Sometimes we forget just how deeply our children feel things — even the things that they seem too young to comprehend or make sense of. And yet, they feel many of the same things we do, and sometimes are affected by the events in our life just as intensely as we are.
Kelsey Davis’ 8-year-old daughter Brooke seems to be one of those kids who you might characterize as an “old soul” — having the maturity and wisdom to understand things well beyond her years. At just 3 years old, when her mom Kelsey had to break it to her that she’d lost the baby she’d been pregnant with and that Brooke was excitedly expecting, Brooke took it hard.
“It was heartbreaking. It really hit me hard … and Brooke especially,” Kelsey shared with PEOPLE. “She was so young and we had been telling her she was going to be a big sister. So she took it really hard. She was completely heartbroken.”
Brooke was so devastated by the news that her parents decided not to tell her about their next two pregnancies, which sadly also ended in miscarriage. But when they welcomed their second baby girl in 2016, they made an unconventional choice — and one that ultimately ended up being miraculously healing for everyone.
They allowed Brooke into the delivery room to witness her sister Ellie’s birth — the family’s rainbow baby.
That birth was such an amazing experience for Brooke and the Davis family that they decided to do it again when Brooke’s second sister Summer was born in 2017.
But this time, Brooke would have an even more involved role than she had before. Brooke, who was over-the-moon about welcoming another sister, asked her mom if she could actually help deliver the baby this time.
“She liked the idea and at my next appointment I brought it up to my midwife,” Kelsey told What To Expect. “She said Brooke could even help deliver and catch the baby! The smile that drew up on Brooke’s face was pure excitement! I prepped Brooke by explaining the positioning, where she could place her hands, that the baby will be slippery and that there will be a lot of blood, but that it is all normal.”
And it turned out that Brooke was the perfect birth assistant. Even at such a young age, she had fantastic instincts, rubbing her mom’s feet, walking the halls with her mom during contractions and bringing her mom water. (Oh my God, I would have used a Brooke at my births!)
The Davis family snapped some touching photos of the event and shared them on their own Facebook accounts. Recently, they were shared on the Facebook page for Love What Matters, where Brooke and Kelsey’s story has gone viral.
“When I first posted the pictures, it was just to share with my friends and family on Facebook,” Kelsey shares with Babble. “Then it kind of just took off from there!”
Kelsey says that Brooke’s experience of watching her mother give birth was not traumatizing at all for Brooke, and that it was a positive bonding experience for all involved. In fact, as Brooke herself shared with What to Expect, the experience might inform some future career choices for the young girl.
“It was really cool being there,” Brooke said. “I think it made all three of us have a very close bond. I learned how to help expel the placenta from the abdomen, and I also realized when I grow up I want to be a midwife.”
You go girl!
And what about Kelsey’s experience having Brooke as her little helper? It was as incredible as it looks, according to the mom.
“It meant everything to me!” Kelsey told What to Expect. “I couldn’t have imagined not having her there! She’s such an awesome sister and daughter … I think a lot of society takes for granted what a kid can handle. We don’t give them enough credit — they’re very aware and smart.”
Kelsey tells Babble that while having your child at birth is not for everyone, it can really be a fantastic choice under the right circumstances. And she shared some thoughts about how to know if this choice is right for you.
“I would say if your child wants to be in there, then by all means let them,” Kelsey says. “Explain it to them and let them choose what extent they want to be involved! This is their family growing and it isn’t surprising if they want to be a part of it. It’s natural and not a scary thing at all and it creates such a great bond as siblings and an entire family unit!”
As for how to help your own child mourn from a miscarriage in the family, Kelsey also has some great words of wisdom.
“I would tell [parents] to just be there for their child,” she tells Babble. “Encourage them talk about it if they want to, if they need to cry that’s okay too. They mourn the loss just like we would.”
What an awesome mom, daughter, and family. I wish them the best, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for Brooke, who is definitely the most unbelievable 8-year-old birth assistant I’ve ever heard of.