by Tommy's midwife Sophie
We are over the moon for Jools, Jamie and the rest of the Oliver clan! Congratulations!!
We’re also delighted to hear that their two eldest daughters (ages 12 and 14) were able to see their baby brother born into the world. What a lovely opportunity!
Many families choose to let their children be a part of their labour/birth plan, but this is a very personal decision. Some parents want to give their children the chance to witness the miracle of birth. Others are uncomfortable with the idea, and nervous as to how their child may react. Ultimately, the choice for a child to be present at a birth is highly individual. If you want to explore the possibility with your child, present the idea without exerting any pressure. And let them know that they’re allowed to change their mind at any time.
Discussing the mechanics of labour with your child, reading books and watching videos on childbirth together will help the child to prepare for and understand birth. Explain to your child that there will be blood, and that you'll be making unfamiliar, possibly alarming, sounds. If you have a younger child, consider inviting them into the delivery room only for the actual moment of birth. Asking a young child to endure their mothers’ entire labour could be very hard on them. After delivery, when you've recovered sufficiently, discuss the birth with your child. Ask for their impressions of the experience, and try to address any lingering fears or concerns they may have.
It may not always be possible for children to be present in a hospital setting on a labour ward or birthing unit due to health and safety measures (small rooms, access to dangerous medical equipment e.g needles etc) but homebirths tend to be more suited to siblings being a part of the birth as they are in safe and familiar surroundings whereby they can also come and go as they please. You can also discuss this with your midwife during pregnancy to find out if this is something that the trust/midwifery team can facilitate.
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