Mom Makes Kids Watch Home Birth

In a column at Salon, Madeline Holler shares her story about giving birth at home. She initially decided to do so in front of her young children, ages 3 and 7, so that the childbirth was a whole-family experience:

I shut out the noise, pushed through the pain and squeezed my son out the rest of the way. I reached for him while still on my knees and then turned to rest my back against the side of the tub.

Happy, relieved and a little overwhelmed, I threw my head back against the side of the pool to look at Wayne. My cheek brushed against Beatrice as she reached over to touch her brother's back. I pushed my head into her side, an armless hug, a reassuring nudge. I felt her solid body and her softness next to me.

"Can I hold him?" she asked.

After the cord was cut each sister took turns with their brother. In the meantime, we chatted, I answered the midwife's questions, remembered to actually nurse the little guy.

Link via Momlogic | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user 3Neus used under Creative Commons license

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I can't shake the feeling that that's child abuse. Births are traumatic. Maybe older children could witness if they chose, but kids that young and that opposed should not be forced.
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