Danielle McCarthy

Family & Pets

Heated online debate as mum asks: "Is it OK for my child to watch me give birth?"

Heated online debate as mum asks: "Is it OK for my child to watch me give birth?"

A mother has created an online debate after asking people to share their thoughts on her allowing her eight-year-old daughter to watch on as she gives birth to her new baby at home.

The divisive question was discussed on parenting forum Mumsnet, where members shared their opinions on the topic.

"I'm pregnant and my eldest has expressed that she would like to be there for the delivery," the mum wrote.

The mum explained that her previous labours have been smooth, saying that she always coped well with the pain and was planning to do her next birth at home.

She said that if her daughter found the experience overwhelming, she could retreat to her bedroom to read.

Although the midwives told the mum they had no opposition to an older sibling being present during the birth, she admitted that the family was still struggling to make a decision.

"I'm not sure if the idea is entirely crazy, or a wonderful thing to do," she wrote.

This is the mum’s last pregnancy and will be the only chance for her eight-year-old daughter to witness a sibling being born – making the decision even more difficult.

A debate quickly sparked over the mum’s dilemma, with some believing a birth could be “frightening” for an eight-year-old child.

"Sorry but I think this is a bad idea," commented one person. "How well do you honestly think an 8-year-old would cope seeing her mother like that?"

Another person agreed, saying: “I hope everything will go well for you, but what if it doesn't? That would be very frightening for a child her age."

“Even if you have the most straightforward birth ever, and the most predictable 8-year-old ever, they could still be alarmed by a normal birth,” another chimed in. “Blood, a newborn screeching – or not screeching quick enough – tears. Or any kind of discussion of needing resuscitation or a trip to the hospital. Any of that could really frighten a child.”

However, others believed that if the child was properly supported, it could be a wonderful experience.

"Absolutely just make sure she understands it all first and has someone there that can be in the room or outside if she needs to get out. What a wonderful bond they would have," wrote one supporter.

"Maybe watch some birth videos beforehand, and talk about what she may see/hear, and if she changes her mind she can leave then I genuinely don't see an issue,” another commented.

One mum, who allowed her seven-year-old daughter to watch her give birth, also shared her thoughts on the experience.

Assuring the undecided mother that it was a beautiful experience, she explained that her daughter was “allowed to pop in and out and my sister was there to look after her".

"She was asleep for most of the labour as it was during the night but was there for the last hour or so. She was fascinated, if anything and was really mature about the situation, we'd talked a lot about it beforehand so she knew what to expect.

"Some people might think it's a bit odd but it was an amazing moment to have shared as a family.”

In 2016, it was revealed that Jamie Oliver’s two eldest daughters, Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo, witnessed the birth of their baby brother River Rocket.

Jamie’s wife, Jools, said the girls were the ones who cut his cord.

The celebrity chef described the experience as “amazing to witness” and “very, very emotional”.

Do you think children should watch their mothers give birth? Let us know in the comments below.