Why I Had My Children Attend Their Sibling’s Birth
When you add another child to the family one of the biggest concerns parents have is how the new baby will impact the family dynamic. One way to welcome a new baby is with the entire family present at the birth.
When well prepared, older siblings can be a sweet and special part of a family birth experience. Today we wanted to share some thoughts from mothers who have invited their older children to be part of the birth experience.
“My girls want to be at the next birth! They are asking me to have another baby just so that they can be there. My five year old has been telling me for two years that she is going to “help mamas have babies” when she grows up. Why not have them there is they want to be?!”
Emily Brister, Watford City, ND
“I am a gestational carrier for a good friend of mine. My girls will be attending the birth. They both watch birth videos with me now and say they want to be doulas too when they grow up.
As a mother, I think it’s an amazing opportunity to expose my children to how normal birth is, and to teach them to support other women during such a sacred time. On a surrogacy note, they know I am carrying A’s baby. I want them to see her going into the arms of her mother and watch that connection be made.”
Marsha Bucanek, Broomfield CO
“My older girls watched my 3rd and 4th children be born at home. It was all about the birth being a family experience and also being the first ones to meet their siblings. It’s healthy for our children to see what birth really looks like!”
“All four of my older children were at our youngest son’s birth. My oldest has been present for two of her siblings’ births. I wanted them to be present to see what a natural, hands-off birth looked like. They also all wanted to be present for our home birth, and even helped cut the umbilical cord.”
“My son is three and already such a good little doula! He reminds me all the time to drink my water and he’s so protective over me and his baby brother on the way. I really hope I give birth during the day so that he can be there! I know he’ll do great!! “
“I feel that when children are present at birth it prepares them for the future when they themselves are giving birth or supporting their partner. It gives them a chance to see that birth is normal and women are strong and capable.”
“I think it’s wonderful for children to get to be at the birth of their siblings. It’s a monumental event when a family grows. I also think it’s important to normalize birth and breastfeeding.”
“I want my kids to see birth as normal and get to be a part of seeing if it’s a boy or girl!”
“My second child wanted to be at the birth of my last child. I didn’t want to take that away from her. I think seeing their siblings being born really helps to bring home that this new baby is theirs too. That they have a role now as big brother/sister. I think it also helps to normalize birth. Birth isn’t something to be feared, but enjoyed.”
“My daughter wanted to see her sister being born so it wasn’t a hard decision to make. She had learned quite a bit about the birth process by asking me questions – she has an inquisitive nature. We made the decision together, and that made her feel like an important part of our family.
We’d come up with a plan that provided somewhere for her to go (activities in another room) if she felt like she wanted to leave at any point. She came in when she wanted to.
Now our “baby” is four years old and my daughter loves looking back and being able to say “I remember when…” – because she was there.“
Callie Corless, Denton, TX
“My older two children (4 and 6) were at the third birth and the look on their faces when they were checking in on me in labor, and when they got to be the first ones to see their baby sister is one I never want to forget! They were so excited and birth is now a normal and relaxing event in their minds!”
Kristen Spangler, Central Illinois
“I am planning on having my three-year-old daughter at the birth of her brother this summer. I want her first exposure to birth to be a positive and peaceful experience so she doesn’t grow up afraid of childbirth. Even if she doesn’t remember it, it will be great to have her meet him right away – she is so excited to be a big sister!”
Having older siblings present at the birth of their new family member is something that can sound bizarre in our modern day. A few hundred years ago, it was normal for families to be large and older children were likely involved, helpful, and part of welcoming a new sibling. This prepared young women for their own future childbearing as well as keeping normal a normal life event: childbirth.
If you or your older children desire their presence at birth, you are not alone. Precious memories and rivalry free relationships can result when you invite children to birth.
Childbirth can sound and look surprising to children who are not familiar with it. The Birth Boot Camp Sibling class (offered by instructors) or Sibling workbook are specifically designed for these children.
When planning to have children attend their sibling’s birth, it’s important that they are prepared, have seen come birth videos, and that you have an adult available who can take them elsewhere if needed. Listen to the child’s and the mother’s wants and needs during the process and adjust accordingly.
Teaching children that birth is normal begins young. Growing a family is an event that impacts everyone, not just the mother or the father. Having siblings at the birth really is a wonderful idea.