When a new little one is about to come into your family, the adjustment can be difficult for the new big siblings. There's a lot of information out there about how to help your children adjust to a new baby once the baby is home, but there's not a tremendous amount of information specifically about the birth process itself, and what to expect mama will be going through as the new family member joins this world. Obviously, what you tell your children will depend on their age and interest level, but having resources to turn to share with them will help make this miraculous event in their lives one they'll feel even more a part of and all the more special.
I've written before about preparing your child to attend the birth of a sibling. A big part of preparing my son to see me labor and give birth was watching videos with him. I got a lot of questions about what videos I watched. There are many readily available on YouTube, and I'll going to share some of the ones I've found that do a great job of covering aspects of birth.
The most important thing to me was that my son was prepared for what would be happening, but in a way he wasn't scared and that helped him to know my focus would not be fully on him. It was especially helpful for my son to know what kinds of noises I might make and how I might be concentrating inward. It was also important that he understood where the baby would be coming out and what the baby would look like. Those things are sometimes a bit jarring for grown adults (though why, I'm not sure) and so I wanted to be sure my son would feel as comfortable as he could during my labor and birth process.
Even though I've watched these videos and find them beautiful and educational, I'd suggest you always screen videos before you show a young child. You need to be prepared to answer the questions they'll have. You'll need to know if any aspect of the video may be upsetting to them. You know your child best so you'll certainly be the best judge of what they're mature enough to handle. And if you have multiple children, be prepared to have them ask different questions and possibly be at different points of acceptance for viewing. One video may be more appealing to one of your children, while another may be what they need to have an idea of what's to come.
Most importantly, have conversations with them after viewing to be sure that any questions are answered and any feelings they may have can be freely and openly shared. The goal in preparing them is to help them enjoy being part of this miraculous happening in their family, but being children, they may not be as interested or in awe as we are. That's okay. They get to feel what they feel, but you trying to prepare them for what's to come will help them do so without having extra confusion about the process they didn't understand.
That said, I hope these birth videos are a great jumping-off point.
1. This is a great first video. The way it's edited and presented is gorgeous. It's a peaceful home water birth where two older siblings are in attendance. You can clearly see the baby emerging under the water. There's a very sweet moment as one of the older sisters meets her new sibling for the first time. It's gorgeous cinematography and you'll want tissues as the girls meet their newest little for the first time. Precious.
2. This video is also edited with music and is enjoyable to watch. It's another home water birth. There is a sweet moment with the older siblings before they leave. There is a break in the music when it comes time for the birth, and the mom makes some moaning pushing sounds. This is good for children to see that childbirth can cause discomfort but that strong support systems and training in mindful laboring can help make a difference. It's a beautiful entrance to the world.
3. Here is yet another water birth as the mama gives birth in the tub.. This one is not incredibly peaceful or calm but mama did this with no medicine so if that's the route you're going with, you can show your kiddos that there is some pain they may expect to see you in, but that in the end, their beautiful sibling will be there and you'll be like a superhero. This was a poignant one as her baby born was a Rainbow Baby, meaning she'd had a baby die before this one was born.
Related: Mom Brain: What Pregnancy Does To A Woman's Brain After Birth
4. This video is also incredibly peaceful. Mom is lying on a pallet on her side when she delivers. There is excellent detail in showing how the baby's head emerges from the birth canal, and then twists so that the body can be born. It's absolutely gorgeous and mom is beaming. This one continues during the third stage as well with the delivery of the placenta.
5. An older sibling attends this home water birth. There is a great range of sounds and behaviors from mom as she is in the intense part of labor. There are many times where she is breathing heavily and concentrating, and lots of pushing and grunting and yelling. But between contractions, she's calm and cheerful and talking to her daughter who is in the room.
6. This video was originally in German, and features a hypnobirthing experience. It shows how hypnobirthing can help make the labor process calm and peaceful and how a mama can go through contractions with little pain and mindfully. Littles will probably find it very soothing, and hope that their mama's experience is similar, but you'll want to be sure to let them know that it may not be similar if you're not hypnobirthing. No judging if you're not...just be sure to let them know this is one experience.
Image: Kala Bernier