When a new baby arrives, an older brother or sister’s first visual is typically of their new sibling wrapped up in that pink and blue hospital blanket — all clean and adorable. But such was not the case for 12-year-old Jacee Dellapenna, who was not only present for the birth of her baby brother, but actually helped deliver him in what appeared to be nothing short of a magical moment.
Pictures of Jacee helping to catch the baby — and even cutting the cord — were shared by her family on Facebook soon after the birth. But things really began to take off when family friend and singer-songwriter Nikki Smith shared them on her fanpage. Since June 7, the images have gone viral, having been shared over 142k times as of this writing.
Smith shares that when she first saw the photos, she strongly felt they needed to be seen by the world.
“Jacee is a superstar for doing it and she’s so brave,” she tells Babble. “Birth is a very natural process and I thought that people seeing a 12-year-old overwhelmed with happiness delivering a baby herself would help get that message across. I think it was special with her delivering the baby because she will always have that memory and a bond with that baby. And who knows? She may be a doctor one day.”
Jacee’s mother, Dede Carraway, who lives in Mississippi with her family, tells Babble that she wouldn’t be surprised if Jacee did become a doctor one day, either. “She’s definitely changing interests,” Dede shares. “She’s very into the whole thing since the birth.”
Dede said that deciding Jacee would be present for the birth was a family decision based on their shared believe that birth is natural process and that we shouldn’t hide it away from children who feel comfortable with it, and want to be involved.
Jacee, who was already an older sister to a 19-month-old younger brother, wanted to be more involved in her second brother’s birth and asked her mother, who says she saw nothing wrong with allowing it. Dede also knew it was going to be her last baby and her daughter’s last chance to witness the birth of a sibling. Still, she admits didn’t expect her to be so heavily involved.
As for actually catching the baby? Dede admits that wasn’t pre-planned. “It was our crazy doctor’s idea,” Dede shared with Babble with a laugh, adding that he lovingly encouraging Jacee to jump in and assist with the delivery.
In the end, Dede was more than thrilled her daughter got to have the experience, not just because it’s quite an amazing memory, but also because she feels it may serve her in a powerful way in the future.
“When I had my first baby [Jacee] at 22, I never knew what it was about,” shares Dede — a fact that remains pretty true for most American women heading into their first births. We often don’t witness a birth until our own comes around, and that can sometimes mean there are lots of surprises.
But in many other cultures (especially where home births are more common), the birth often happens with siblings present in the room to observe (or even assist), while the household buzzes with friends and family who are on-hand to support. And it makes sense that the more women experience seeing birth themselves, the less they may fear it when it comes to their own. If there isn’t so much mystery, the fear of the unknown goes away.
Dede believes that Jacee will likely have a different understanding of birth than most, and view it as a natural process, if she chooses to become a mother one day in light of this experience.
While some commenters who saw the images were quick to judge, saying that perhaps being involved in the birth of a baby is too mature of an experience for a young girl, most were overwhelmingly supportive of the amazing delivery. And it’s hard not to see the beauty in the images of a child witnessing and partaking in such a profound life experience. The look on Jacee’s face shows alone pure joy and amazement at the new life she holds in her hands. It’s an incredible moment I’m willing to bet this big sister won’t soon forget.