Pregnancy & Birth

An expectant mum has asked the internet if siblings should be at the birth and, boy, did it blow up

Would you ever have your child at a birth?

By: Rebel Wylie

Giving birth is a miraculous, life changing experience … but it ain't always pretty. Which begs the question, just who should be there while it's happening?

A mother has created an online stir by asking what's turned out to be a pretty divisive question … should she have her eight-year-old daughter there to watch while she gives birth to her new baby at home?

The question was posed on parenting forum Mumsnet, where the expectant mother asked what people thought about the idea.

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

Explaining that her previous birth experiences have been smooth sailing, she went on to say that she had always coped well with the pain and was planning a home birth this time. Meaning that it was too much for her daughter she could always retreat to her own room to read.

The midwives have told her that they have no opposition to an older sibling being present and ultimately the decision was up to the family, but they were struggling to make a decision.

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

Given that this is their last ever pregnancy, there will only be this chance for her daughter to witness a sibling being born, giving the decision even more weight.

A mum has asked if having siblings at the birth of a new baby is a good idea, and the internet has gone all in.

Should siblings be at birth?

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

Another agreed that it might be too much for such a young child to see if something were to go wrong, writing, "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. 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," writes another.

Traumatic or a wonderful bonding experience?

However not everyone was opposed to the idea. Many suggested that her daughter watch some birthing videos and determine for herself whether she wants to see her mum like that. While others said that it should be fine as long as there were another trusted adult there for the sole purpose of supporting the eight-year-old through the journey.

"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," writes on supporter of the idea.

"When working as a midwife, I had some women whose older children wanted to be present and so they were," a midwife chimed in.

"If you are happy and comfortable with it, and she is aware of what it will involve and you have a plan of what happens if it gets too much for her then it's not an issue.

"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."

A mother who had experienced this exact scenario also commented, assuring the new mum that it was a beautiful experience for her nearly seven-year-old, writing, "She 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 celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver made headlines when it was revealed that his two eldest daughters, Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo, then 14 and 12, had been present to witness their baby brother River Rocket being born. Their mother, Jools explained that it was the girls who cut his cord.

Oliver spoke of the experience, calling it "amazing to witness, very very emotional."