When it comes to giving birth, if you're the one doing all the hard work, you're the one who can call the shots. So, whether a woman has just her partner and mum in the labour room, or she has a big support group including best friends, family members and the neighbour cheering her on, it's a her choice.
However, one mum, named Rebecca opted to have her three-year-old daughter Hunter in the room, and the story, which was shared by Rebecca's doula, Nicole Lahey, on her social media accounts, is drumming up a lot of mixed opinions.
"Hunter's parents prepared her so well for this experience," Nicole wrote next to a photo of the little cuddling her newborn sibling.
"They discussed anatomy in proper terms. She knew the word 'placenta', and she wasn't afraid of the blood she saw."
According to Lahey, Hunter didn't "cower" when her mother "roared her brother out". "She didn't get nervous or concerned about it, at all."
Instead, the three-year-old asked questions, played with her dolls, nibbled on snacks and entertained everyone in the room with her sweetness. But, don't think Hunter kept herself busy in the corner while her mum gave birth to her brother, Hunter was completely active in the birth.
"She held her brother's head as he crowned, she cheered her mom 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 is if she wanted to hold her newborn brother, the little girl said yes without hesitation. Lahey explained to Hunter that she should take her shirt off because "brand new babies love the feeling of your skin", the toddler was comfortable to do so.
With her arms around her little brother, Lahey says Hunter was in heaven and didn't want to him back to her mum.
"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," explained the doula.
Speaking with CafeMom, Lahey elaborated more on the birth. She said that Hunter helped her baby brother latch onto his mum's nipple for the first time, she also inspected his cord and felt it pulsate.
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"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," Lahey ended her post.
To many social media users, the story was inspiring and touching. However, not everyone supports Rebecca's decision to have a three-year-old participate in the birth.
"There are so many NO'S I don't even know where to start," wrote one.
Some joked that they wouldn't let the kids watch a horror film let alone watch them give birth, while others showed more concern.
"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.
Social media users were quick to jump to Rebecca's defense, sharing their own similar labour stories and calling out those shaming her decisions.
"We don't know Hunter—maybe she's more emotionally advanced than our kids, her mama knows best," one wrote before adding: "Moms don't have time for judging!"