I witnessed my little brother's birth at home when I was 10 and am now planning to have my 5-year-old daughter at my upcoming birth. I'd love to hear some stories about how you prepared your children for the home birth of a new sibling. I will have a trusted relative here to care for my daughter's needs or stay with her in the event of a transfer. And my daughter has watched Gentle Birth Choices (thoughwe need to watch it again, it's been a while) . But I'm interested to hear about how you may have prepared your kids and how they handled being at the birth.

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Sounds like my situation. My daughter is really excited about it, and watching Gentle Birthing Choices, although she'd seen it before, opened her up to asking alot of questions about the whole process.

A friend of mine's two daughters (4 and 2 at the time) quite accidentally witnessed the birth of their third child, and she said the only thing that she wished she would have prepared them for, was the amount of blood during delivery. They both were a little concerned about that, but upon explanation about where it came from, they stopped worrying. She also had a very negative experience with family members who questioned the girls about the experience and made them feel guilty and frightened about what they had seen after the fact. but it sounds as if you have a very supportive team for your whole family so that negative energy shouldn't be an issue.

I am going to let people that she sees on a regular basis know that she will be witnessing the birth(along with my 2 yr old) to eliminate any shocked reactions she might get if she tells them after the fact.

My midwife has lots of photos of labor and birth that my daughters have looked through, that have helped prepare them for things I wouldn't have thought to explain. Like the fact that the baby will be wet. That seems an insignificant detail to us, but to my five yr old it warranted an explanation. I think the last things I've learned from people of asked is that the support system for the child(ren) is key. They have to be comfortable to ask questions, and leave if they feel they need to.

Lastly, this is a great book! http://www.homebirthchildrensbook.com/

Good luck and let us know how it goes! When are you due?
Thanks those are great suggestions! I'm due Dec 18 but feeling so HUGE already :)
I'm a doula, and I talk about pregnancy and birth all the time, so my kids hear about it a lot. When I was planning my home birth earlier this year I found that my older two kids (9 and 6) started asking questions about what certain terms meant and how babies actually came out if they weren't surgically removed (I have my 6 yr old to thank for that one!). I answered their questions in simple ways they could understand, but I didn't offer more info than what they asked about. I was worried that they might not be prepared for seeing their own mother give birth, so I found some birth videos online and started watching them. My kids came into the room and wanted to see what I was watching, so we watched together and I explained things to them as we watched. I was pleasantly surprised at what they already knew and were comfortable with, and I realized they were more ready than I thought they were. The one thing I felt I needed to prepare them for is the appearance of the baby and the fluids that come out with the baby. The fluids turned out not to be an issue because I birthed my baby in the tub, with my two oldest standing at the side of the tub. They thought it was amazing and were in awe of the whole thing, and it was a really good bonding experience for our family. We decided not to have our 3 year old and 18 month old at the birth because of their personalities and ages. The youngest is very demanding and gets jealous of mommy's attention and she needed to go to grandma's during my labor, and the 3 year old didn't care about what was going on and preferred to go play at grandma's house anyway. When I have my next home birth (probably in about 3 years) I hope that all of my children will be there, because I think it's a wonderful thing for them to witness the miracle of birth, especially of their own sibling.
I agree that it is a gift to be able to normalize birth for your children. I have two girls, and my perception of birth, will shape theirs. I want them to be unafraid and in awe of the experience they get to participate in when their time comes, and I believe witnessing a birth that is natural and calm will do that.
I have attended many home births with children present; it is a positive learning experience. The one thing I recommend is having one adult available specifically for their support, questions, and needs.
My oldest son was 3 yrs old when my second son was born. He went to all of our prenatal visits. Our midwives had a group practice and there were about 8-10 moms-to-be in each visit. We all had our own time with the midwife and then we all talked in a group. My son got see these women in various stages of pregnancy. Moms would come back after their homebirths and introduce the new baby to the group.
When the big day came he was oblivious most of the time and was entertained by our housemate. He was there for the actual birth and did not seem to be upset or anything. He got to hold his brother within the first hour and then he went on a play date with a friend. I think he looked at this new baby as HIS little brother. I think it would have been harder to understand if a baby just showed up, even if he had been told that it was coming.
One thing I wish I would have told my daughter is there is some bleeding after the baby comes out, or sometimes a little bit in labor, and it's not the kind of blood that means your hurt, it's the kind of blood that comes out when you have your period, that your body doesn't need it anymore because it was there to nourish the baby. I had a client who said that to her 6 year old and it was brilliant.
my sons are 3 and (will be) 2 when this baby is due. I've been showing them youtube videos with the volume either off or on low. and only ones that I found to be "gentle". so they're not scary. both of them are so excited about the baby.

i also have childbirth education posters (i teach) so I show my eldest what it looks like on the inside.
he was there for his brothers birth, and was only 15 mo. He did awesome! I look forward to what will happen this time.
and of course. play it by ear. if your child is uncomfortable or scared then have them leave the room. but continuously let her know "it's okay. mommy's making "working sounds" to help the baby come out"
and practice those sounds daily so she gets used to them. like get on your hands and knees and rock and sway and "practice" so it's not new and sudden for her.
Thank you for asking this question Juliet, and thank you all the moms for sharing. My child is due at the end of February and I would like for my 3 year daughter to be present if she wants to be. I am grateful for whatever resources people have used so I can prepare her as well.
Blessings to all of you who continue to empower your children by normalizing birth!
Hi, I am a member and you need to contact my daughter-in law who had 4 1/2 year old when her next was born and now Annie is going to be 2 years old. Nichi has a magazine which is www.myhealthybeginning.com and it is the best and she is the best as far as preparing her children for anythiny. Annie was born at 10:04 on the 26th of Dec. 2007 and Sunny cut the cord. How cool is that. Nichi is the best daughter-in-law I could ever ask for. Her children eat healthy and she would sacrifice her life for the good of her children. Our grandchildren would rather eat something good and they do know the difference. Sunny said to me one day-Oma do you know how long it would take mother-earth to get rid of the trash that we found on the road? Hope that you are teaching your children the same and I am sure you are. Good luck with the birth of your child.

Jackie, I love that you have so much love and respect for your daughter-in-law, who sounds like a wonderful mom and amazing person. I'm sure she loves having you for her mother-in-law, too! Thank you for your good wishes :)
Thanks for all the great thoughts and suggestions, everyone! I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of some new home birth DVDs - I ordered Birth Day and Birth as We Know It - and looking forward to some great conversations with my daughter (as well as my sister-in-law who will be on childcare duty) about what to expect and how it will be. My poor sister-in-law will probably take more preparation; she's only ever had really crappy, screaming and awful hospital births, so she envisions the same thing at home. If after watching some videos and talking some more about it she is still nervous, I'll probably move down my list and ask someone else.



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