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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DD can handle it, I know - she is 4 and nothing about the process would disturb her. My DS, on the other hand, I don't know about. He is 2.5 and loves hearing about baby in mommy's belly, and loves seeing new babies, but is absolutely distressed about the idea of baby coming out. I tried showing him some photos of his and his sister's births, and he loved the ones of mommy and daddy, the ones where I could point out that there he was or DD was in mommy's belly, and the ones with baby on mommy. He was very much disturbed by the ones where the baby was actually coming out.<br><br>
So how do I know if he'll be able to handle this concept when the baby comes? How are you all handling this? I wanted to keep the number of people at the birth to a minimum - I know that DD will want to watch and want someone available to watch with her, so should I have yet another person responsible for DS in case he just wants to sit and draw in the living room while I am giving birth? I'm only 10 weeks so I have some time to consider all this, but it is baffling me a bit (especially since support peoples are limited for me here).
 

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It would probably be a good idea to have someone to stay with your little ds and at the very least be able to explain to him whats going on. My first ds had barely turned 3 when I had #2 and he actually did ok at the homebirth. The blood didn't really bother him or anything - I don't think he quite understood what was going on. What did gross him out was the puke factor, so during that part my sister took him for a walk. He also got really hungry around lunch time (of course) so my sister made sure he got lunch, ect, as well as explained everything that was happening to mama, and that the new baby was coming.<br><br>
I think you'll be surprised at how well small children do at homebirths. My only thing is that they have someone close to snuggle them if they need it, make sure they are fed and such, or can take them away if they want. As far as being freaked out by the blood, and noises and stuff, while I'm sure there are kids that are, I haven't met any IRL that had those issues. In fact, most little kids I've known to have been at homebirths either slept through them, or stayed in the other room and colored -- not really being into what was going on. I'm talking about little little kids,like under 3, BTW.
 

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My daughter is ten and wants to see the baby being born but also says she's not sure she really wants to be in the room; she doesn't want to see blood. We have told her the blood is minimal and it's just a gush as the baby's born so you're not looking at it anyway, but she will be free to do as she wishes. I hope and expect she will be there. But she is older and has more formed tastes and such and really does feel ill at the sight of blood, like when her friend split her forehead open. As a doula I have seen many small children and toddlers at births and they are usually very happy, excited, and don't get the blood-and-guts aspect of it at all. The most precious image I have is of one very verbal, very precocious seventeen-month-old standing on her grandma's lap behind the OB, her little hands cupped and turning just as the OBs were as they massaged the perineum and guided the head out. She was thrilled with the hospital and the whole procedure and had a wonderful time. They were quite concerned due to her young age but obviously didn't need to be!<br><br>
I think it depends on the particular child, and being flexible. They say you should have someone there who's just responsible for the kid, but since my daughter is older I don't know if I'm going to utilize the offer of my friend. I probably will so she has company if she needs it and continuity if, god forbid, we have to transport.<br><br>
This uncertainty happened last time, too- I am so solitary I couldn't decide on having anyone else there and then afterwards wished I had. Due to my daughter's age and temperament and feelings about a new baby I think it very important she be present for the birth, if not in the room for the delivery. And when I think about it I would be more upset for her to be elsewhere than if my husband were stuck in traffic! *I* need her to be here!
 

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have you tried showing him some videos? my dd is 5 and we spent months watching different homebirth and unmedicated birth videos to let her know what would happen. it helped us a lot and she did great. maybe that might be a better gauge for your son of how he'd handle it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;">have you tried showing him some videos? my dd is 5 and we spent months watching different homebirth and unmedicated birth videos to let her know what would happen. it helped us a lot and she did great. maybe that might be a better gauge for your son of how he'd handle it.</div>
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He is disturbed even by the "A Baby Story" births - he loves seeing the babies afterwards, but even the implication that they have to come through mama's bottom really, really bugs him. I think he has decided it is painful, and even though I've said nothing of the sort it certainly doesn't LOOK comfortable in either the pictures or on the show. Do you think real videos would help?
 

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Ummm...even I'm disturbed by the Baby Story birth's :LOL. Yes, I think real homebirth videos would help. Especially ones that have little kids in them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anyone know where I can get DVDs? (I don't own a video player, and would feel pretty weird about heading over to MIL's to use hers....)
 

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The biggest thing that I'm concerned about is worrying my dd by crying or making unusual sounds. She gets very concerned when I am upset. I have been acting out what her birth was like, letting her know how I might be. I hadn't even thought about the blood and all, I guess I'd better bring that up, too!<br><br>
There are some children's books out there, I've heard good things about one called Runa's Birth, but haven't read it. I read another one at someone's house once about Ma McDonald had a Baby, but don't remember the details.
 

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Granted that I don't have TV, every time I've had a chance to see "A baby story" I've been pretty disgusted and dissappointed. Maybe they don't like showing gentle birth, maybe pharmaceutical companies are their major advertisers...<br>
That was my little mini rant<br><br>
I aggree that maybe you could try showing your ds some gentle home birth movies, but maybe that wouldn't be any kind of introduction for him, or indicator for you becuase it's still on the TV and not reality.<br><br>
I have quizzed my step daughter on her experience of watching her two little brother's home births and she apparantly didn't think much of the whole thing at the time. She is a full grown adult now, and she certainly wasn't tramatized by the experience at all - and her parents where doing the "back to the land" thing then, so she had no previous introduction with books or movies or anything of the sort.<br><br>
I was super cautious of inviting very few people to my daughter's birth as possible, but if I were having another, I think I'd definately invite my sister or good girlfriend to help with her understanding of the experience. I've read birth stories were midwife didn't arrive quick enough, so dad baby sat the two munchkins and mom caught! Woo Hoo! What a woman!<br><br>
Best of luck to you and I'm sure however you do it, it'll be beautiful...<br><span>Full of Beauty!</span>
 

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I think most kids - of any age - can handle birth. Provided they are attended by an adult that they like, feel safe with and are able to come and go as they wish.<br><br>
I really like showing kids birth videos. First, just having the video on for a few times without the sound. Then, later incorporating the sound. Most of the time, just having it on without a forced "let's watch this" is easier on kids.<br><br>
I also talk to kids about the noises of pushing, which seems to be the most frightening for kids. I have them try to push a refridgerator or something heavy. They inevitably make noise. I tell them that when moms push their babies out, making noise helps them, too.<br><br>
Giving kids a disposable camera can help. It can allow the child to still "watch" the birth, while giving them some distance (viewing through the viewfinder seems less "real" or "scary" than with our own eyes). Plus, they end up taking the BEST birth pictures!<br><br>
Having someone - preferably a person that is comfortable with birth, or homebirth if that's what you're planning - to be with your child helps.<br><br>
As a midwife, I like to incorporate the children in prenatal care as much as possible. I talk to them alot, so they know me and I know them by the time the birth happens. This makes it easier when I smile at them during the birth or say something to them.<br><br>
Making a birthday cake during labor is nice for siblings. Or, make the cake ahead of time, freeze it, and save the decorating for the birth day! Cupcakes can be made and decorated in one day easily. It also smells nice throughout the house!<br><br>
Whomever will be with the child(ren) should not be set on watching the birth. It may just so happen that the child(ren) may not want to be in the room for the birth. This is ok.<br><br>
I also ask kids what they would like to do at the birth. Some get towels, others help me set things up, some have the responsibility of cutting the cord or getting the blankets and hat for the new baby.
 

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From everything you've written it sounds like he may not want to be there. The important this is to respect that. Also to realize that your daughter may change her mind during an actual birth - so might your son. You really dont' know until it's happening. You need to have a person they both are very comfortable with there for them - two might be better. If either of the children want to be with you, they'll need someone. If either wants to leave, to eat, nap, or color, they'll need someone. Rather than worry about having in be too crowded in the room with you, maybe one person to come and go with the kids (the in-room person) and one to stay in the kitchen/living room (the lunch, coloring, etc person). One of them might end up with both children, but you never know.<br><br>
My son was 25 months when his brother was born at home. My screaming (yeah, I'm loud . . . as in, suprised no one called the police loud) woke him up. He went and watched movies with grandma - at was 11 PM. Came in after his brother was born. Took one look at him, said his name, and went back to the couch. He ended up staying up until after dawn, but was only with us a few minutes.<br><br>
He'd seen videos, we'd read books, etc. Nothing had phased him Just when it came to the actual birth, he really didn't care. You never know . . .
 

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I'm just lurking in this forum today....but I was curious about this.<br><br>
I've often wondered how children react to their mother screeching in pain. Yes, I know that it can be explained a la the pushing-the-fridge scenario, but I don't think anyone, even a child, is that naive to not recognize when their beloved mother is in incredible pain.<br><br>
I would worry that having my child there would make me feel limited or restricted in how I react to the pain, thus interfering with my ability to birth and respond the way I feel I need to. Also, I would be very worried about traumatizing my child seeing me in that sort of situation. Frankly, I get quite frightened, uncomfortable, and a bit traumatized myself when I see women in the throes of transition or pushing. I can't imagine how that might affect a young child.<br><br>
This probably sounds really ignorant to most of you, but I have always wondered this. Maybe y'all can enlighten me.
 

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My ds will be almost 3 when this baby is born. My SIL and her two kids are planning on being with him here for our homebirth. Ds adores his cousins, and I'm fine with the 9 year old watching the birth (the 13 year old boy. . . uh uh!)<br><br>
We have watched several natural childbirth shows on TV, and he was very interested. I'm not sure how he will deal with Mommy making those pushing sounds. So I know we need someone to be right there with him. If he doesn't want to watch, that's fine. But I do want him close by to meet Lila soon after she is born.
 

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Piglet, I've been to many births with children and I've never seen one that has been traumatized or reacted negatively about the vocalization of pain. Maybe I've had unique situations, but I think with some preparation, what I actually witness is kids being more DISinterested in the whole process.<br><br>
Somehow, I think especially with smaller kids, there is a knowledge that it's normal. It varies from child to child, and I think that if anyone feels inhibited or that they will worry about their child's reaction they should not have their child there. Obviously, worrying about your child during labor is not going to help you or that child.<br><br>
I am always really surprised at how much kids can see without the fears that we adults have and put on them. Every child is different, and it's important to remember that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did see my mom birth all of my siblings (3 of them - I was 3, 6, and 9) so I do have some first-hand knowledge. I remember it as being magical and non-scary. My mother, like myself, is not much of a vocalizer (if that is a word) - DH said I didn't ever yell or anything, the most I did was moan a little. He doesn't think it would be too scary for the kids at all. I remember during transition with my second I was walking from the bathroom to the bed and I stopped during a contraction, and whispered owww, owww, owww over and over - these aren't really the kinds of things that I think are going to traumatize my kids.<br><br>
I have a serious shortage of friends and family here. Pretty much just MIL and BIL. I don't know if I want MIL around during the labor - homebirth makes her very nervous and that is just not the right kind of energy. I know my family - mom, dad, bro & sis, would be happy to help and are very positive about homebirth - but they're a 5 hr. plane flight away (leaves only once a day) and I can't see that working too reliably :-(<br><br>
Anyway, we watched Unconventional Births last night and it was a big hit with both DS and DD (DD told me she thought I should have "her" - the baby - in the bathroom - DS asked me "have baby in a water?" while pointing to my belly). So I don't know, maybe it is just the tone of Baby Story type shows that bugs my DS.
 

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thanks for the reply, Pam. you are right: It's too easy to project adult issues onto children, who tend to see things much more plainly... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My son had just turned three when his brother was born. He was an absolute dream the whole labor and birth. He was very quiet and just watched me and when he was bored he watched TV. He slept for a good portion since my active labor was at night. I had my friend over to help with him if needed. She said he only asked once about what I was doing and if I was sick. My friend told him that I was not sick that his baby was coming. He just said "Oh, ok." Never showed any sign of concern after that. I was VERY loud during labor and I was screaming as I pushed. It did not bother him at all. Right after his brother was born my dh put him on the bed with us and he stared at the baby. After a couple minutes he looked at me and said "Baby come out mama's gyna?" I said yes and he said he was happy his baby came out.<br><br>
Since then (it's been 4 months) he is still talking about babies coming out of mamas "gynas". :LOL<br><br>
I think children naturally know there is some important happening. I would not worry at all.
 

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It didn't faze her at all during the actual labor, though she was pretty freaked out by the placenta. (I hadn't thought to prep her for that, and she was scared of the "big blood.") But at age 5, she remembers her sister being born, and talks very enthusiatically about it. Just now I asked her about it, and she said, "yeah, I liked it when she was born, but I WAS a little afraid you were borning a monster!" LOL! Anyway, she peeked in from time to time, but mostly watched PBS until the very end. She stood in the doorway as Nova was born.<br><br>
When our next babe is born, the girls will be 6y2m and 2y9m. We didn't have anyone extra for Jade during our last birth, though I had planned to take her to the neighbors. This time I think we'll be lining up a few possible helpers to call in case they are needed. I'm really hoping the babe is born while the kids are asleep though!
 
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