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  • Writer's pictureTori Smith


A home or birth center setting allows you the option of having your older child(ren) present with you. It is normal to have worries and to feel unsure about if and how to include them. I had those worries too. The biggest thing for me was, I didn’t want my son, who was two-and-a-half at the time his baby sister was born, to feel scared from seeing me in pain and discomfort. But I also knew and believed that children understand the natural world better than we often do. They can accept all kinds of impossibilities. I knew and believed that my ability to birth without fear would keep him from feeling fearful. It could be argued that having the child removed, only to return to a mysterious new baby in their home could be just as confusing for them. I ultimately decided I wanted him there at home with us. Additionally, his nana and his uncle were there to provide comfort and keep him entertained, fed and cared for. My doula was also a source of calm for him, explaining in age-appropriate terms that "Mommy is going to make some sounds, like a lion roaring, and it’s going to help the baby come out." Having him there gave me more reason to smile and be brave, in birth as in life. Our son and my partner held my hand as I gave birth to our daughter. The next day, completely unprompted, he said to my mom, "Baby come out of the water. Make people happy." That was his beautiful interpretation of bearing witness to his sister’s birth; confirmation, to me, that birth is an extension of the natural world, a joyful event, not to be feared, not to be kept quiet or hidden.

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