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Giving Birth With The Whole Family

I'll do more than offer moral support - I'll catch your baby.

Giving birth to a child is one of the most amazing events in a woman’s life, but is it one that should be shared with the entire family? A recent article in the Boston Globe discussed the growing trend of mothers who choose not just to have their partner in the delivery room but all of their children as well!

Having Annie in the delivery room for any children I may have in the future is not an option since I can only have c-sections (a result of the emergency classical c-section performed to deliver my oldest daughter, Madeline), but if it were a possibility I would strongly consider it. Not too long ago my friend, Meghan, invited me be in the delivery room with her for the birth of her now twenty month old son, Oliver, and it was one of the most amazing days of my life.

My experience with Meghan made me understand why some mothers want their older children in the delivery room. Seeing a sibling enter the world could create an immediate and strong bond between the older children and the younger sibling (I know I immediately felt a strong bond to Ollie that continues to this day), and it could also make them appreciate their mother more. “That’s right, kid. Mom doesn’t just wipe your butt and make your PB&J… she also makes babies!”

There are other potential benefits I can imagine. Allowing a child to be “part of the experience” (as opposed to left out as you and your partner meet the new baby) might ease any potential anxiety for the older siblings. It could also be a great learning lesson as it would teach children first hand about how babies comes into the world.

There are things I would worry about though if I were to consider doing this with Annie. Giving birth can be intense, and children might be scared or worried about their mother if they saw her screaming or in pain. Another troubling thought is what if the older children come to associate the new baby with hurting their mother? That might take some serious psychiatric bills to undo.

Deciding whether to have your older children in the delivery room with you is a very personal choice (and obviously depends on the policy at each hospital, and the maturity level of your kids), but I think it could be incredibly meaningful for the whole family. I wish it was an option for me next time around. Would you do it?


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