tighten and tighten and I was furious at her for not respecting this simple ass wish from her kids to not have to listen and see their mother suffer.

Another "I'm entitled" bitch. "No matter what anyone else wants, I'm entitled to what "I" want because i said so!" friggen cunt.

Krista - posted on 10/04/2010

12,562

16

842

I have absolutely no issue with her having a home birth. I support home births, as long as a competent and licensed midwife is present.



What I DO have issue with is her immaturity and selfishness. Her daughters told her on multiple occasions that they did not want to see that. She should have had solid plans in place for someone to come and get those girls when she went into labour, but she just didn't make that a priority -- couldn't be bothered. And then she decided that she wouldn't send them away anyway, using it as a teachable moment, completely disregarding her kids' wishes in order to push her ideology on them? And she's still clueless about it, convinced that the kids will thank her someday. She'll be lucky if she EVER gets grandkids, that one.



No. I think that she was irresponsible, ill-prepared and insensitive.

Tara - posted on 10/04/2010

2,567

14

107

I agree with most others that this was cruel and disrespectful. What I find ironic is that she likely planned a homebirth because she wanted a more respectful birth situation, and than by forcing her daughters to be there completely disrespecting them as people who should be allowed to make that choice.
My daughters all wanted to be at my last homebirth with Riley. I didn't plan for them to be gone out of the house, both my parents and my hubby's parents, plus my older son and my niece plus my two midwives and my best friend were all at my house. They were great during labour, visiting with me, bringing me ice and tea and serving our guests and playing with their cousin etc. not afraid of the sound I made, they were actually giggling at one point cause I sounded so much like an animal, lol.
But when it came right down to the actual delivery it was just me the midwives and my hubby. The girls wanted to be there but I didn't want any distractions from my job of pushing him out. Plus I really wanted it just to be for hubby and me (he actually caught him and then handed him to me, the midwives were spectators at that point).
This woman was selfish and unfair to her kids. If anything this experience will turn them off of birth and most certainly homebirth.
Sad.

Desiree - posted on 10/06/2010

910

17

12

Talk about irresponsible. i tell my daughter that having a baby is the most wonderful experience a woman can go through, but only when you are ready for it. Forcing someone to watch something they are not ready to deal with can actually decide against it. We are supposed to nuture and train our girl in a positive creative way, not scare them in a negative way. those poor girls who really didn't want to take part in it will now always have a negative outlook on the whole proccess of childbirth. as far as i am concerned the mther was only thinking of herself in this case.

Jackie - posted on 10/05/2010

1,415

44

71

Well why wouldn't a 3 and 7 year old want to watch their mother in horrific pain for hours on end only to ultimately be ripped in half from stem to stern at the end? Gee, I can't imagine why on earth they wouldn't want to see something like that!

This conversation has been closed to further comments

39 Comments

View replies by

Laressa - posted on 10/06/2010

303

4

15

I agree that she shouldn't have made them watch if they didn't want to. I was 9 when my youngest brother was born and I freaked out just seeing my mom's IV a couple hours after he was born.

I have been toying with having our 18 mo daughter come to the hospital part of the time during labour but I don't think it would be a good idea during the delivery. Having her there would depend alot on if I invite someone besides my hubby to the hospital. Also how the labour is. Last time it was 24 hrs and stalled sometimes. Thats boring and the companionship of my daughter could break the monotomy. But it might go very different this time. I wouldn't risk her getting scared, because she'll have enough adjustments as it is. Spending a few days with Grandma, lots of visitors, being a big sister, Mommy and Daddy being spread a little thinner. I think when the time comes we'll know what is best for her. And if my head is a little "off" like I feel this woman's was, I know I can trust my hubby to take things in his own hands and make the right decision.

Stifler's - posted on 10/05/2010

15,141

154

597

That's what I meant, they didn't want to be there and that's fair enough as it's not the most dignified experience ever.

Charlie - posted on 10/05/2010

11,203

111

401

Children can watch a birth everyones view on things is different some children like adults can handle seeing a birth , i know as a kid i loved anything medical , i sat in while my dads skull was cracked open and the doctors fixed it up with blood spurting up like a fountain , didnt love that my dad was hurt but i loved watching the procedure .

And i know many of my childless friends have sat in and watched those of us who have children give birth , they all loved the experiance !

Erin - posted on 10/04/2010

6,569

25

232

If a child is old enough, the parents can spend time preparing them for what will take place during a birth. They can be shown videos so they can learn what sort of sounds to expect from their mother while in labour, they can be educated about the placenta and fluid etc. I don't have any problem with children being present.

The problem here is that they expressly said they did not want to be involved. Why would a mother discount her children's obvious discomfort like that? That's what makes this situation wrong.

Stifler's - posted on 10/04/2010

15,141

154

597

Hahaha no but it was gross and white stuff and blood and umbilical cord and placenta came out. I can imagine little kids being horrified.

Jodi - posted on 10/04/2010

2,694

52

168

She admitted she knew her older was very sensitive, that in and of itself should have been enough of a push to make sure she didn't have to witness it. That combined with their very young ages, and that they vocally told her that no, they didn't want to be there, I think it was irresponsible, bordering mean to force them to be home in a tiny space for the big event. I realize that allowing children, even young children, to bear witness to a live birth is normal and can turn out fine and some children might even relish the memory forever; but there's other cases like this one, where the children did not want to be involved and probably shouldn't have been involved, that makes me wonder they now have a negative image of birth that will push them to either, never have kids (which is fine, but this would be for the wrong reasons) or be terrified to give birth, negatively impacting the birth of their own children.

She should have found a sitter, and asked them their desires long before she did IMO. On a side note, the dad is just as much to blame as the mom. He knew about the homebirth plan and should have also talked to the children, and when they expressed their desire to NOT be present, he should have taken that into consideration as well as the mother.

Stifler's - posted on 10/04/2010

15,141

154

597

p.s they're kids they don't need this experience until they're having a kid!!

Stifler's - posted on 10/04/2010

15,141

154

597

IMO nobody should have to witness a birth. I gave birth once and it was a bad enough experience to see my own blood and guts come out all over the bathroom floor. My boyfriend nearly passed out, imagine the horror for little kids.

[deleted account]

I agree with most of the posts here, the fact she completely disregarded her childrens opinions on watching the birth is wrong, and completely disrespectful to them.

Erin - posted on 10/04/2010

6,569

25

232

I love the idea of including older siblings in a birth, but only if they express a desire to do so! And there should ALWAYS be an adult present who's sole responsibility is attending to the child and answering any questions.

Charlie - posted on 10/04/2010

11,203

111

401

I think if you force a person to view something most likely percieved by them as horrific than yes irresponsible to say the least .

[deleted account]

I think if her daughters had wanted to be there, then that would have been ok. I think she should have respected their decision to not want to be there, and she should have made solid plans....a neighbor....grandparents....babysitter....anyone. I mean, especially since she was overdue...she had to know that it could happen at any time and that there would be NO time to arrange anything. I think if she had gone into early labor, things happen and if her daughters had ended up having to be there, then just keep them away if they don't want to see. But she had plenty...PLENTY of time to prepare.

About the whole home birth thing though? Except for the part of her daughters being so unhappy about it, the rest of the story made me cry. I'm all for home births and I think I would have considered one, had I had my son at a much earlier age. With a properly licensed doula or midwife present, of course. Or maybe I'm just in awe of the idea. Because to be honest, there was a comfort in having my son at the hospital with every possible medical professional on standby.

[deleted account]

I agree Teresa, I think kids should be able to make their own choices in life (within limits) and this situation should definitely be THEIR call. This mother disrespected her children's feelings and completely disregarded the fact that they were not comfortable seeing this process. It's not like a choice between wearing the pink or the blue shirt here which is minimal. It's the choice to be subjected to certain images that can be disturbing for many grown ups let alone children. Why would children be subjected to this when they are barely old enough to get the "birds and bees" talk...

It is beyond me how she could have figured this was a "learning experience".

[deleted account]

I think I'll just ditto pretty much everyone. Poor kids. :( Their wish should've been respected by their own mother. :(

Amie - posted on 10/04/2010

6,596

20

408

Everything Krista E said is what I feel on the subject too.

Good grief. =/

Rosie - posted on 10/04/2010

8,657

30

315

what a selfish twat! sorry but if you want to have a home birth and your kids WANT to be there, it's a totally different thing. but to subject a 3 and 7 year old to it when they clearly stated they didn't want to, is pretty twatty of her. (is twatty a word?? hehe). seriously, some people take things waaaaay to far.

April - posted on 10/04/2010

3,420

16

263

for me it's simple. if my son doesn't want to watch his future sibling come into the world, then he doesn't have to. it doesn't matter if i think he will regret it later, it is his right to make a choice.

now, i don't think it is TERRIBLE to want your kids to participate in a home birth situation and i do understand where this woman is coming from. you get this idea in your head of what your experience will be like. you have this dream in your head. it is unfortunate that the kids didn't want to participate...but lady, you should have let it go. making your kids watch you give birth isn't the same as making them do their homework. children have rights too, just like you have parental rights.

Sarah - posted on 10/04/2010

5,465

31

331

I thought I'd be the last person to say this, because I'm not really into all the whole home birth thing (for me) but although it was definitely selfish of her, and not something that I would have done in a million years, I have a funny feeling that they probably won't be scarred for life by it.

Now it's all over and done with, and it can't be changed, she may as well see it as an education and hope that they will take something positive from it. Not sure it will encourage them to have a home birth though. They might have been scared enough for it to put them off that and grow up being absolutely determined to have a hospital birth with lot's of drugs!!! lol

I don't advocate what she did at all, she should have respected her kids wishes. However, I do think kids are amazing at "getting over" things, I don't think they'll be scarred for life. They could be though, and that's not a risk I would ever take!

Louise - posted on 10/04/2010

5,429

69

2296

I think this woman was totally out of order here. A birth is a magical thing to watch if you are the parent but horrific if you are a child. My brother had his first child at 17 and was traumatised for months and he was the dad! God knows what mental damage she has done to her children. I am sure they will all be older mums as there is not a child in the land that would forget that experience. Birth as an adult is a very lovley experience but we understand that each contraction brings you closer to meeting your bundle of joy. All a child would see is mum in agony and when is it ever going to stop. I think this mum has allowed her personal feelings to cloud her judgement. If a child expresses a wish to be there then that is different as long as they are made aware what is going to happen and supported throughout the experience. A young mind is very impressionable I wonder how here children have dealt with this!

[deleted account]

You should respect your children's wishes..at that age i wouldnt of wanted to watch..i had a hard time watching it while i was pregnant in my birth class.One mom to be nearly fainted..you really cant push things on children etc..respect what the want.It was that ladies moment as an adult and she had no right to force that on her children..bad move....as you see it didnt work out the way that lady wanted it to.Good enough for her..i hope she learnt a lesson.

Becky - posted on 10/04/2010

2,892

44

92

Totally irresponsible and selfish!! While I would have no problem with allowing my children to witness me giving birth IF they wanted to - which I doubt they would, since I have boys - I would never, ever force them to, no matter what their age! Some children are so sensitive - she said herself that her oldest daughter was - and it could be very, very traumatic for them to see mom in pain like that! Plus, what if the unthinkable happens and the baby is born in distress or born still, or mom starts hemorraging - now either your husband has to leave you to tend to the kids while your or your baby is fighting for your life, or the kids have to witness that. No thank you! Even if I did have my kids there for the birth because they wanted to be there, I would have someone there who could take them if they became uncomfortable and wanted to leave, or if there was some sort of emergency. The fact that she didn't even have that arranged just blows my mind!

Kate CP - posted on 10/04/2010

8,942

36

754

My husband nearly fainted when he was in the room with me while I birthed our daughter. This time around he's going to be entertaining the kiddo while I'm birthing our son with my mom and my sister. I would *N-E-V-E-R* subject a three year old to a birth-it's scary has hell! All the blood, the pain, the grunting, the rushing around, the occasional panic...that's not a place for kids. To top it off this woman forced her children to watch and hear her birth which obviously upset them. The three year old was probably confused about the whole thing and may actually end up blaming the baby for mom's discomfort. My ruling? Selfish AND stupid. She does NOT get mommy of the year award for that one.

Petra - posted on 10/04/2010

533

16

22

She openly stated that she knew her youngest was staying away, scared shitless, because she was worried about losing her mother. You can arm yourself with all the knowledge of childbirth, but that does nothing to dampen the pain, fear and sheer unpleasantness of the experience itself. It is ugly and loud. There is no way that explaining the ins and outs of childbirth to a 3 and 7 year old could remotely prepare them for the real deal.

Selfish, insensitive, and disturbingly cavalier about scaring the shit out of her kids, is my ruling.

Tah - posted on 10/04/2010

7,412

22

357

i didn't even want to see my own birth..don't bring me any mirrors, just get it out and clean it off and then give it to me. I think it was irresponsible and selfish. Every child doesn't want to see this, yes it's a miracle, and some say it's beautiful....i think the results are beautiful, the road to getting there, not so much...

Johnny - posted on 10/04/2010

8,686

26

318

I wish to have a home birth the next time I have a child, and my daughter can be there if she wishes. But the moment she indicates even the slightest unhappiness about it, I would not want her to be there. I think it is very unkind to force anyone to participate in a birth, something that has a potential to be rather traumatic and perhaps scar them. I will be very careful to make arrangements and a back-up to make sure my daughter has a safe, comforting place to go the moment she needs to. And if she said in advance that she didn't want to be there, I would totally support that. This woman is very self-absorbed and has clearly made her birth more political than personal.

Jodi - posted on 10/04/2010

26,070

36

3891

There are some men out there who are traumatised by watching a child birth (yes, for some men it is an ordeal). If a supposedly grown man can be traumatised, imagine how a child must feel watching their mother go through a birth.

I think it was incredibly selfish of her to not have made other arrangements for the chikldren. To me, it borders on child abuse because there could indeed be potentially extreme trauma.

Kimberly - posted on 10/04/2010

705

59

32

Oy vey. That's all I got. Well that and the expression of ICK on my face.

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