Normalizing Birth for Children

Motherhood | 0 comments

My eldest son witnessed his first birth around 1.5 years old. He stood with his little rubber boots on the fence and held on to the cable and watched as the calf emerged, feet, then face, then a wet body slipping out onto the bedding pack. I’d like to say it was a beautiful and life changing moment for him, but it wasn’t. He didn’t think there was anything much special about it. He saw calves of various sizes every day and he must have just realized that the life of a calf has to start somehow. So when I told him that the mama cow was pushing a calf out of her body, he took it as a perfectly normal occurrence.

Over the years, he (along with his brothers) has witnessed numerous births. Thanks to YouTube he has seen elephants, giraffes, horses, dolphins, and several others. Births he has witnessed live include numerous calves and kittens as well as the births of his younger brothers. Yes, you read that right: he witnessed the births of his brothers. And he will likely be present when our newest baby makes his or her appearance earth-side in a few weeks. (If you are interested, the story for the unassisted home water birth for my third son.)
I have been asked by friends and care providers whether I was concerned about traumatizing my kids by having them at their siblings’ births. I explain that I do some prep work including talking about the process, reading stories about birth, and even watching birth videos online. Sometimes this convinces them that it’s “okay” for me to have my kids present (as if I need their permission) and other times they remain skeptical. Inwardly, I’m reminded of how warped most people’s opinions of birth are.

Birthing a child is not a medical disorder or event any more than conceiving or carrying that child is.

My eldest’s attitude toward birth hasn’t changed from the first time he witnessed it: it’s a normal process that has been happening since the beginning of time. Birthing a child is not a medical disorder or event any more than conceiving or carrying that child is. It’s a time that requires privacy, love, and intimacy, much the same as the event that created that new life in the first place.
I believe that farm life has allowed our children recognize that birth is a natural process and not something to be feared or managed. Through farming research and experience, my husband knows that cows labour better if they are left to their own devices and we have a much lower intervention rate than on farms where farmers intervene or manage births within their herd. That was the number one reason why he shifted his mind on human birth (yes, he compared me to a cow, and no it wasn’t the first or last time).
I enjoy research and statistics and all of the research shows that birthing is largely influenced by the mother’s mindset. Speaking from an evolutionary standpoint, women have been birthing since the beginning of time and, therefore, must be properly suited to such a task. From a God standpoint, women were designed to birth and God doesn’t make mistakes. While I’m grateful for the availability of medical intervention when necessary, most women don’t need it and their birth experience is only aggravated by it.
This evening my eldest, nearly 9, asked me why his friend’s sister was born at a hospital and through surgery. I told him that was the mother’s choice based on the information she had received. He told me it seemed silly to need a hospital and surgery for something a simple as having a baby. I agree son. May you keep this peace and trust regarding birth when it comes time for your own wife to have your children.

What are your thoughts and/or experiences with children attending birth? 

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