In our previously published SA is so not on board with children being involved in the birthing process! (see link below) Parent24 shared how many South Africans were of the opinion that children being present during labour and birth was "weird, creepy, traumatic and totally unnecessary."
One local mom reached out to us via Parent24 Chatback to share that while that might be true for some, her experience of involving her then 3-year-old son in the home birth of his sister some 20 years ago was one of the most special times in their lives as a family.
Read her story below:
'Glued to my side all the time'
"My now 20-year-old son was present throughout the entire home birth process of my daughter. He was 3 years old at the time.
I had included him in my pregnancy from start to finish. He was there with me when I did my home pregnancy test because he was glued to my side all the time.
I would talk to him about my growing tummy and tell him about the baby inside. When she began to move, I would let him feel her little kicks, and it got even more exciting when we could see her moving around.
I also showed him birth pictures in baby magazines and explained how babies are born using those pictures, so he knew what to expect.
By the time the day of birth came, it was a big event.
Some close family members waited downstairs to meet the newborn just moments after her birth.
'He watched the whole process'
My mother, husband, and son were present with our midwife and doula. My son was free to come and go as he wished and the door to our bedroom, where I gave birth was open the whole time.
He was concerned about the labour pain once I was in the birthing pool, so his father gave him a jug and suggested he pour water over my back to help ease the pain.
He took on this very important task with such pride and care that it was ever so sweet.
Once baby came, he watched the whole process, my mom and his father by his side. He was amazed and excited. He also watched the cord-cutting, and every question he asked was answered honestly.
He was allowed to help dress his new baby sister and go downstairs to present her to the family.
That night, we set up a mattress on our bedroom floor next to our bed and let him fall asleep with her in his arms, which was very tender and sweet.
'As close as can be and always together'
He felt very important and was very protective of her. Following that, as the years went by, they were as close as can be and always together, getting into mischief, both very protective of one another.
Never ever has my son expressed that it traumatised him or was in any way a negative experience for him. He has told me he remembers it all and wouldn't do it any differently if he had a choice.
It is a natural process that we almost all will face throughout our lives; why make it taboo? Welcoming a child into the family should be a relaxed and special experience and include family members in some way.
My son had support all the way between my mom, my husband, the midwife who was wonderful and also the other family members whom he was free to go back and forth to at any time.
He was actually an amazing little boy and his interest in this big event and inclusion, I feel, made a world of difference to our family bonding.
Was your eldest child present at the birth of one (or more) of their siblings? Find our details below and tell us your story.
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