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Debate: Friends at Birth or No?

Friends and sisters can be huge supports for pregnant women.

It’s so funny to me how obstensibly people say who should or should not be present at a woman’s birth. We recently explored the topic of dads being present at birth, remember? Now I read an article about how a friend should never be at a friend’s birth? Really?

This blogger on CafeMom says:

Childbirth is too personal. Childbirth is too … gross. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a beautiful, magical thing and all, but the stories I’ve heard of women … pooping … are not. And I’m sorry, I just don’t need anyone, aside from a medical professional, seeing that — if, God forbid, it should happen.

And it’s not just the pooping. It’s the whole thing. I’m imagining there’s going to be a lot of screaming, crying, pushing, and gripping. To me, that, and the act of another human — my human — coming into the world really is something that should only be seen by my husband and me.

What if the friend is a doula, a massage therapist or photographer that the mother WANTS to have there? What if the mother has had more experience birthing babies naturally than most Labor and Delivery nurses and can be a huge support to the mother?

If you want a friend or doula at a scheduled C-section, why not? If you want your husband there, or don’t want your husband there, you might have a good reason for feeling that way! I don’t think that pregnancy and childbirth is the time to be putting arbitrary judgments on another woman.

Just because you may not want your husband/friend/sister/mother-in-law/children at your birth, doesn’t mean that isn’t a valid option for someone else. Here’s an idea — let’s encourage women to be empowered to make birth choices that are right for THEM as individuals. Instead of trying to cram each woman into the same little box on the same little assembly line and tell them what their birth “should be”.

What do you think?

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