When you picture giving birth, you probably imagine doing it with just your S.O. and maybe your mum in the room. But some parents prefer a larger support group while giving birth, and will even have their older kids present, too.
One woman named Rebecca opted to have her 3-year-old daughter Hunter in the room, and the story, which was shared by Nicole Lahey, Rebecca’s doula and birth photographer, on Love What Matters, is drumming up a lot of controversy online.
“Hunter’s parents prepared her so well for this experience,” Nicole wrote next to an adorable photo of the little girl in glasses cuddling with a newborn. “They discussed anatomy in proper terms. She knew the word ‘placenta’, and she wasn’t afraid of the blood she saw.”
Hunter also didn’t “cower” when her mother “roared her brother out” and didn’t get nervous or worried at all. “She asked questions, she played with her babies, she ate snacks, and she kept us all entertained with her adorableness,” Nicole wrote. “She held her brother’s head as he crowned, she cheered her mum on as she pushed him out, she rubbed her mother’s hair so gently; as they both gazed lovingly at this new tiny life in front of them.”
Hunter was asked if she wanted to hold the baby (she did), and Nicole asked her to take her shirt off (babies love the feeling of skin-to-skin, she explained). “She was in heaven, and didn’t want to give him back to his mum,” Nicole wrote. “She held him with the biggest smile as he bobbed his head around, looking for a breast. She giggled, as we told her he wanted to nurse.”
Nicole tells CafeMum that Hunter even helped her baby brother latch onto his mum’s nipple for the first time and got super hands-on in other areas, too. “She inspected his cord and got to feel it pulsate …. She did not miss a single beat and was a huge participant in every aspect of her brother’s birth,” Nicole said.
Nicole ended her Facebook post on this note: “Birth is the most normal part of life; share it with your children and teach them from the beginning, that birth is nothing to fear. Birth is strength.”
While the story may seem sweet to some people, many Facebookers who read the post weren’t so supportive of Rebecca’s choice to let Hunter participate in the labour.
“There are so many NO’S I don’t even know where to start,” wrote one commenter, which started a heated debate about whether or not this was a smart parenting choice. Some joked about the situation, saying things like “Ya know, most parents don’t let their young kiddos watch horror movies, childbirth can be just as scary as one though!” and “I would not have wanted to expose my children to the language I use when I’m in labour.”
Whereas others were downright concerned: “Childbirth is beautiful and sharing some parts of it with older siblings is beautiful also, but not EVERYTHING. Kids that young, no matter how prepared or informed, are not equipped with the same brain maturity as adults and what they may go through afterwards,” one commenter wrote.
Still, others were quick to jump to Rebecca’s defence, noting that it was her choice as a mum: “We don’t know Hunter — maybe she’s more emotionally advanced than our kids, her mama knows best. Mums don’t have time for judging!” Many mums also shared their own stories about including their kids in the childbirth experience.
What do you think of including a toddler during labour?
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US
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