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“I Witnessed My Brother’s Birth When I Was Just 6-Years-Old, and I Wish I Hadn’t.”

Was I Wrong to Tell a Couple That Want Their Child in the Delivery Room That The Experience Traumatised Me?

Who a woman chooses to have with her during labour and childbirth is a very personal one. Some women want their own mother or sister present, others prefer to just have their partner and the health care professionals. The role of the ‘support person’ is exactly as the name suggests – to support the mum-to-be as she transitions through the various stages of labour and childbirth. However, some parents think that older children should be at the birth of their sibling, and that being present to witness the miracle of childbirth will enhance their sibling bond. One woman, who was personally subjected to the ordeal of watching her mother give birth to her brother at just six years of age shared in a recent Reddit thread that the experience had been traumatic for her.

I (24f) was unfortunate enough to witness my brother’s birth when I was 6. Front row and all, I was the first person to carry him in the hospital room. To be honest, I don’t remember anything expect how horrific that memory is. My parents have apologized and we have made peace with it, they thought it would be cute for me to see my brother first, it wasn’t, they said sorry and we moved on.

The rest of my family hasn’t moved on. They still think it’s absolutely bonkers I don’t think it’s a magical moment.

Fast forward to now, I’m visiting my aunts and uncles during one of their reunions and a couple that’s friends with one of them are talking about how excited they are about the birth of their kid. I say nothing. They keep talking until I heard how they are also planning to have their first kid in the delivery room with the mom to have “an experience like I have”. My aunt goes pale and before she could deflect I said “If what you want is traumatize that kid for life, be my guest.” The couple is silent and my aunt quickly shifts the topic about other birth and baby things and my uncles ask me to go eat something over there.

I understand when I’m being dismissed so I ate some more food and left for the night. After that, my extended family is blowing up my phone about how I ruined the birth of their kid for the couple and how now they are feeling like shit and bad parents. I think I saved another poor kids eyes but it also wasn’t my place since I don’t know them. So, AITA?

Some commenters were incredulous that the parents would ever think this was appropriate viewing for a small child.

NTA. I honestly can’t fathom wanting your child to witness their parent in pain just for them to see the “miracle of birth”. That’s extremely traumatizing for a child.

You were honest with them about the experience. They needed to know it isn’t all sunshine and daisies for the child experiencing this. (MercifulOtter)


Yes. Watching someone give birth is traumatizing. You are so useless. You’re watching someone in pain and are literally useless (Professor Emeritass)


Children do not understand it as the miracle of life. They see their mommy bleeding and screaming. I don’t know why that’s hard to grasp. (Claws)and_chains)

The kid isn’t going to understand the process of birth— all it’s going to see is a screaming woman with a bloody and screaming baby coming out of her. That’s traumatizing for a child for sure.

My dad is a grown up and he passed out in the delivery room when my mom was giving birth. Now imagine a child seeing that.

Edited to add: NTA (CupcakeAndCashmere)


Other people who had also been present when their mother gave birth offered their view that whether it was a good idea or not, depended wholly on the child.

When I was five I witnessed my little brother being born. I don’t remember it being traumatizing. I personally wouldn’t do that because if something goes wrong, your kid has a front row seat. But I don’t think it’s always a traumatic experience. (Impossible_Town984)

Idk, I watched my sister be born and had a great experience. However, I was 13, not 6, and very interested in the birth/pregnancy process. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing to do, but being able to support someone in labor and also witness an incredible thing was pretty cool for me. This seems like one of those case-by-case decisions that could easily be solved by the couple having a conversation with their child about if this is something their child is comfortable with and wants to do. (Uma_)

I saw the same at age 7, and it was a positive experience for me. I think it is really about the kids temperament and how much preparation and talks happen prior. (ThatBitchNiP)

A midwife on the thread agreed that whilst it does depend on the individual child, they personally try to steer parents away from this course of action.

As a midwife, I caution parents strongly about this. It really depends on the kid, but even then, direct line of sight is a bad idea. You were not wrong, and you probably did them a huge favor. NTA. (ThisCatIsCrazy)


Other people thought that the woman was right to share her feeling on the matter with the expectant couple so that they were aware that it isn’t always a positive experience for a young child.

NTA. They made an incorrect assumption about an experience you had, and were getting ready to make significant decisions based on that wrong assumption. Correcting them was absolutely the right thing to do. If the rest of your family can’t handle that, it’s on them. (ddeskreact)

NTA. They wanted their first child to have an experience like yours. Clearly they were under an impression that you had a good experience. You shined some truth on your experience. Nothing wrong with that at all. (Bmonkey2000)

After all, why should she sugar coat an unpleasant memory for the comfort of people who are possibly about to make the same mistake? Maybe now they’ll be able to weigh up more accurately whether this is a good idea for their own child, with the knowledge that some children would rather have been speared the experience.

What do you think? Would you ever consider having your child in the delivery room with you?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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