Jamie Oliver and his wife Jools sparked off quite a few discussions this week with the birth of their fifth child. It wasn’t anything to do with the name they have chosen, which hasn’t been announced yet but I imagine it will be a little ‘out there’, but more to do with the fact that their two eldest daughters were present at the final moments when Jools popped him out, even mucking in a little and cutting the cord.
For me, the idea of this sent a shiver down my spine, possibly due to the fact that I instantly imagined how the situation would transpire in our family.
So no, not a chance in hell. I wouldn’t even entertain the idea. That’s just me, it’s all about individual preferences and if that’s what the Oliver’s want to do then that’s up to them, who am I to judge. For me, my other half and a couple of midwives, was about enough sharing as I could manage.
Maybe it’s me being a little bit behind the times or simply having little faith in my family to behave appropriately. Maybe in ten years this will be the ‘norm’ and we will look back at Jools and Jamie with awe at their forward thinking. Maybe it will become a ‘thing’ and we will be calling it the ‘Oliver’ birthing method. But it turns out this is not a new thing (some of you may be thinking ‘live in the now’ but I have three kids, I struggle to keep up with everything) and the practice of sibling involvement is becoming quite popular, especially in America. There’s even plenty of blogs and articles out there to prepare your kids for the event which doesn’t make it sound such a big deal and quite simple and well, sort of nice.
But having said that, childbirth is a risky game and you never really know how it’s going to play out. It could well be a relaxing and peaceful experience, an ideal one to share, but what if it goes wrong? If there are complications and things get fraught, would you want to put your kids in a situation that could possibly frighten them or have a negative impact on the relationship with their sibling? There’s lot to think about around how you expect they will be able to handle it.
You know that you’ll need to leave your dignity at the door and you know your other half will see things that take ‘sharing everything’ to a whole new level and will be etched in his brain forever. Kids also remember things and if it has made your other half turn a slight shade of grey then you know your kids are not going to find it pleasant either. Kids also lack that important little skill called ‘tact’ and are very much likely to repeat what they’ve seen at some completely inappropriate time and will most probably tell your neighbours how they saw their mummy shit herself.
You will be in pain and it will take all of your energy and focus to get though it and safely deliver your baby, would you really be in a state to answer the million and one questions that kids ask in complicated situations. No amount of preparation can cover every why question a small child has, they will pull a stack of questions out from nowhere. Then there’s the grabby hands – can you really ensure that they won’t grab something important, break it or just generally get right on the midwives tits*. I’d want my other halves attention to be with me and due to the intensity of the situation shouty mummy would definitely make an appearance and ruin the idealised special moment that was intended.
If you forget the events previous, if all goes well, the final moments of childbirth are an amazing experience and one of the most natural things ever and if the kids understand this and are mature enough not to snigger at the sight of mum’s fanny, then why not let them be involved. If you can deal with it, I’m sure it’s an amazing thing to share, really empowering for the kids that are involved and a great way to bond with the new arrival. It’s all down to how your family operates and I’m sure Jamie and Jools didn’t take this decision lightly. We live in a world where pretty much everything is accessible and while we get a bit rosy-cheeked about having the ‘chat’, they’ve probably already seen it all on YouTube and are probably more mature than we give them credit for. It’s a completely natural thing and we shouldn’t be embarrassed by it, yes it hurts like hell, yes its a bit gross, but that’s just how it is. It’s just simply a positive part of life.
For me it would never happen, it’s enough that my other half had to witness the hideous goings on down there, let alone the kids. That doesn’t mean to say that we will be a family that won’t be able to talk about intimate or embarrassing stuff and if they have any questions about it we will always be happy to answer them. We will always strive to be open with each other but as for passing a human being in front of them – not my cup of tea.
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THAT I WILL BE GOING THROUGH CHILDBIRTH AGAIN. NOT A CHANCE . I AM NOT PREGNANT AGAIN.
*and mine. I remember my time in hospital when the third was born being quite peaceful, it would have been complete and utter fucking chaos with the other two around.