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By Rosemarie Gonzalez, MSC, MFC
Five years ago if someone would have mentioned the thought of my children being present at the birth of my third baby, I would have said no way. But after her birth it became something to think about for future births. My children were not in the house during the labor portion of the homebirth of my third baby. But were later brought to my home during the pushing stage and were spending that time downstairs, in the living room. They became restless downstairs and came up wanting to see their sibling being born. Before this time I had spent nearly two hours pushing and as soon as I knew my children were nearby knocking at my room door my third baby was finally making an exit out of my whom and into mine and my husband’s hands. It appeared that I needed the comfort
nowing that my children were home, nearby and well. Without them it didn’t feel right for me, which most likely aided in a longer pushing stage.
As with everything in labor and birth the choice to have children present at birth is a personal choice. It really depends on the birthing woman's comfort as well as the children's comfort. Some mother’s may feel like they cannot focus with their children present while others may feel a sense of comfort knowing their children are near. Just as some children may not want to be present at the birth as they may feel a bit frightened at the thought while others may feel excited at even the thought of witnessing the birth of their sibling. The choice is something that is based on what each individual family prefers. However, if the birthing women and child are comfortable with the idea there can be tremendous benefits.
A child being present at birth can help normalize birth for the child. The media tends to paint a frightening picture of birth making it difficult for these generations to see the normalcy in birth. This may also help them feel a part of helping to welcome their new sibling into the family creating an immediate bond.
One of the important things to do is prepare. Here is a list of ways one can prepare to have their children present at birth:
Birth is truly a wonderful miraculous experience that can truly benefit families who are comfortable with the choice of having children present. When making the decision to have children present at birth planning ahead can insure that the experience is a wonderful one.
Much Love and Blessings to all