Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Siblings & Birth

A question that often comes up with regards to homebirth is, "What about the older kids?" How will they cope, seeing their mother in pain? How will the mother be able to focus if her child is needing her attention?

For many people, birth is a family affair and they feel they want their older children involved. This is not impossible, but sometimes more difficult, if a hospital or birth centre is your chosen place of birth. When you give birth at home, having your other children present and involved is more feasible.

In my experience so far, it's been interesting to note how naturally birth and children seem to go together. Children seem to have a natural affinity with birth, and the timing of the birth often seems to flow naturally through the rhythms of family meals and children's sleep times.

It can be helpful to have an assigned 'guardian angel' for the children, so that if their needs can be attended to if their parents are occupied.

When our third daughter was born, I enjoyed the presence of my 4 year old and 2 year old daughters during labour and birth. I had three close women friends attend this birth. One friend was assigned to be the special caregiver and companion to each of our little girls, and the third, an older woman and mother of 4, was there just for me! Of course, on the day, their roles seamlessly interchanged.

My little girsl walked with me as I did laps around the outside of the house. When the contractions intensified, and I went on hands and knees on the grass during the contractions, breathing heavily through them, my girls patted my back saying, "S'orright, Mummy!" They were such perfect doulas. I would have laughed if I wasn't fairly busy with the contractions, their soft, sweet little voices were so cute.

Later, as I was pushing their sister out, my little two year old was just fascinated. She knelt beside the midwife and my husband, and patted my leg, reassuring me in her little-girl voice. Then she peeked around my leg to see if she could see any action. I got a real kick out of seeing this on the video later. I was aware of her presence and her little soft hands patting me at the time, and loved that she was there. My 4 year old sat on the couch at that time, and was cuddled by my friend who was also handling the video.

I have a lovely book called, "Hello Baby" by Jenni Overend, which is a picture book of a story of a family's homebirth from the perspective of the other brother. It is simply and beautifully told, and perfect preparation for older children.

I did attend one birth at which the midwife present and I were just about ready to beg the father to please put their little two year old to bed now. She was a darling little girl, and a wonderful birth companion to her parents. The only reason we were looking forward to her bed-time was because we were getting tired ourselves (it was a very long and challenging birth) and after entertaining the little girl all day, we were feeling the need to be free to focus more on the mother who labour was demanding much of her. We were running out of batteries ourselves, really, and after the little girl was safely tucked up in bed, we did notice that the labour shifted to a deeper level.

So from this I found that having a companion to be there just for the child is a good idea. Parents know the temperament and the needs of each of their children well, and you'll know if they are going to be captivated by birth, or if they will become bored or upset and need reassurance to remain presnet, or a trip to the park. These things have a way of unfolding naturally on Birth Day.

Here are some photos of children at birth, which I hope will inspire you as you contemplate how it might be when you give birth at home.

Our little girls admiring their new baby sister.

First hold of the new addition as big sisters. One said, "It's a wittle tiny one!" The other said, "I YIKE her!"

Big sister just helping check the baby's heartbeat.

This story of Clare's Family Birth is a lovely example of children being a vital part of the celebration of birth.

No comments: