When a newborn enters the family, it’s an arrival that affects everyone.
It can change the dynamics of your brood and even incite some sibling jealousy – but some mums believe that they can overcome this by including their first born in the birth of their second.
Mum-of-two Rosamund involved her daughter in her birth story in one of the most immersive ways possible – stood in the birthing pool, shoulder to shoulder with the midwives!
As part of our #MyBirthStory series – where a group of mums share their own stories to prove that there is absolutely no such thing as the perfect birth – she explains why she decided to include her three-year-old in her water birth, and how it’s strengthened their family bond even further.
I’m quite an anxious person, and with my first birth, the stress of getting to the hospital, particularly because my husband doesn’t drive, was something I found really difficult.
That’s why I knew that second time around I wanted a home birth. The maternity centre near us had closed and so the thought of an even longer route to the hospital was stressful. I felt it was safer to give birth at home and have a planned home birth than to risk a side of the road birth.
It had been planned months before that Ramona would be part of the birthing experience, and preparation for that happened organically. Whenever she showed an interest and wanted to chat to the baby, we started gradually talking about it and when I was about six months pregnant I started showing her videos on YouTube.
Some showed women making noises and some didn’t. She knew that mummy would have to roar to help push the baby out and that it wasn’t scary noises that I was making.
Throughout my labour, she was an active part of my birthing journey; she held up my birth affirmation cards for me to read and tried to give me the gas and air, just wanting to be helpful.
It really helped me focus and keep calm as well. You get to that transition phase where it’s a bit scary and having her there in the room really helped me centre and feel relaxed.
When I started actually giving birth, she was right there between the shoulders of the midwives watching her brother come out. I think my daughter actually saw more than my husband did! He doesn’t like to watch the actual coming out bit, he holds my hand and talks to me. We did a little bit of hypnobirthing and he helped me breathe. Ramona was actually the main reason I knew I was crowning, she shouted up ‘he’s coming he’s coming, I see baby’s head!’ I have never seen anybody give birth, but she seemed to be completely fine with it!
The midwives were really happy about my daughter being there, being so interested and involved. It made the experience a real family event and I think it helped her understand the arrival of her baby brother. He didn’t just turn up, she understood what happened and how it had all came about.
Some people might find the idea of a three-year-old watching their mother give birth a bit odd, but luckily I received really positive feedback from everyone I know. Everyone just thought it was lovely, nobody said anything negative at all.
It’s been ten months now and she still talks about ‘when Mortimer came out of mummy’s tummy’ and ‘mummy was in the big paddling pool’. If anybody asks her what she wants to be when she grows up, she says “I want to help babies come out of mummy’s tummy”. It’s not something that’s been put into her head, we give her lots of examples like farmers and doctors, but it’s had a really big impact and I can see it’s had a positive effect.
There’s also not been any jealousy at all – I feel like it’s made it easier for her to understand his joining of our family. He’s not just turned up one day, she’s seen him arrive and I think she feels like she’s helped with that as well. Ramona and Mortimer are very close and she’s very motherly towards him. She absolutely adores him and tells everyone she meets, ‘this is my baby brother’.
I would definitely recommend this to other mums – it was absolutely fantastic. I would suggest having a back up plan because every child is different and you need someone on call to sit in a room and entertain them or take them out of the situation if they need it – but for us, she didn’t need that at all and it was just wonderful.
Have a #MyBirthStory of your own you want to share? Talk to us in the comment box below!