We all go into our birth experience with a plan that’s unique to us and our family. It may or may not go according to plan, but when it’s NOT your first time, there is a new person to take into consideration – the older sibling.
Not everyone thinks a young child belongs in a delivery room, but for Long Island mom Rebecca, there was no question in her mind that she wanted Hunter, her three-year-old daughter, to witness the birth of her baby brother.
In order to make the day special, Rebecca and Hunter had intense discussions about what labor and delivery would look and sound like, they watched videos of other births, and they decided to have the birth at home so that Hunter could be as close and involved – or not – as she wanted to be in the moment.
“Kids perceive things in the way adults react to it, so if birth is not made out to be scary or traumatic or what not, kids are not going to think that it is,” Rebecca told Cafe Mom. “Birth is such a natural part of life and such an awesome moment, especially for a brother or sister to be there when their sibling is born; it really makes such an awesome connection for them for the rest of their lives.”
Luckily for Rebecca and her family, everything went according to plan. And when it was time to push, Hunter came downstairs and sat on her dad’s lap for a minute, quietly asking questions before she dove headfirst into the experience. And no one was a bigger cheerleader for her mom through the rough stuff, according to doula and birth photographer Nicole Lahey:
“She would gently stroke her mom and tell her she was doing a great job and she kept exclaiming how excited she was to meet ‘her baby…When Rory started to crown, the midwife invited Hunter over to be the first to touch her baby brother. Hunter gladly reached over and put her finger on his head and said ‘it’s squishy.'”
Hunter never left her mother and new brother Rory’s side after the delivery except to run and get his birthday cupcakes. They all sang to him, and Hunter even helped him to latch on to their mother’s breast for the first time.
She also gave skin-to-skin a try when her mother asked whether she would like to hold Rory soon after his birth.
“She immediately began pulling her shirt and flew over to the couch to sit down and hold him. She asked me why she had to take her shirt off so I explained that brand-new babies love the feeling of warm skin on their new bodies and I assured her she would love it, too. The second we placed him on her chest her smile just literally melted everyone watching,” Nicole gushes.
The doula had a similar experience with her own toddler and newborn previously, and feels that “siblings who watch their little sibling’s birth are much more connected and compassionate with one another.”
Only time will tell whether that will hold true for Hunter and Rory, but for now, these two are as thick as thieves.
h/t: Cafe Mom